Web site: http://taikoz.com
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Since 1997 TaikOz has established a unique performance aesthetic that reflects the groupís passionate dedication to the forms of Wadaiko and a desire to create new music for todayís audiences.
The fundamental basis of TaikOzís performance reflects three principal areas of creative endeavour: the creation of new taiko music by Australian and international composers, which is based upon study and performance of drum and flute music from Japan, and the interpretation of music of contemporary Japanese composers such as Maki Ishii and Eitetsu Hayashi. Our aim is not to simply transplant one cultureís music into anotherís, 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 membersí high energy, commitment and joy in making music.
Highlights include an invitation to present an all-Australian program at Tokyo's National Theatre of Japan alongside Eitetsu Hayashi, Fu-un no Kai and didgeridoo virtuoso, Matthew Doyle. This followed a month-long tour of Australia with Eitetsu and Fu-un no Kai in 2006 marking the 30th Anniversary of the Japan-Australia Friendship Agreement. Previous collaborations with Eitetsu include the opening concert of the 2000 Sydney Festival, Kaikyousai Festival in Kobe and concerts at Sydney's Enmore Theatre.
Further appearances in Japan include TaikOz's 2005 tour where the group presented an all-Australian program at the Hibike Festival in Echizen and collaborative concerts in Kobe with colleagues Wadaiko Matsumuragumi. TaikOz and Wadaiko Matsumuragumi have previously presented joint concerts and workshops at the Brisbane Powerhouse.
TaikOz recently presented concerts in Australia with Kodo. Five of the group's senior soloists - Yoshikazu Fujimoto, Chieko Kojima, Yoko Fujimoto, Motofumi Yamaguchi and Eiichi Saito - collaborated with TaikOz on a program that drew on both ensembles' repertoire featuring taiko, shinobue, dance and song.
TaikOz has recently been involved in the creation of a new production of William Shakespeare's Pericles with the doyen of Australian theatre, John Bell and The Bell Shakespeare Company. Perciles was presented at the Sydney Opera House and the Playhouse in Melbourne.
The 2007 Sydney Festival saw the World Premiere of TaikOz's collaboration with acclaimed choreographer Meryl Tankard entitled Kaidan: A Ghost Story - a fusion of dance, music and theatre.
To view video excerpts from Kaidan click here
TaikOz has long championed the complete oeuvre of music for Wadaiko by composer Maki Ishii, including numerous performance seasons of Mono-Prism for Wadaiko and Orchestra, with the Sydney, Melbourne, West Australian and Queensland Orchestras and conductors Hiroyuki Iwaki, Ryusuke Numajiri and David Porcelijn.
Other works with symphony orchestra include the World Premiere of Winners at the 2006 Brisbane Festival - a multi-media piece composed by Andrea Molino for Wadaiko, orchestra, saxophones and film. Winners received its European premiere at Paris's Pompidou Centre in October of 2006 with the Dresden Philharmoniker and the composer conducting.
To view documentary footage of the Winners project click here
May 2008 saw the World Premiere of The Book Of Clouds by Gerard Brophy, commissioned and performed by the Melbourne Symphony. The combined forces of TaikOz, Synergy, Riley Lee and the MSO were conducted by Tadaaki Otaka.
2003 marked the group's first national tour for Australia's premiere chamber music presenters, Musica Viva. The association with Musica Viva has continued over the years with extensive regional touring for their CountryWide division. Musica Viva presented TaikOz in its 2007 national subscription season, taking the group to the finest concert halls in Australia.
TaikOz completed a seven-week tour of regional Australia in 2006, followed by an eleven-week tour in 2008, which took in four states and a territory. Both seasons have been sponsored by Playing Australia.
Awards include the prestigious Sidney Myer Performing Arts Award in 2006 in recognition of TaikOz's commitment to Australian music, as well as the 2007 Limelight Best New Composition Award for Kaidan and the 2005 Drover Award for regional touring and education.
The group has released three CDs and a DVD, which was recorded live in Sydney's City Recital Hall, Angel Place.
Music, Video, Image and Lyric Samples: