Speakers Profile - TaikOz

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Since 1997 TaikOz has established a unique performance aesthetic that reflects the group's passionate dedication to the forms of wadaiko and a desire to create new music for today's audiences.

The fundamental basis of TaikOz's performance reflects three principal areas of creative endeavour: the creation of new taiko music by Australian and international composers, the study and performance of drum and flute music from Japan, and the interpretation of music of contemporary Japanese composers such as Maki Ishii. Our aim is not to simply transplant one culture?s music into another's, but to allow a new form of music to grow upon a sure foundation of understanding and application of wadaiko technique and spirit.

From this basis TaikOz has developed its own sound by drawing upon the input of its members, whose musical backgrounds range from years of study and performance in Japanese traditional music, symphonic music, jazz and pop, as well as esteemed colleagues and teachers in Japan such as Eitetsu Hayashi, Fuun no Kai, past members of Sado no Kuni Ondekoza, and composer friends and artists, Meryl Tankard, Regis Lansac, Gerard Brophy, John Bell, Michael Askill , Timothy Constable, Graham Koehne and Andrea Molino.

Through the collective power of these diverse, but sympathetic, creative spirits, TaikOz has been able to forge a style all its own that reflects the members' high energy, commitment and joy in making music.

Since the group's inception members of TaikOz have created over twenty-five original works for wadaiko, often featuring such instruments as shakuhachi, shinobue, n'kan, voice, percussion, marimba, saxophone, guitar and didgeridoo.

TaikOz have collaborated with some of the world's finest artists, including world-renowned taiko greats Eitetsu Hayashi, Eitetsu Fuun no Kai and Kodo, percussion group Synergy, didgeridoo virtuosi Matthew Doyle and William Barton, theatre director John Bell and The Bell Shakespeare Company, choreographer Meryl Tankard, composers Andrea Molino, Gerard Brophy, David Pye and Graeme Koehne, and the Sydney, Melbourne, West Australian and Queensland Symphony Orchestras. TaikOz have also collaborated with major festivals in Sydney, Brisbane, Tasmania, Adelaide and Perth, often creating new works for wadaiko and other artists and art forms.

The ensemble has appeared on stages in Japan, Paris, Bangkok and most recently in Taiwan. TaikOz regularly performs in Australia's finest concert halls, as well as the theatres of regional Australia.

A brief overview of TaikOz's history:

Over twenty-five original works for wadaiko, often featuring such instruments as shakuhachi, shinobue, n'kan, koto, voice, percussion, marimba, saxophone, guitar and didgeridoo.
New works for wadaiko and other instruments by Australian composers Gerard Brophy, David Pye, Michale Askill, Timothy Constable, Philip South and Graeme Koehne.

Major collaborations:
150 taiko players, drummers and percussionists in Sydney City for Sydney Festival First Night (2010).

John Bell and The Bell Shakespeare Company in William Shakespeare's Pericles (2009).

Senior members of Kodo - Yoshikazu Fujimoto, Chieko Kojima, Yoko Fujimoto, Motofumi Yamaguchi and Eiichi Saito (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.