20 Land - Sea - Sky - Home
Welcome from the co-founders… When contemplating our 20th Anniversary concert, my first thoughts, unsurprisingly, centered on celebrating 20 years of creativity, many great performances and our development as an ensemble. As is my usual way of working, finding a theme to give shape to a program, and especially to help focus the composition of new works, was important to me. And so, with a number of existing works that I was keen to program for our 20th, all of which take inspiration from ‘the elements’, three scenes emerged: land, sea and sky. All the music I had in mind celebrates, takes inspiration from, and expresses the very essence of their titles – ‘land-ness’, ‘sea-ness’ & ‘sky-ness’, if you will. However, it was in contemplating a fourth scene that I could not escape the thought, “but what about those people who have been separated from their country, culture, families and friends, and who are deprived the ability and right to ‘celebrate’, ‘be inspired by’, ‘express the essence of’, or indeed simply ‘experience’ land, sea & sky?” As an Australian man (white, middle-aged and privileged, at that), I am appalled at Australia's treatment of those people seeking refuge and asylum here in our country after having fled war & persecution. Our policies are draconian and inward looking, to say the least. On the other hand, as an artist who has enjoyed the joys, privileges and spiritual and artistic sustenance of working with musicians from other cultures, countries, disciplines and backgrounds, I appreciate the power that art, in its many forms, can bring. And so, it was these thoughts that gave ultimate shape to our celebration concert – 20: Land-Sea-Sky-Home.
Our featured composer Sandy Evans responded to the theme with feeling and enthusiasm, and knowing that I often draw on poetry and literature for inspiration and ideas, Sandy suggested a poem that she knew would fuel her own composition: Lonely Guest by Mohsen Soltani Zand. Mohsen’s poem is strange and beautiful. It is a cry from the heart, and as in all great work, it seemingly transcends the very words it uses to express itself. Mohsen’s personal story of loss and rediscovering ‘home’ has inspired us all in the creation of 20: Land-Sea-Sky-Home. Ian Cleworth (Co-founder of Taikoz and Artistic Director)
Has it really been only twenty years since Ian and I founded the group that Patricia immediately named TaikOz (later modified to its present form)? How could so many experiences, new compositions, performances, tours, collaborations, and accolades accumulate in such a short time? In looking back over what Taikoz has accomplished over the past two decades, it would seem nigh impossible for the group to do more in the next twenty years. I am however, confident of two things. Firstly, Taikoz will try its upmost to make its future even more memorable. Secondly, if it succeeds, it will be because of your support. Thank you for helping us celebrate! Riley Lee (Co-founder of Taikoz and Shakuhachi Soloist)
A little history… Riley Lee and I formed Taikoz in 1997 with the purpose of creating, commissioning and performing challenging and engaging music for our chosen medium, the taiko and shakuhachi. And then, after five years had passed, the ensemble began developing what is now an extremely broad range of educational activities out of a desire to share the knowledge, expertise and music we had collectively acquired. Twenty years on, we continue to seek knowledge, extend our skills and create new music, and whether it is from over the footlights of the concert platform or from under the fluros of the practice room, the wish to share it with others has not waned. If anything, it has deepened. From the first day to the present, our ethos has remained unchanged. But, the journey has been a fascinatingly circuitous one.
Brisbane Powerhouse 2004
In the beginning we had only a handful of works – our first performance at the Sydney Town Hall included a couple of traditional taiko pieces, Monochrome by Maki Ishii (a very meaningful work for the ensemble that we’re performing again tonight), and several new works by composers within Taikoz. These were heady times, full of excitement and a drive to learn more. However, our own newly composed works lacked depth, internal rigour and technique in their execution. And so the next period of Taikoz’s life – beginning with our first group trip to Japan in 2001 – saw a consolidation of learning and practice by all members of the ensemble through regular visits to Japan and having the opportunity to learn and perform with some of the greatest masters of various styles and traditions of playing. It has been a steep learning curve ever since!
Brisbane Festival 2006
"Five Elements" with Synergy Percusion | City Recital Hall 2007
From this point in our development, Taikoz’s training drew more heavily on the traditions and techniques of Japanese wadaiko (taiko), but at the same time, wonderfully challenging opportunities to expand our creativity also came our way in a perfect synchronicity of inward development and outward expression. Three projects encapsulate this period of technical-philosophical consolidation and artistic growth – Winners, by Italian composer Andrea Molino (Brisbane Festival and Pompidou Centre, Paris, 2006), Kaidan: A Ghost Story directed by choreographer Meryl Tankard (Sydney Festival, 2007), and William Shakespeare’s Pericles directed by John Bell (Bell Shakespeare Company seasons, 2009). In each work, Taikoz was central to their creative development and performance, and in the process we had the enormous privilege of working with amazing artistic partners who drove and inspired us to delve deeper into our creativity.
