sapphire coast wild beach scene

Artist Biography



Ian Cleworth Artistic Director, Graham Hilgendorf, Kerryn Joyce, Anton Lock, Tom Hampton and featuring Riley Lee

TaikOz credo: 'to beat with every muscle, bone and sinew in our bodies, with an open and joyous spirit.'

“TaikOz astounds and mesmerises with its musicianship. TaikOz shows what cross-cultural collaboration at its best can achieve. No wonder the show finished with a standing ovation.”

With ancient practice at its core, TaikOz combines tradition with the latest contemporary compositions. Combining the visceral power of the Japanese taiko drums with the ethereal sound of Riley Lee's bamboo shakuhachi, TaikOz is exploring a synthesis of East and West, old and new.

Established in 1997, TaikOz has grown into an ensemble comprising eight musicians who undertake a year-round schedule of performances, workshops and teaching. The group regularly tours throughout Australia collaborating with artists and organisations such as the Melbourne and Sydney Symphony Orchestras, acclaimed choreographer Meryl Tankard, taiko great Eitetsu Hayashi and chamber music presenter Musica Viva. TaikOz travels internationally and in particular to Japan, where the group's approach to taiko and shakuhachi performance has received considerable acclaim. TaikOz members have trained and performed with taiko and over the course of ten years have collectively established a definitive Australian taiko sound.

The fundamental basis of TaikOz's performance reflects three principal areas of creative endeavour: the creation of a new taiko music from Australian and international composers, which is based upon study and performance of traditional 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 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 and composer friends and artists such as Meryl Tankard, Regis Lansac, Gerard Brophy, Timothy Constable, Graham Koehne, Frances White and Andrea Molino.

Recent highlights include TaikOz's appearances at Tokyo's National Theatre of Japan with Eitetsu Hayashi and Fuun no Kai after an invitation to present an all-Australian program of taiko music. This followed a month-long tour of Australia with Eitetsu and Fuun no Kai in 2006 marking the 30th Anniversary of the Japan-Australia Friendship Agreement.

The 2007 Sydney Festival saw a two-week sell-out season for the World Premiere of TaikOz's collaboration with acclaimed choreographer Meryl Tankard entitled Kaidan: A Ghost Story - a fusion of dance, music and theatre.

Works with symphony orchestra include the World Premiere of Winners by Andrea Molino at the 2006 Brisbane Festival – a multi-media piece composed for Wadaiko, orchestra, saxophone and film, Winners received its European premiere at Paris's Pompidou Centre with the Dresden Philharmoniker and Andrea conducting inn October of 2006 and May 2008 will see the World Premiere of a new work by Gerard Brophy, commissioned by the Melbourne Symphony for Riley Lee, TaikOz and Synergy. 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 the Northern Territory, Tasmania, Victoria and Queensland in August and September of 2006 and will embark on a second ten-week national tour in 2008. 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 and the 2005 Drover Award for regional touring and education.'

TaikOz will be performing on Friday afternoon during the opening concert in Graham Hilgendorf's Chi with William Barton and in Michael Askill's Four Winds Drumming with Synergy, members of Omar Faruk Teklibec's Ensemble and some local drummers. On Saturday morning TaikOz will appear in Ian Cleworth's The Peals of Thunder and on Sunday they will perform in Steve Reich's Tehillim and Timothy Constable's arrangement of Mahamritjunjaya Mantra.

Selected Discography

Daichi - Big Earth TaikOz. Featuring Riley Lee. New World CD
TaikOz Live at Angel Place. New World Music CDA100 2003 CD
TaikOz Live at Angel Place DVD New World Music NWMAPDVD
Taiko no Sekai: a collection of live recordings from 1998-99 TaikOz featuring Riley Lee, shakuhachi. TaikOz, TAIKOZ1 With special guest Matthew Doyle, didgeridoo. Includes bonus video content for Windows and Mac OS computers.

see a list of artists that have performed at previous Four Winds