News and Updates

All posts in the "News and Updates" category.

Happy Lunar New Year!

Monday, February 6th, 2017


We been having fun and keeping busy over the holidays and into the New Year.

In December, we hosted our sold out home concert, Taiko Heroes 3, here in Los Angeles at Live Arts LA.  We brought in Kaoru Watanabe, his student Fumi Tanakadate, and Yuta Sumiyoshi of Kodo.  It was a great night of experimental taiko music.  Just the way we like it!  We hope to continue our relationships with Kaoru and Yuta.  Kaoru is a very accomplished musician and we love what he brings to the taiko world.  Yuta is super talented and is starting to make a name for himself, so we hope to continue to work with him in the future.  Thanks Kim for the photos!  And special thanks to Yui for all your hard work in making this happen!

In January, we had a fun, sold out “Fireside Series” concert at the Miles Memorial Playhouse.  We consider the Miles Memorial Playhouse to be a place where we have felt welcome from when we first got our start in Los Angeles.  Huge thank you to Justin Yoffe for always thinking of us and opening your doors to us!

From February 27th through March 5th, Abe, Sumie, Shoji, and Maz will be on tour to Guatemala and Nicaragua as part of the Japanese Arts in Latin America program!  We are super excited as it’s been a while since we’ve traveled internationally.  Special thank you to Tomomi Tanikawa of the Japan Foundation, New York for organizing this amazing tour!

On March 11th and 12th, we will making appearances at 11 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm for the Cherry Blossom Festival at Descanso Gardens.  Have you ever been to Descanso Gardens before?  If not to come watch us, go visit there and enjoy the beautiful botanical collections.  We love coming here as it’s one of our favorite places to play (and perform) in LA.

In June, we will be returning to Maui after five years to perform for Zenshin Daiko’s Annual Taiko Festival.  We love Zenshin Daiko!  Hawaii, in general, means a lot to us as a lot of us have lived and played taiko there.  Uncle Tony and Val have been a force in the taiko community and we appreciate their continued support over the years.  Zenshin Daiko is one of the top kids taiko groups in the U.S. and we are excited to go back and see their development.

In July, we will be headed to Eugene, OR to return for the Oregon Bach Festival.  We had an amazing experience there in 2009 and are excited to be back!  We will have an evening concert on July 14 and a family show on July 15.

On September 13th, we will be going to Pullman, WA to perform at Washington State University for their performing arts series at Jones Theatre at Daggy Hall.  This is our first time there and we are excited to visit the fine city of Pullman which is the “Best Place to Raise Kids” according to Wikipedia.  We will be searching for the best place to eat and get a beer, so if you have suggestions, please let us know!  We love great food and beer!  As artists, we appreciate the quality, thought, consideration, and time put into amazing food and beer as we are aspiring to become decent cooks and brewers.  Check out Eien’s website all about his artistry, cooking, and brewing skills.

On November 4th, Shoji and Maz will be heading to Fort Wayne, Indiana to join our good friends from Fort Wayne Taiko for their home concert.  Over the past few years, we have passed through on our tours and taught Fort Wayne Taiko the ever-popular piece, Omiyage, written by Shoji.  We will join them on Omiyage and few other songs as their guest artists.  We love Fort Wayne Taiko and what they’ve done for the community.  Special thanks to Allison Ballard for coordinating with us to make this happen!

We have new promotional photos!  Check out a couple here:

Photo credit:  Bryce Craig

Hope to see you soon at one of our performances!

Rotations Behind the Scenes

Sunday, September 20th, 2015

Take a sneak peep behind the scenes of our upcoming collaborative concert with Ho Etsu Taiko in Chicago. I’ve been working with Ho Etsu for the past year and half and it’s been really rewarding to work with a group like this over a longer period of time. They were the first group outside of On Ensemble that I taught Lion Chant to and they helped debut the piece at the 2014 World Taiko Gathering. We’ve been working on more collaborative pieces and this video gives you a little behind the scenes look into that process! Enjoy!

NATC 2015

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

Tomorrow I’m headed to Las Vegas for the 2015 North American Taiko Conference! I’ll be teaching two workshops at the conference and leading a performance for a group of kaDON subscribers from around the world who are going to help debut a new piece that I wrote for kaDON! We are also debuting a new piece of taiko equipment that I’ve been helping develop for kaDON at the taiko conference!