Sydney Festival "Kaidan" | Sydney Opera House 2007
Note learning for "The Book Of Clouds" 2008 (composed Gerard Brophy for Taikoz, Synergy, Riley Lee & Melbourne Symphony Orchestra)
January Intensive featuring Tsubasa Hori 2015
First Intensive at 'Namaroo' January 2008
"Daichi-Big Earth" recording session 2009
"Kodo & Taikoz In Concert" 2009 ("Hana Hachijo" featuring Chieko Kojima & Kerryn Joyce)
"Kodo & Taikoz In Concert" 2009 ("Onikenbai" featuring Yoshikazu Fujimoto & Anton Lock)
"Pericles" John Bell 2009 (direction Bell Shakespeare Company)
"Pericles" John Bell 2009 (direction Bell Shakespeare Company)
Nevertheless, it was not until 2011 that we began the process of developing our first wholly original production, Chi Udaka, in collaboration with Sydney-based Anandavalli and her South Indian classical dance company Lingalayam. The three-year process of bringing a single idea to the stage was a challenging one, in that it demanded new levels of conceptual thinking, and in the process, challenged both ensembles to develop a
"Chi Udaka" Australian & Indian Tours 2014 / 2016 Anandavalli, choreography and Lingalayam Dance Company
common musical-movement language. And although Chi Udaka received excellent reviews at its premiere at the 2014 Sydney Festival, the full realisation of the production did not happen until our 2016 Australian and Indian tours. This process spanned five years of thought, re-thought, practice, consolidation, development and performance.
"Blessings Of The Earth" 2010 ("Suna")
"Kaidan Solo" Meryl Tankard, choreography 2010
During this period, other original productions were also created by members of the ensemble: Tom Royce-Hampton’s TaikoDeck, a collaborative project with his brother DJ/Producer Max Royce-Hampton that pits intense, deep taiko grooves with urban beats; Graham Hilgendorf’s Shifting Sand, a 90-minute work for the Taikoz ensemble alone that explores the composer’s love of the ocean; Digital Shaman’s Origin Of O, a work that shares a passion for exploring the meeting points between various opposing parameters: natural/synthetic, taiko/ laptop, sound/movement, theatre/film; my 50-minute work for bass koto, taiko, percussion, shakuhachi, shinobue, voices and electronics featuring koto virtuoso Satsuki Odamura; as well as other significant single pieces contributed by composers from within and without the ensemble, most notably David Pye’s Indian-infused Pravachambalam for mixed ensemble and taiko, and Anton Lock’s Become, a work he composed and choreographed for the ensemble and Kodo Distinguished Member Chieko Kojima in 2015. Sandy Evan’s commissioned work for tonight’s performance is also emblematic of Taikoz’s enthusiasm for tackling new work.
"Origin Of O" 2013 Digital Shamans, concept & direction
"Toward The Crimson Sky" 2014
"Kodo & Taikoz In Concert" 2012
Moorambilla Festival 2014 Michelle Leonard Artistic Director
"The Beauty Of 8" 2015_2017 featuring Chieko Kojima & Riley Lee
Heart Of St Kilda 2015
While Taikoz’s mainstage work is central to its artistic vision, community is at the core of taiko. The notion of sharing music, knowledge, skills and philosophy through our instrument (and related disciplines such as dance, flute and voice) is an ethos common to taiko groups all over the world. All the members of Taikoz are passionate about teaching and we take pride in leading classes for amateur and aspiring professional alike. Our weekly classes focus on learning about the art-form, enjoying playing music with others and creating new pieces (we have several budding composers within the student body) – not dissimilar to the fundamental purpose of the Taikoz ensemble.
