Taikoz Artists


About Taikoz

Appearing in Taikoz's 2024 Mainstage, Schools and Non-mainstage performance season:

Ian Cleworth | Kerryn Joyce | Ryuji Hamada | Sophia Ang | Silvana Imperatori | Haruka Kunimune | Anton Lock (2024 Guest Artist) | Nerida Wu (see below for artist and teacher biographies)


Ian Cleworth and Riley Lee formed Taikoz in 1997. Over the past twenty-six years, the group has developed a wide and original repertoire of works and productions that has seen them perform on the stages of Australia's finest concert halls, in the theatres of regional Australia, and in leading theatres and concert halls worldwide. 
 
Taikoz has performed numerous times in Japan, including at the illustrious National Theatre of Japan, as well as Paris’s Centre Pompidou, and arts festivals in Bangkok, Taiwan, New Zealand, and West Coast USA. A major international highlight was a five-city tour of India, which saw CHI UDAKA – their collaboration with Lingalayam Dance Company – receive wide critical acclaim. CHI UDAKA was remounted in 2023 on an invitation from the Sydney Opera House to be a part of their month-long 50th anniversary celebrations. 
 
Esteemed collaborators include composers Sandy Evans, Yunyu, Karlin Love, Lachlan Skipworth, Gerard Brophy, Andrea Molino and Michael Askill, and artists as diverse as John Bell and the Bell Shakespeare Company, taiko greats Eitetsu Hayashi, Yoshikazu Fujimoto, Chieko Kojima and Shogo Yoshii, First Nations Artist Waangenga Blanco, art-music ensembles Synergy Percussion, Ensemble Offspring and the Sydney Improvisers Composers Kollektiv Orchestra, as well as distinguished choreographers Meryl Tankard and Anandavalli. The group has also collaborated with the world renowned performing arts ensemble Kodo on two nation-wide tours of Australia.
 
Taikoz has appeared in concerto works with major orchestras, including 13 performances of Maki Ishii's ground-breaking MONO-PRISM, Gerard Brophy's BOOK OF CLOUDS and Andrea Molino's multi-media WINNERS, which premiered at the Brisbane Festival and the Pompidou Centre in Paris. Collaborating orchestras are the Sydney, Melbourne, West Australian and Queensland Symphony Orchestras, as well as the Dresden Sinfoniker in Europe. Most recently, Taikoz, Riley Lee and Kaoru Watanabe were featured soloists with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, performing their own works in arrangements for the ensemble and orchestra, culminating in a commissioned work by Lachlan Skipworth, THE BREATH OF THUNDER.
 
Taikoz has also enjoyed performing on major outdoor festival stages, including the WOMADs of New Zealand and Adelaide, Kobe Japan’s Kaikyousai Festival and the taiko festival Otaiko Hibike in Ota, Japan.
 
Co-founders Ian Cleworth and Riley Lee have both been awarded the Japanese Foreign Minister’s Commendation for their contributions towards promoting friendship and goodwill between Australia and Japan. 
_________________________________________________________

A brief overview of Taikoz' history:
  • Over thirty original works by ensemble members for taiko, often featuring such instruments as shakuhachi, shinobue, nohkan, koto, voice, percussion, marimba, drum set, saxophone, guitar and didgeridoo

  • New works for taiko and other instruments by distinguished composers Michael Askill, Gerard Brophy, Timothy Constable, Graeme Koehne, Andrea Molino, David Pye, Philip South

