Posts Tagged ‘Taiko 2.0’

TAIKO 2.0 Guest Artist Profile: Kaoru Watanabe

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Kaoru Watanabe

TAIKO 2.0 at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts is coming this Saturday March 12th!  Today we are highlighting Brooklyn based flute and taiko player Kaoru Watanabe.  Kaoru was born into a musical family, both of his parents play with the St. Louis Symphony.  He’s a graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy  and the Manhattan School of Music.  He got his start playing taiko in St. Louis then later with the New York based group Soh Daiko.  In 1998 Kaoru moved to Sado Island to become an apprentice with Kodo.  He became the first American to become a performing member of Kodo and spent six years touring around the world with the ensemble.  In 2005 he become Artistic Director of Earth Celebration, Kodo’s annual world music festival held in Sado every summer.  In 2006 Kaoru left Kodo for New York City and has quickly become one of the most sought after fue and taiko players in North America.

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!

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”.

Next up: TAIKO 2.0 at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Our TAIKO 2.0 collaboration with Russel Baba, Jeanne Mercer, Kaoru Watanabe and Patrick Graham at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts is coming Saturday March 12th at 8pm!  Russel, Jeanne, Kaoru and Patrick are four of our favorite artists to work with.  We’ve been working on new material and it’s going to be one of best concerts to date!  We’ve also added another special guest artist Kodo’s principal dancer Chieko Kojima.  Chieko is on tour this month in the US and we were able to work out her schedule to have her join us for a special performance on the Cerritos stage.  Tickets are on sale now and are available through the Cerritos Center box office.

On Ensemble with guest artists: Russel Baba, Jeanne Mercer, Kaoru Watanabe, Patrick Graham and Chieko Kojima
Saturday March 12th, 8:00pm

Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts
12700 Center Court Drive
Cerritos, CA  90703
Tickets $61/$49/$37
Box Office:  (800) 300-4345

This will be our third time presenting a collaborative concert at the Cerritos Center.  Our last concert was with Kenny Endo and you can read a review of the concert at CerritosInk blog.

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