Canning World Arts Exchange 2016
Taikoz provides members of the general public with quality music education. However, our classes mean even more than this – like our mainstage performances, drumming together as a community brings people together through shared experience, a love for music, a need for self-expression – not to mention lots of endorphins! – which can only contribute to the betterment of society. Thank you for sharing the journey with us. Ian Cleworth
A snapshot of our major achievements... Major collaborations: • Sandy Evans and Chongwei Zhang in 20: Land-Sea-Sky-Home (2017) (World Premiere Work) • Anandavalli and Lingalayam in Chi Udaka | Australian & Indian Tours (2016) / Sydney Festival (2014) (World Premiere Work) • Kaoru Watanabe in Future Directions (2014) • Satsuki Odamura in Crimson Sky (2014, 2013, 2012) (World Premiere Work) • Kodo in Kodo and Taikoz In Concert | Australian Tours (2012, 2009) • 150 taiko players, drummers and percussionists in Fireworks | Sydney Festival First Night (2010) (World Premiere Work) • John Bell and The Bell Shakespeare Company in William Shakespeare's Pericles | Sydney & Melbourne (2009) • Director and choreographer Meryl Tankard in Kaidan: A Ghost Story – a dance, music, theatre work | Sydney Festival at the Sydney Opera House (2007) (World Premiere Work) • Eitetsu Hayashi and Fuun no Kai | Nihon no Taiko National Theatre of Japan (2008) / Nature’s Rhythm Australian Tour (2006) / Sydney (2002) / Japan (2001) / Sydney Festival Opening Concert (2000) • Wadaiko Matsumura-gumi | Australian and Japan seasons (2005, 2004)
Major tours of regional Australia:
• Chi Udaka | Chennai, Hyderabad, Visakhapatna, Mumbai, India (2016)
• Chi Udaka (2016)
• Womad | New Plymouth, New Zealand (2015)
• Crimson Sky (2014)
• World Taiko Gathering | Los Angeles and West Coast Tour, USA (2014)
• Shifting Sand (2012)
• Taikoz In Concert | Taipei, Kaohsiung, Taichung and Tainan, Taiwan (2011)
• Blessings Of The Earth (2010)
• Nihon no Taiko | National Theatre of Japan, Tokyo, Japan (2008)
• The Gathering (2008)
• Winners | Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (2006)
• Da Ha-Pounding Wave (2006)
• Hibike Festival | Echizen and Kobe with Matsumura-gumi, Japan tour (2005)
• The Pilgrim On The Way (2004)
• Bangkok International Music Fest | Thailand (2004) • Kaikyōsai Festival | Kobe, Japan (2001) Performances with orchestra: • Mono-Prism by Maki Ishii with the Sydney, Melbourne, West Australian and Queensland Symphony Orchestras, and conductors Hiroyuki Iwaki, Ryusuke Numajiri and David Porcilijn (1999, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2009, 2009, 2010) • Book Of Clouds by Gerard Brophy with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Riley Lee (shakuhachi) and Synergy Percussion conducted by Tadaaki Otaka (2008) (World Premiere Work) • Winners by Andrea Molino and the Queensland Symphony at the Brisbane Festival and Dresden Sinfoniker at the Pompidou Centre, Paris, conducted by the composer (2006) (World Premiere Work)
Awards: • Commendations from the Japanese Foreign Minister for contribution towards promoting friendship and goodwill between Australia and Japan for both Riley Lee and Ian Cleworth (2016) • Limelight Best New Composition Award for Kaidan (2007) • Sidney Myer Performing Arts Award in recognition of Taikoz's commitment to Australian music (2006) • Drover Award for regional touring and education (2005) • Womad | New Plymouth, New Zealand (2015) • World Taiko Gathering | Los Angeles and West Coast Tour, USA (2014) • Taikoz In Concert | Taipei, Kaohsiung, Taichung and Tainan, Taiwan (2011) • Nihon no Taiko | National Theatre of Japan, Tokyo, Japan (2008) • Winners | Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (2006) • Hibike Festival | Echizen and Kobe with Matsumura-gumi, Japan tour (2005) • Bangkok International Music Fest | Thailand (2004) • Kaikyōsai Festival | Kobe, Japan (2001)
Past members Taikozâ€™s members have all contributed enormously to the development of the ensemble, often in combined roles as players, composers, teachers and administrators. Taikoz would like to pay tribute to them here. Non-playing members: Anton Lock Kevin Man Past members: Greg Andresen Lee Giles David Hewitt Graham Hilgendorf Masae Ikegawa Kenichi Koizumi Becky Lagos Colin Piper Kelly Staines Ben Walsh
20 Land - Sea - Sky - Home
Part 1: Land A CRICKET GRIEVES Riley Lee | Poem: The Seventeen Year Locust Marie EJ Pitt MIYAMA HIGURASHI-DEEP MOUNTAIN CICADA Rando Fukuda. Arranged Riley Lee & John Cleworth | Choreography: Chongwei Zhang MONOCHROME Maki Ishii Part 2: Sea-Sky DAHA-POUNDING WAVE Traditional Honkyoku | Choreography: Chongwei Zhang …clouds wander… Ian Cleworth ____ Interval ____ Part 3: Sky-Sea SKY, LET THE RAIN FALL | Sandy Evans in collaboration with Ian Cleworth | Based on the poem Lonely Guest by Mohsen Soltani Zand | World Premiere commissioned by Synergy & Taikoz Commissioning Circle* WAVES: 1 Ian Cleworth Part 4: Home HOME | World Premiere Ian Cleworth | Words: Lonely Guest Mohsen Soltani Zand & Mitsune Kuranosaka Noguchi Ujo | Choreography: Chongwei Zhang
Words that have inspired tonight's music... ____________________________________________________________________________
Does the locust remember when loud to blue heaven he sings With his fellows, from palpitant tree-tops, the season of dearth, Ere he rose like the phoenix, triumphant on scintillant wingsâ€Ś Does the locust remember his durance in sorrowful Earth?