  • Major collaborations:
Waangenga Blanco and Ensemble Offspring in Coming Together (2022)
Sydney Improvisers Composers Kollektiv Orchestra (SICKO) in Intermode (2021)
Anandavalli and Lingalayam in Chi Udaka (AsiaTOPA 2020, Australia & India Tours 2016, Sydney Festival 2014)
Phoenix Central Park in Toward The Rain (Film 2019)
Chieko Kojima and Riley Lee in The Beauty Of 8 (2019, 2017, 2015)
Lachlan Skipworth, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Riley Lee and Kaoru Watanabe in The  Breath Of Thunder (2018)
Kaoru Watanabe in Future Directions (2014)
Satsuki Odamura in Crimson Sky (2014, 2013, 2012)
Kodo in Kodo and Taikoz In Concert Australian Tour (2012)
150 taiko players, drummers and percussionists in Fireworks / 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 – 
in Kodo and Taikoz In Concert (2009)
Eitetsu Hayashi and Fuun no Kai (Japan 2008, Australia 2006, 2002, 2001, 2000) 
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)
Wadaiko Matsumura-gumi in Australia and Japan (2005, 2004)
  • International performances:
Chi Udaka, Chennai, Visakhapatnam, Hyderabad, Mumbai (2016)
Womad, New Plymouth, New Zealand (2015)
World Taiko Gathering, Los Angeles USA (2014)
Abu Dhabi, UAE (2013)
Taipei, Kaohsiung, Taichung and Tainan, Taiwan (2011)
Kitakami Michinoku Geinou Matsuri, Japan (2010)
National Theatre of Japan, Tokyo, Japan (2008)
Winners, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (2006)
Hibike Festival, Echizen, Japan (2005)
Bangkok International Music Festival, Thailand (2004)
Kaikyōsai Festival, Kobe, Japan (2001)
  • Performances with orchestra:
Breath Of Thunder by Lachlan Skipworth with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Riley Lee, shakuhachi, Kaoru Watanabe, shinobue, and conductor Gerard Solonga (2018)
Mono-Prism by Maki Ishii with the Sydney, Melbourne, West Australian and Queensland Symphony Orchestras, and conductors Hiroyuki Iwaki, Ryusuke Numajiri and David Porcilijn (1999, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2009, 2009, 2010)
Book Of Clouds by Gerard Brophy with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Riley Lee, shakuhachi and Synergy Percussion conducted by Tadaaki Otaka (2008) (World Premiere Work)
Winners by Andrea Molino and the Queensland Symphony at the Brisbane Festival, and Dresden Sinfoniker at the Pompidou Centre, Paris, conducted by the composer (2006) (World Premiere Work)
  • Major tours of regional Australia:
The Beauty Of 8 (2019)
Chi Udaka (2016)
Crimson Sky (2014)
Shifting Sand (2012)
Blessings Of The Earth (2010)
The Gathering (2008)
Da Ha-Pounding Wave (2006)
  • Awards: 
Japanese Foreign Minister’s Commendation for contribution towards promoting friendship and goodwill between Australia and Japan / Ian Cleworth and Riley Lee (2016)
Limelight ‘Best New Composition Award’ for Kaidan (2007)
Sidney Myer Performing Arts Award in recognition of Taikoz's commitment to Australian music (2006)
Drover Award for regional touring and education (2005)
  • Filmed performances appear on Taikoz's Vimeo site
___________________________________________________
2024 TAIKOZ ARTISTS and ATA TEACHERS

IAN CLEWORTH | 2024 Taikoz Artist | 2024 ATA Teacher
Ian has been a Taikoz Artist since the group’s inception in 1997 having co-founded the ensemble with Shakuhachi Shihan Riley Lee. Together they had a vision of creating an ensemble with taiko, shakuhachi and percussion at its heart that would forge its own original, Australian voice. In 2005, Ian became full-time with Taikoz after having spent 20 years as Principal Percussionist with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and 16 years with the percussion group Synergy.

In the 1980s, after graduating with First Class Honours from the University of Adelaide majoring in percussion, Ian learnt taiko with Sen Amano of Yamanashi Prefecture, followed two decades later by tutorship from taiko legend Eitetsu Hayashi, including joining Hayashi Sama and his ensemble Fuun no Kai for performances in the Tokyo Summer Festival.

As a taiko performer Ian has collaborated with many esteemed artists, including choreographer Anandavalli, koto virtuosi Kazue Sawai and Satsuki Odamura, and taiko artists Shogo Yoshii, Chieko Kojima and Kaoru Watanabe, as well as composers Sandy Evans, Gerard Brophy, Lachlan Skipworth and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and Andrea Molino and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra and Dresden Sinfoniker in Paris.

Over his 40-year career, Ian has toured extensively throughout Japan, Europe, USA, India, and Asia, performing in such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Centre Pompidou, Suntory Hall, Royal Albert Hall and the Sydney Opera House. As a composer, Ian has composed music for the Bell Shakespeare Company, Sandy Evans, Riley Lee, choreographers Meryl Tankard and Anandavalli, among others.

