IN THE LAST FEW MONTHS, I found myself performing and teaching in Istanbul, Tanglewood (in MA), Washington DC, San Diego, Los Angeles, St. Louis, London and of course NYC. All journeys were incredibly rewarding and challenging all at once, whether it was doing a video shoot with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silkroad Ensemble, curating a mind-bending collaborative performance with musicians and dancers representing Brazil, Haiti, Jamaica, Peru, debuting an arrangement of one of my pieces for piano in my hometown of St. Louis (playing on the same stage on which I first played taiko 31 years ago), performing for the first time with jazz/electronica musician Mark De Clive-Lowe, bilingual MC Shing02 and others, recording music in London for Wes Anderson's new movie or doing an improvisation with a master soba maker for the Japanese delegation to the UN General Assembly (Prime Minister Abe opened for us).
COMING UP, I'm taking place in a fundraising event with Silkroad Ensemble, in a few weeks, I'll be performing at the National Gallery as part of the Canales Project and TEDx Mid Atlantic. A couple months from now I'll be performing at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention in Indiana.
One more project that's a little further down the road is a tour we're calling KAORU'S JAPAN. I will be personally bringing a handful of people to Japan in late November through mid-December, introducing and translating for workshops (Miyake, Edo Bayashi), demonstrations (Noh and Kabuki), concerts(my own, Kabuki) and site visits (Ranjo's fue making studio, Chichibu Festival). It's open to taiko drummers and fue players of all levels (including absolute beginners). Please check out the details here!
Finally, when I write these updates, I often feel a huge chasm between how grateful I am for the opportunities I get to perform, teach and travel and the immeasurable suffering I see and feel all around me- whether it's from natural disasters, man-made crisis, hateful and hurtful policies, racism, sexism, classism, and sickness. I am plagued with feelings of guilt and pettiness for pursuing my selfish artistic dreams. It is, however, all I know and is the best way I feel I can contribute to society.