The night sky, a celebration of loneliness, I am the only guest invited and drink too fast Intoxication brings a raw flush to my cheek
Did he dream, dungeoned deep in the darkness and silence of clay, Of a birth-star that beckoned him out of beneficent skies? Of the beat of a song in the heart of magnificent Day? Of a shout at the gates of the morning, Hail! Sleeper, Arise! And, Soul, shalt thou be as a locust that leaps to the sun Star-bright, empyreal with levin of exquisite breath, Enraptured with bliss of beatitude barely begun â€“ Shalt thou in thy glory remember this body of Death? (Marie EJ Pitt, 1869-1948) ___________________________________________________ yama-dera no to ni kumo asobu higan kana on the spring equinox clouds wander about the entrance of a mountain temple (Iida Dakotsu, 1885-1962)
Sky, be my companion tonight Don't let the sun rise. Let me dissolve in your infinite space. Sky, let the rain fall, On my body, on my face, Wash my spirit clean, Sky, let us do this every night, Dancing in the starlight Drowning our sorrows together. (Mohsen Soltani Zand) ___________________________________________________ Mitsune Kuranosaka saka mannaka de yo na defune nagamete sode shiboru yona sora imakoso taiko no oto da yo kitamada kitamada Standing on the slope of Kuranosaka Gazing at the outgoing ship Squeezing tears from my sleeve. There it goes! Now, the sound of the taiko! (Noguchi Ujo, 1882-1945)
The music... A CRICKET GRIEVES | Riley Lee (1995) / THE SEVENTEEN YEAR LOCUST | Marie EJ Pitt A Cricket Grieves was composed by Riley Lee in 1995. It was recorded the same year inside the large, underground water reservoir in Sydney’s Centennial Park, built in 1896, and undergoing repairs a century later. The recording became part of Riley’s solo CD appropriately called Water Music and released on the Tall Poppies label. In the Far East, crickets are symbols of life, death and resurrection. In Europe, they represent the power of song, good fortune, and above all, happiness. How poignant then, is a grieving cricket? (Riley) Tonight’s performance sees A Cricket Grieves arranged for shakuhachi solo and recitation of Marie EJ Pitt’s poem, The Seventeen Year Locust.
MIYAMA HIGURASHI-DEEP MOUNTAIN CICADA | Fukuda Rando (1928) Arranged by Riley Lee and John Cleworth (2012) Deep Mountain Cicada was composed by Rando in 1928. Rando’s father was born a samurai, but renounced that esteemed social position to become a noted artist of oil paintings. He died in his mid-20s. Rando’s mother was also a prolific painter of watercolours and oils, remarried, raised a large family and lived to be 83. In spite of (or perhaps because of) being hit over the head with a shakuhachi by his first ’teacher’ – for being disrespectful – Rando became a master shakuhachi player and composer. He founded his own shakuhachi school or lineage (Azuma ryū). He became well versed in western musical theory, and composed for radio and film. He died in 1976. Rando's most famous student was Katsuya Yokoyama, who was my teacher. (Riley) Tonight’s arrangement of Deep Mountain Cicada was originally conceived for a concert given by Riley and composer John Cleworth in a program devoted to Riley’s concept album, Shakuhachi Sleep Music.