In 2016, Ian received the Japanese Foreign Minister’s Commendation for his contribution towards promoting friendship and goodwill between Australia and Japan.

KERRYN JOYCE | 2024 Taikoz Artist | 2024 ATA Teacher
Kerryn has been a Taikoz Artist since 2001. Kerryn is well known for her exciting and highly expressive performance style and is a mainstay in major projects as taiko soloist, dancer, singer and shinobue player. With Taikoz, Kerryn has performed in all the major Australian concert halls, including numerous performances at the Sydney Opera House, and in regional theatres nation-wide. She has appeared at the famed National Theatre of Japan, Centre Pompidou in Paris, and toured India with Taikoz and Lingalayam’s acclaimed music-dance production Chi Udaka.

Kerryn studied Japanese traditional folk dances with Kodo member Chieko Kojima and folk songs, lullabies and Ainu songs with Yoko Fujimoto, also of Kodo. She graduated with a Bachelor of Music from the University of Queensland and a Postgraduate Diploma from the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University. As a percussionist, Kerryn often performs with the Opera Australia Orchestra.

Kerryn has been at the forefront of taiko education in Sydney since the early 2000s. Over the past two decades, Kerryn’s high-level musical skills and trademark passion have seen her spearheading the Australian Taiko Academy’s broad curriculum of activities, including concerts for schools, workshops and classes, ATA’s online teaching program and regional education initiative, Not A Dress Rehearsal.

SOPHIA ANG | 2024 Taikoz Artist | 2024 ATA Teacher
Sophia is a 2024 Taikoz Artist and has been a performer with the ensemble since 2014 after successfully auditioning for the Taikoz Individual Development Program in 2011, followed by Taikoz Associate Player status in 2012.

With Taikoz, Sophia has performed in all the major Australian concert halls, including numerous performances at the Sydney Opera House, and in regional theatres, nation-wide. She has also toured India with Chi Udaka and the USA, performing at the World Taiko Gathering.

Sophia is a member of the Sydney Onikenbai Club and regularly travels to Japan for study with Iwasaki Onikenbai Hozonkai, the original masters of the dance-music form known as Onikenbai. She also performs Onikenbai in the Kitakami Michinoku Geinou Matsuri. Sophia has also undergone two weeks intensive study in New York with famed taiko-shinobue artist Kaoru Watanabe.

Sophia completed a Bachelor of Music at Melbourne University and as a percussionist has performed with the Australian Youth Orchestra and the Sydney Symphony Sinfonia. She continues to be very involved as a teacher of taiko at the Australian Taiko Academy.

RYUJI HAMADA | 2024 Taikoz Artist | 2024 ATA Teacher
Ryuji has been a Taikoz Artist since 2015 having completed the Taikoz Individual Development Program in 2013-14. Ryuji is well known for his joy and passion for taiko, especially when performing yokouchi (side on style) taiko, katsugi okedo, shinobue, dance and the grand odaiko.

With Taikoz, Ryuji has performed in all the major Australian concert halls, including numerous performances at the Sydney Opera House, and in regional theatres, nation-wide. Ryuji toured India with Taikoz and Lingalayam’s acclaimed production of Chi Udaka.

Ryuji grew up in Yokohama, Japan, and began his taiko training with the taiko group Shoryu, an ensemble he subsequently led before moving to Sydney. His teachers and mentors include Suguru Kikuchi on Hachijo Island and Miyake-daiko masters Akio Tsumura and sons.

Ryuji currently leads the Sydney Onikenbai Club (under the umbrella of ATA) and regularly travels to Japan for study with Iwasaki Onikenbai Hozonkai, the original masters of the dance-music form known as Onikenbai. When in Japan, he regularly performs Onikenbai in the Kitakami Michinoku Geinou Matsuri.

In collaboration with Musica Viva Australia In Schools (MVAIS), Ryuji and Haruka were involved in the development of a new schools performance project called Water Rhythms. Water Rhythms begins touring Australia-wide in 2024.