The taiko conference is always a great way to reconnect with the taiko community and I’m looking forward to seeing many old friends and meeting new taiko people!

New Video : Verdugo Hills

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

In the next few weeks we’ll be posting new videos! The fist sets of videos comes from our friend and filmmaker Ian Mora. We grew up playing taiko with Ian and he came to our Taiko Heroes concert last October and put together these great videos. More coming soon!

Kris’ last blog post

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

Today, Shoji and Maz have asked me to step down from On Ensemble and I have conceded.

Although I am sad to go, I have only fond memories our 14 years together and feel no ill will to them. I very much hope we can continue to work together where the opportunity arises.

(In the coming weeks I’ll find a new place to blog about the random, wacky things I get myself into. Speaking of which, Hiro and I are moving this month, but just down the street. 2015 is all change!)

Thank you to Yoshihiko Miyamoto and the wonderful staff of Miyamoto Unosuke Shoten who have supported On Ensemble from the beginning in 2001… even when it included me, a total newbie to taiko.

Thank you to the FoundatiOn Team whose donations made so many of our Works in Progress concerts and audio recordings possible.

Thank you to all our fans and friends who encouraged me through the crazy compositions, crazy tours, and crazy fun.

Thank you!

Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts Wrap-up

Monday, February 16th, 2015

Yesterday we had a great performance at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts! A huge thank you goes out to Jesse and Carla for bringing us to the Tri-Lakes area and for the great hospitality and home cooked meals!

The Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts is an art gallery and a performance space and even has an artists in residence program. It was a great intimate venue to perform in and with Jesse and Carla both being fellow musicians and taiko players we really got well taken care of! There is a great community who have work displayed at the center and some of them came to the performance (hi Joe!). It’s really great playing in a place that really appreciates art and community and playing for fellow artists and musicians.







Also a shout out to Jon, Aiko, Yuji and all the Denver Taiko people who came down to see us perform! A special thanks to Aiko for thoughtfully hooking us up with Starbucks gift cards! What a perfect gift! They will get put to very good use! Also a big thank you to Toni and Lance who came to the show! Many taiko players already know this but Toni makes the BEST taiko and bachi bags ever! I’ve checked in taiko as regular baggage with her bags to Mongolia, Indonesia and French Guiana and On Ensemble has carted her bags around the country several times over. They are awesome.

It started snowing right when we started to play so we got excited and took some photos in the snow after the concert. Also have a fun photo of Abe’s pre-concert warm up: Super Mario Brothers 3! Next time I’m bringing my controllers and we’ll have pre-concert Final Fight II or old school Mario Kart tournaments.




Up Next: Ogden UT, Monument CO and Casper WY

Monday, February 9th, 2015


After a fantastic performance at the Aratani World Series we are hitting the road for a series of performances in Utah, Colorado and Wyoming! Should be a great set of concerts!

Ogden UT
On Ensemble at Perry’s Egyptian Theater
Friday Feb 13th 7:30pm
Tickets: $20/$15
Weber State University
Peery’s Egyptian Theater
415 Washington Blvd
Ogden, UT 84401

Palmer Lake CO
On Ensemble Live at the Tri-Lakes Center For The Arts
February, 15 2015
Doors at 2pm – Concert at 3pm
Tri-Lakers Center for the Arts
304 Hwy 105, Palmer Lake, CO 80133
Tickets: $15

Casper WY
FREE On Ensemble Concert!
Wednesday Feb 18th 7:30pm
John F Welsh Auditorium
Natrona County High School
930 S Elm St
Casper, WY 82601

Aratani Series Wrap-up

Monday, February 9th, 2015

We had a great performance this past Saturday at the Aratani World Series. A huge thank you goes out to Judy, Anu, Marcia and the staff and volunteers of the Festival of Sacred Music for all of their behind the scenes work. Thank you to EJ for making the production side run smoothly. Thank you to Ric for the GREAT lighting design and a huge thank you goes out to Nana for making us sound so great!

Here’s a few of the tracks we played! Videos coming soon!

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