MONOCHROME | Maki Ishii (1974) Monochrome was played at Taikoz’s debut concert in January 1998 and remains at the core of the group’s repertoire. Maki Ishii is a composer in the European classical tradition, but who also intently studied the music of his own land. Using structures and techniques familiar to Western contemporary music, Ishii has constructed a piece that bridges cultural gaps in a unique and intensely musical way. He writes, “Juxtaposing constant and irregular patterns and blending symmetric and asymmetric rhythms, Monochrome’s construction develops spirally to an exciting climax. The sounds visualise primordial birth, the evolution of life, and the changes of seasons – monochromatic, but with myriad gradations of grey.” Taking the high-pitched shimedaiko, the instrument that virtually epitomises the sound of wadaiko, Ishii ignores its traditional roles of timekeeper and explores many new sounds and dynamic possibilities. Using a large ensemble of seven shimedaiko, Ishii creates unique tonal textures through the subtle interplay of each drummer. Though radical in its conception, Ishii does not spurn tradition. Indeed by the end, the shimedaiko reverts to a regular rhythmic pattern over which lower-voiced nagadōdaiko perform the rhythm of the traditional Chichibu Yataibayashi in 3-part canon, thereby acknowledging the past while looking towards the future. During his time with the now legendary Ondekoza ensemble, Taikoz co-founder Riley Lee worked with Maki Ishii in the creation of Monochrome and gave the first performances in 1974. (Ian) DAHA-POUNDING WAVE | Traditional Zen Honkyoku This is a traditional piece from the sacred Zen Buddhist repertoire of the shakuhachi. It is a prayer for the willpower or determination to achieve one's highest aspirations. Willpower is thought of as having two contrasting forms, yin (female) and yang (male). From thunderous, pounding surf to gentle waves lapping the shoreline, the ocean can express the yang and yin of ultimate willpower, aspiring towards the unattainable. (Riley)
… clouds wander… | Ian Cleworth (2009) I’ve always loved the soprano saxophone – John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, Steve Lacy, Dave Liebman, and our own incredible Sandy Evans, are all wonderful exponents of the instrument. And so, when contemplating a new work for Taikoz, I thought the addition of soprano sax to the taiko ensemble would make for a tonally and emotionally interesting combination. Not only was I interested in seeing how many melodic variations I could generate from a particular favourite 7-note scale, but the extraordinary tonal qualities of the soprano sax and the emotional possibilities (see above great players), was extremely alluring. Words are another love of mine, and being interested in things Japanese, naturally haiku has also inspired many a thought and sound. …clouds wander… was the result this time. (Ian) SKY, LET THE RAIN FALL | Sandy Evans (2017) | World Premiere It is a great honour to present Sky, Let the Rain Fall in celebration of Taikoz’s 20th Anniversary. I am deeply inspired by the constant creativity, artistic excellence, depth, integrity and innovation in intercultural collaboration of Ian Cleworth and this vibrant community. Sky, Let the Rain Fall grew naturally out of discussions with Ian about the instrumentation for the piece and the themes of ‘sky’ and the separation and loss experienced by refugees. I am appalled by Australia’s inhumane treatment of asylum seekers. The poem Lonely Guest by refugee poet and musician Mohsen Soltani Zand had a deep impact on me. It ties the sky and separation themes together and provides the emotional, political and structural basis of my work, Sky, Let the Rain Fall. Many thanks, Mohsen. Ian suggested the instrumentation of taiko, saxophone, shakuhachi and two Sixxen (microtonal metalophones designed by the composer Iannis Xenakis). The result is one of the most interesting sound worlds a composer could hope for! Rhythmically, the piece is based on variants of the number 12, particularly combinations of 7 and 5. It also includes a short arudi (South Indian rhythmic cadence) composed by mridangam player Guru Kaaraikudi Mani (used with permission). It is a joy and a privilege to collaborate with Ian, Riley and the other members of Taikoz. I wish them a wonderful future of creative music making. (Sandy)
