Archive for February, 2011

Video blog from Patrick!

Monday, February 28th, 2011

In preparation for our performance together at Cerritos Center, Patrick prepared this short video explaining a few of the instruments he uses when he plays alongside On Ensemble. Thank you, Patrick!

TAIKO 2.0 Guest Artist Profile: Patrick Graham

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

Only two weeks to our big TAIKO 2.0 concert at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts!  Today we are highlighting Montreal based multi-percussionist Patrick Graham.  Patrick is one of our favorite artists to work with and is the quintessential “On Ensemble” kind of musician.  He fuses his training in Western classical and contemporary music with his extensive explorations of Mediterranean, Irish, South Indian and Japanese rhythms to create a highly personal, cross-cultural approach to percussion.  The ability to draw inspiration from every corner of the globe yet make music that is personal is something that we strive for and Patrick approach has had a huge influence on On Ensemble’s music.

I first met Patrick at a frame drum workshop he was giving in Tokyo while I was living there. After meeting him I remember being encouraged knowing that there were other musicians out there wandering the globe following the same path I was on.  Several years later once we started On Ensemble we were re-introduced through a mutual acquaintance who thought we would be natural collaborators.  Imagine the surprise when it turns out we had met several years earlier half way around the world!  Ever since then we’ve played together every chance we can and we’re looking forward to having Patrick be a part of TAIKO 2.0 at the Cerritos Center.

Also check out Patrick’s album Rheo which is an On Ensemble favorite and features two tracks that we’ll be performing at Cerritos Center!

FoundatiOn Team fund drive ending soon

Friday, February 25th, 2011

On Ensemble friends and fans have thus far donated $6564.50 enabling the beginning of InventiOn 2011, On Ensemble’s year of creative exploration, and six, hands-on workshops in a local public school! Thank you very much to the 56 people who have contributed!

If you are planning to contribute, now is the time!

Help us get to $7000 and an additional workshop for public school students! Only $436 to go! Please send your donation by March 12 so that we can begin preparing this year’s thank-you gifts!

This year, we have received a surprising number of $500 donations. I’m moved that so many people consider our work worthy of such generous support! I am also very pleased that we have received many $10 and $20 donations. It’s important to me that we ask for support that is within the means of our friends and fans. We’re committed to making music for the long term, and we want you to be with us the whole way. If $10 is what you can afford, $10 is a genuinely useful contribution. We’re stretching every dollar to do more good this year; more music creation, more performances, and more public school education. And every donor gets a copy of the live, audio recording of Taiko 2.0, our biggest, most important concert yet!

If you’ve been meaning to send in your donation, please do it today!

Thank you to everyone who has donated thus far!

Creative rehearsals in Mt Shasta

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

On Ensemble spent last weekend with Russel and Jeanne, practicing for Taiko 2.0 at Cerritos Center. Russel and Jeanne will be joining us on a number of On Ensemble pieces and performing two of their own. It’s looking like we’ll do the Shasta Taiko classic, Full Circle, as well as one of my favorite Russel sax pieces, 7even. Here’s a preview… hope you like it!

TAIKO 2.0 Guest Artist Profile: Chieko Kojima

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

I’ll be writing little previews on many guest artists leading up to our March 12th Taiko 2.0 concert at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.  This is really ambitious concert for us.  We are collaborating with five guest artists from around the world and will be debuting several new pieces.  Kris has also working on our new ambitious “Burn Your Own” system that will allow audience members to bring a blank CD to the concert and take home an audio recording of the concert!  This is definitely On Ensemble’s most creatively ambitious concert to date.

Our first guest artist profile is the amazing dancer Chieko Kojima.  Chieko was born in Iwafune, Tochigi Prefecture and joined Ondekoza in 1976.  When Kodo was formed Chieko distinguished herself as one of the few regular performing members and became Kodo’s principal dancer.  As a member of Kodo she has toured around the world and has become known for her innovative interpretations of Japanese folk dance.  Chieko also performs with the song and dance group “Hanayui” and producers her own solo performances and collaborations.  She is currently on tour with Kaoru Watanabe and luckily we were able to work out her schedule so that she could join us for this special Cerritos Center concert.

On a personal note Chieko’s taiko playing style has been very influential to my own development as a taiko player.  When I first saw her play “Hana Hachijo” I was blown away by the beautiful her innovative movements and the way her movements and rhythms combined to make such effortless phrases.  It was that kind of effortless phrasing of movement and rhythm that I tried to incorporate into the open source piece “Omiyage”.

Christopher Tin’s “Calling All Dawns” wins two Grammys!

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

This is super exciting news!  Our good friend Christopher Tin just won two Grammys one for Best Instrumental Accompanying Vocalists and Best Classical Crossover Album.  Kris, Maz and I recorded taiko and percussion parts for this album and I did some electronic music production as well.  There were over 100 artist involved in the making of this album all brought together by Chris’ vision and amazing compositions.  Congratulations Chris!

Donations needed: CDRW drives and old computers

Friday, February 11th, 2011

I will be debuting the “Burn Your Own” system at Cerritos Center on March 12! The system allows audience members to burn a free, take-home audio recording of the concert. The ultimate concert omiyage! In the lobby after the show is a bank of computers with CD trays out, waiting for a blank CD. You walk up, drop in a blank CD, chat with On Ensemble for about 90 seconds and bing!, your CD is ready!

I’ve written and tested the software and cobbled together about 8 computers. I’m looking for approximately 15 CDRW drives and another 10 old computers. Considering so many people have DVDRW drives these days, I’m hoping we can put some of those old CD ones back to work.

If you have something that might fit the bill, please leave a comment below or email me at kris [at] OnEnsemble [dot] org!  Thank you!

Cerritos prep: Brilla

Friday, February 11th, 2011

InventiOn 2011, On Ensemble’s year-long emphasis on creativity, is well underway! In preparation for Taiko 2.0, our biggest show ever, Patrick joined us for a week of rehearsals. We worked on a wide range of pieces and feel really good about the music. We’ve developed a new arrangement of Patrick’s piece Brilla that we’ll be debuting at the concert.  Here’s a sample!

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