ROHNERT PARK — Sonoma County Taiko and Sonoma County Matsuri present “TaikOz in Concert — Asian Thunder from the Land Down Under” on Friday, July 11, at Evert B. Person Theater on the campus of Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park. It is sponsored by the Sonoma County Japanese American Citizens League.
There will be two performances: 2:30 p.m. matinee dress rehearsal and 7 p.m. evening show. Tickets are $20 ($25 at the door) for the matinee and $30 ($35 at the door) for the evening show. Tickets are available at Brown Paper Tickets, taikozrp.brownpapertickets.com or through Sonoma County Taiko or Sonoma County Matsuri members. There will be an additional $5 parking fee for campus parking.
TaikOz is a premier taiko drumming ensemble based in Sydney, Australia. Since 1997, it has developed a reputation for dramatic performances that couple explosive energy and extreme dynamism with refinement and grace. Although they have performed across the globe, this is their first-ever appearance in Northern California. This show will be the only one prominently featuring TaikOz during their Northern California tour.
Arnold Shimizu, artistic director of Sonoma County Taiko, exclaims, “We are very excited to present the most renowned Australian group to our local community. We are extremely proud that TaikOz has chosen Sonoma County as one of their few stops in California. This one-of-a-kind appearance is made possible by a unique collaboration between Sonoma County Taiko, Sonoma County Matsuri, and TaikOz. Together, we are all committed to sharing authentic Japanese culture and arts with the general public and look forward to these special shows.”
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 group appears on the stages of Australia’s finest concert halls, as well as those of Japan, Paris, Bangkok, Taiwan and most recently, Abu Dhabi. The group regularly appears in the theaters of regional Australia, having undertaken four Australia-wide tours. Distinguished composers Gerard Brophy, Andrea Molino, Michael Askill, David Pye, Philip South, Graeme Koehne and Timothy Constable have written works for the ensemble.
Drawing on their extensive collective experience in Japanese traditional music and dance, symphonic and contemporary music, TaikOz has developed its own sound and approach to wadaiko. With over 25 original works – including several in combination with instruments such as shakuhachi, koto, marimba, saxophone, cello and didgeridoo – as well as collaborations with artists and companies as diverse as John Bell and the Bell Shakespeare Company, Kenny Endo, Kaoru Watanabe, Eitetsu Hayashi and Eitetsu Fuun no Kai, Meryl Tankard, and Regis Lansac.
In 2012, TaikOz collaborated with Kodo on a nationwide tour of Australia. The group has also appeared in concerto works with the Sydney, Melbourne, West Australian and Queensland Symphony Orchestras, as well as the Dresden Sinfoniker in Europe. Awards include Limelight “Best New Composition Award” for Kaidan, Sidney Myer Performing Arts Award in recognition of TaikOz’s commitment to Australian music, and a Drover Award for regional touring and education.
About Sonoma County Taiko
Sonoma County Taiko has been presenting and teaching taiko in Sonoma County since 1995. The mission of the group is to “learn, share and promote taiko as a cultural art form.” Visible throughout Sonoma, Napa and Marin counties, they help to expose and revere the cultural diversity that people all experience.
Sonoma County Taiko has learned from many notable performers such as San Francisco Taiko Dojo, Sacramento Taiko Dan, Marco Lienhard, Yoko and Yoshikazu Fujimoto (Kodo), Riley Lee (TaikOz), and Kazuaki Tomida (Kodo, Tokyo Dagekidan), to name a few.
About Sonoma County Matsuri
Sonoma County Matsuri is a non-profit educational arts organization whose mission is to share and promote Japanese arts and culture by providing educational opportunities and better intercultural understanding in the greater San Francisco Bay Area.
Since its foundation in 2011, Sonoma County Matsuri has successfully promoted Japanese culture in the Bay Area and the North Bay through its annual Matsuri! Japanese Arts Festival. Its fundraising efforts provide scholarships to schools and students working in projects related to Japanese culture.
Matsuri! Japanese Arts Festival is a blend of unique artisans selling their wares and observance and participation in traditional Japanese tea ceremony along-side martial arts demonstrations, musical and theatrical performances.