WAVES: 1 | Ian Cleworth (2017) Composed as a solo prelude to my ensemble piece Waves, I was inspired to write for a new instrument called kanade-okedo, which was only recently developed by the Kodo performing ensemble and the Asano Taiko Company (the 400-year old family company who handcrafted many of Taikoz’s beautiful instruments). Based on the traditional rope-tuned okedo-daiko, the kanade-okedo has a unique system of tuning that allows for each side of the taiko to have its own pitch. The bass tone on the left and the high-pitched tone on the right lend itself to playing independent lines, and after spending time improvising on my newly acquired instrument, I settled on a musical theme that exploits this particular quality. Polyrhythm is also a percussionist’s ‘tool of trade’ and so the kanade-okedo was perfectly suited to this type of playing, too. The title refers to a series of phrases that are wave-like in their construction. (Ian) HOME | Ian Cleworth (2017) | World Premiere Although this piece was composed in celebration of Taikoz’s 20th anniversary, I couldn't escape negative feelings creeping in during the process. In reference to our overall theme of Land-Sea-Sky-Home, thoughts of separation, exile and dislocation were not far from my mind, but in the end had a positive influence on the overall structure of the work. At first I couldn’t find a way into the creation of the music (composer’s block!), but the key came in the form of Mohsen Soltani Zand’s haunting poem, Lonely Guest, which Sandy Evan’s introduced to me when she was composing her own work for our 20th. I set Mohsen’s affecting words, “Sky, let the rain fall / On my body, on my face / Wash my spirit clean” as the opening passage, which led to the development of the ensuing sections: Dislocation, Rage, A Call From Across The Sea, Exile, Home. The musical material in the sections Rage and Home was greatly influenced by the rhythmical processes developed by a true percussive treasure, Greg Sheehan. Using Greg’s ‘diamond theory’ as a basis for rhythmic development, I was able to achieve a complex layering of polyrhythms to reflect emotional feelings of rage at dislocation and forced exile. A Call From Across The Sea features a duet for odaiko and bass drum that are set at opposite ends of the hall, which then introduces a forlorn song with words by Noguchi Ujo that speak of banishment on the island of Hachijo, which was a place of exile in times past. Ujo’s poem references the therapeutic sound of the taiko, which invites for a section of virtuosic improvisation in the Hachijo-daiko style leading to a final triumphant celebration for taiko, hyōshigi (woodblocks) and chappa (cymbals) – all beautifully enhanced by Chongwei’s dazzling chorography. (Ian)
A few words about tonight’s performers and creative team… Ian Cleworth | Composer / Performer / Taikoz member since 1997 Ian co-founded Taikoz in 1997 and has been the ensemble’s Artistic Director since. In 2005 he became full-time with the group after having spent 20 years as Principal Percussionist with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and 16 years with the percussion group Synergy. Ian is a performer, composer and teacher, and as a member of Taikoz has collaborated with, and composed works for the ensemble and artists as diverse as John Bell and the Bell Shakespeare Company, taiko great Eitetsu Hayashi, koto virtuosi Kazue Sawai and Satsuki Odamura, and choreographers Meryl Tankard and Anandavalli. In the 1980s Ian learnt taiko with Sen Amano of Yamanashi Prefecture, followed two decades later by tutorship from Eitetsu Hayashi. In 2007 Ian received the APRA-AMC Classical Music Award for Longterm Contribution for the Advancement Of Australian Music, and in 2016, the Japanese Foreign Minister’s Commendation for his contribution towards promoting friendship and goodwill between Australia and Japan. Ian is also a keen marathoner, enjoying the physical and mental benefits of long-distance running.
Riley Lee | Composer / Shakuhachi Soloist / Taikoz member since 1997 Riley Lee was born in Texas in 1951. He ‘grew up’ in Oklahoma, Hawai’i and Japan. He began shakuhachi in Japan in 1971, studying with Ichizan Hoshida II, Chikuho Sakai II and Katsuya Yokoyama. He became the first non-Japanese professional taiko player in the 1970s, as a founding member of Sado no Kuni Ondekoza (now Kodo). In 1980, he also became the first non-Japanese to attain dai shihan (Grand Master) ranking in shakuhachi. Riley moved to Sydney in 1986 with Patricia and their twin daughters. He received his PhD (musicology, Sydney University) in 1992. He has released over sixty recordings since his first LP in 1980. Riley has approximately 400 compositions, co-compositions and arrangements registered with APRA-AMCOS. In 1997, he co-founded Taikoz with Ian Cleworth. Like Ian, he enjoys running marathons. Riley has taught at Sydney Conservatorium of Music and is an Honorary Fellow at Western Sydney University. Riley taught at the University of Hawai’i for six years, and regularly teaches at Princeton (USA) and other universities. This year, he worked in Halifax (Canada) on a recording with Celtic duo, Fork and Spoon. He performs primarily in the USA, Switzerland, Germany and Australia. Riley was Artistic Director and Executive Producer of the 2008 World Shakuhachi Festival (Sydney) and has been invited to perform and teach at the 2018 World Shakuhachi Festival in London. Presently, Riley is working with the Enigma Quartet on their 5 Elements project, featuring original compositions by ten (so far!) Australian composers. Riley and Patricia live in Manly, NSW.
Sandy Evans | Composer / Saxophones Sandy Evans is an internationally renowned saxophonist and composer with a passion for improvisation and new music. She has played with and written for some of the most important groups in Australian jazz since the early 1980s and has toured extensively in Australia, Europe, Canada and Asia. She leads the Sandy Evans Trio and Sextet, and coleads the internationally acclaimed Clarion Fracture Zone. She is a member of MARA!, Waratah, The catholics, Australian Art Orchestra (AAO), Ten Part Invention and austraLYSIS. With composer Tony Gorman she co-leads the acclaimed 8-piece ensemble GEST8. In 2013, Wesleyan University Press published her composition Testimony about the life and music of Charlie Parker with poetry by Yusef Komunyakaa. Sandy has a keen interest in Indian classical music. She collaborates regularly with Sydneybased Indian musicians Sarangan Sriranganathan and Bobby Singh and recently released the CD Kapture, a tribute to South African freedom fighter Ahmed Kathrada. Her CD Cosmic Waves featuring South Indian mridangam virtuoso Guru Kaaraikkudi Mani and Sruthi Laya is released in India on Underscore Records. She has been awarded an Australia Council Fellowship, a Churchill Fellowship, an OAM, Bell Award For Australian Jazz Musician of The Year 2003, a Young Australian Creative Fellowship, APRA Award for Jazz Composition of the Year and three ARIA Awards. Sandyâ€™s suite When The Sky Cries Rainbows, recorded for ABC Jazztrack won the ARIA Award for Best Independent Jazz CD in 2011. Sandy has a PhD from Macquarie University where she received the Vice Chancellorâ€™s Commendation for Excellence. Sandy inaugurated the Jazz Improvisation Course for Young Women run annually by the Sydney Improvised Music Association. She is a Lecturer in Music at UNSW.
Chongwei Zhang | Movement Director Now based in Sydney as Principal and Master Instructor of TK Martial Arts Academy, Chongwei was born and educated in Shanghai, having trained under many famous great masters of Wu-Shu (6th Dan), Taekwondo (6th Dan) and Tai Chi. He is 3rd generation of Wu-Ji Sect, Shanghai Min-Qiang Wu-Shu Association. Chongwei’s high-level martial art skills and complimentary artistic sensibility has led to a long and varied career. Since 1995, he has been a Gold Medallist in national and international martial arts competition more than 30 times. Other highlights include his appointment as Combat Skills Instructor of The SWAT Team of Shanghai Police Force (2009), movement choreographer of ERA – Shanghai Circus World’s highly acclaimed, long running show – and a stunt actor in Hollywood movies Ultra Violet and Jackie Chan’s 2004 film, The Myth.
Kerryn Joyce | Performer / Taikoz member since 2001 Kerryn joined Taikoz in 2001 and is regularly seen on stage as a taiko player, dancer, singer and shinobue player. Kerryn has studied Japanese traditional folk dances with Kodo member Chieko Kojima and folk songs, lullabies and Ainu songs with Yoko Fujimoto, also of Kodo, as well as studying and performing with several of the finest taiko players and teachers in Japan. Kerryn is currently Taikozâ€™s Education Co-ordinator, establishing events, classes and opportunities for taiko enthusiasts to work closely with Taikoz and international artists and learn more about taiko and shinobue (bamboo flute). Kerryn is also in demand as a freelance percussionist. Tom Royce-Hampton | Performer / Dramaturg / Taikoz member since 2007 Tom is a musician, actor and physical theatre performer. Beginning as a classically trained musician, he completed a Bachelor of Music Performance at the Victorian College of the Arts School of Music, majoring in percussion. In 2007 Tom became a member of Taikoz and since joining the ensemble has performed and toured with a wide range of international artists and companies. He has also traveled extensively to Japan to study with traditional masters of various styles of wadaiko and dance, including several visits to Kitakami City to study the traditional dance called Onikenbai with masters Iwasaki Onikenbai Hozonkai. Tom has also completed an Advanced Diploma of Performing Arts (Acting) at Actors Centre Australia and attended numerous theatre intensive courses in Australia and internationally. A large focus on movement and character studies have seen Tom develop a strong physical language and a fascination in the ability for story telling to reside in the body. Tom has created and directed numerous Taikoz performances around Australia and internationally, most notably the conception and composition of two multi-arts works TaikoDeck and Origin of O.
Sophia Ang | Performer / Taikoz member since 2014 Sophia became a member of the ensemble in 2014 after successfully auditioning for Taikozâ€™s Individual Development Program in 2011, followed by Taikoz Mainstage Associate Player status in 2012. She has also traveled to Japan over a number of years for study with Iwasaki Onikenbai Hozonkai, the original masters of the dance-music form known as Onikenbai, as well as undergoing intensive study with Hase Mikita in Japan, and in New York with famed taiko-shinobue master Kaoru Watanabe. Sophia completed a Bachelor of Music at Melbourne University and has performed with the Australian Youth Orchestra and the Sydney Symphony Sinfonia. She currently teaches in the Taikoz Taiko School, with a particular focus on the taiko-musical development of young children.
Ryuji Hamada | Performer / Taikoz member since 2016 Ryuji was born and played wadaiko in Yokohama, Japan. He has made a particular study of the yoko-uchi style of taiko on Hachijo Island, as well as Miyake-daiko with original masters Akio Tsumura and sons. After travelling to Australia in 2012, Ryuji completed Taikoz’s Individual Development Program in 2013, followed by IDP2 in 2014. Ryuji was then named as Taikoz Mainstage Associate Player in 2015, followed by his appointment as a full member in 2016. Since then Ryuji has been involved in a number of major projects, including Taikoz’s Indian tour of Chi Udaka and The Beauty of 8, as well as Taikoz’s teaching program. Ryuji is increasingly in demand as a teacher throughout Australia holding workshops for numerous individuals and groups in Sydney, Melbourne, the Gold Coast, and regional NSW with a particular focus on working with Michelle Leonard and Moorambilla Voices. Joe Small | Performer / Taikoz member since 2017 Joe's passion for taiko began in 2002 at Swarthmore College through his studies in contemporary dance and theatre, receiving his initial formal instruction at the Taiko Center of the Pacific under Kenny Endo. Career highlights include a Fulbright Fellowship to Japan to research taiko and festivals (2005-2006), a two-year apprenticeship with the world-renowned taiko group, KODO (2007-2009), and ongoing activities since 2012 as the sole non-Japanese member of Fu-un no Kai, the ensemble of pioneering solo artist Eitetsu Hayashi. Joe is an instructor at the Los Angeles Taiko Institute and has performed and taught throughout the United States, as well as in Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, Spain, Switzerland, and Japan. In 2015, Joe was a guest artist with Taikoz and also debuted his first original concert-length concert, Spall Fragments, which toured Los Angeles and San Francisco in 2016. In 2017 Joe performed with contemporary opera company The Industry’s production of Galileo. Joe is a 2005 graduate of Swarthmore College (BA, Dance) and a 2015 graduate of UCLA's Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance (MFA, Dance). Tonight marks Joe’s debut as a member of Taikoz.
Sophie Unsen | Performer / Taikoz member since 2017 Sophie became an Associate Player in 2014, after successfully completing Taikozâ€™s Individual Development Program in 2013. She has studied shinobue (bamboo flute) and taiko with ex-Kodo member Kaoru Watanabe in New York City, and in 2015 travelled to Japan to undertake intensive study with Iwasaki Onikenbai Hozonkai, Akio Tsumura, Kyosuke Suzuki and Mochizuki Saburo. Sophie has also performed at the Kitakami Michinoku Geinou Matsuri in Kitakami City. Sophie has completed a Bachelor of Music at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music on saxophone and has performed extensively overseas and nationally with various ensembles. Tonight marks her debut as a Taikoz member. Claudia Wherry | Performer / Taikoz Young Artist since 2017 Claudia began learning taiko with Taikoz in 2009 at the age of 14. She is now undertaking a Bachelor of Music at the University of New South Wales as the first person in Australia to study wadaiko at university level. Taikoz member Kevin Man is her principal teacher and established the curriculum for UNSW. Over the past two years, Claudia has regularly performed in Taikoz and Musica Viva's Schools Concert touring ensemble, and has also taken part in numerous Taikoz main-stage performances. Tonight marks her debut as Taikoz Young Artist.
With many, many thanks to… *Synergy & Taikoz Commissioning Circle for the commissioning of Sandy Evan’s Sky, Let the Rain Fall Penny Campion Helen Brown Terry Ashman Robert Green
Celebrating 20 years of Taikoz