At the Australian Taiko Academy, Ryuji teaches several weekly classes, including ATA’s Tataku and Bachi Club youth programs. Ryuji tours regularly to metropolitan and regional centres to present concerts in schools and is often invited to teach community taiko groups around Australia.

CAMERON BURGESS | 2024 ATA Teacher
Cameron began learning taiko in 2019 through the Australian Taiko Academy’s community classes. Later that year he successfully auditioned for the Taikoz Individual Development Program, where he studied taiko, voice, movement, shinobue and Onikenbai. The following year Cameron became a Taikoz Training Associate and in 2022, a Taikoz Associate Player.

Cameron has been involved in non-mainstage performances with Taikoz. He is also a passionate music educator, taking children’s classes at the Australian Taiko Academy since 2021 and teaching curricular Music at the early childhood, primary and secondary levels.

Prior to playing taiko, Cameron completed a Bachelor of Music Performance (Honours) at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, where he was awarded the Jules Silvester Prize. 

Cameron was a recipient of a BBM Music Award, which enabled him to study clarinet in the UK and Europe. As a clarinettist, Cameron has performed with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the Sydney Sinfonia, and as a soloist with the University of New South Wales Orchestra.

SILVANA IMPERATORI | 2024 Taikoz Artist | 2024 ATA Teacher
2024 Taikoz Artist Silvana Imperatori is a Norwegian musician and performer based in Sydney. Specialising in Japanese instruments, including taiko, koto and shinobue (bamboo flute), Silvana is also trained in Japanese vocal traditions and folk performance.

After completing a course in Drama and Theatre Communication at Oslo Metropolitan University, she left Norway to pursue studies within Japanese performing arts. In 2012, while working at Walt Disney World in Florida, USA she began playing taiko with the group Matsuriza. 

In 2014, Silvana moved to Kyoto, Japan, where she studied Japanese language at the Kyōto Zōkei Geijutsu University’s affiliated language school. During this time, she was also a member of the University’s taiko circle, training under the supervision of Wadaiko Shien.

In 2016, Silvana successfully auditioned to become a Kodo Apprentice, subsequently living at the Kodo Apprentice Centre on Sado Island. During the two-year course, she underwent rigorous training in taiko and various other performing arts. Silvana graduated in 2018 and in 2019, relocated to Sydney to undertake a degree in Performing Arts Industries, focusing on Japanese instruments in a globalising industry. 
 
Concurrently, Silvana continued to develop her performing skills by successfully auditioning for the Taikoz Individual Development Program and studying koto under master teacher and performer Satsuki Odamura.

After completing her degree in 2021, Silvana became a Taikoz Associate Player performing both on the mainstage and as part of the schools’ concert ensemble. In 2023, she became a Taikoz Artist performing on the mainstage and undertaking various other major projects and collaborations.
 
HARUKA KUNIMUNE | 2024 Taikoz Artist | 2024 ATA Teacher
Haruka is a 2024 Taikoz Artist. After completing the Taikoz Individual Development Program in 2019-20 she became a Taikoz Associate Artist and subsequently invited to perform on the mainstage as a Taikoz Artist in 2023.

Haruka was born and raised in Chiba, Japan. Upon graduation from university in Tokyo, she moved to Nara prefecture and joined Nakoza, which has its origins in Osuwa style taiko founded by Oguchi Daihachi. In Nakoza, Haruka performed at various community festivals and events. Haruka moved to Sydney in 2018 to teach Japanese language and to play taiko. With the aim of gaining more skills in taiko, she successfully auditioned for the Taikoz Individual Development Program during which time she studied a wide range of taiko styles and techniques, as well as shinobue, singing and Onikenbai.

Since becoming a Taikoz Artist, Haruka has performed in multiple major concerts, collaborating not only with world-renowned taiko artists such as Shogo Yoshii, but also martial artists and actors. As well as performing and teaching at the Australian Taiko Academy, Haruka teaches taiko in schools, overseeing her students’ musical development and performances. 

In collaboration with Musica Viva Australia In Schools (MVAIS), Haruka and Ryuji were involved in the development of a new schools performance project called Water Rhythms. Water Rhythms begins touring Australia-wide in 2024.
 
SAMANTHA NEWTON | 2024 ATA Associate Teacher
Samantha was a 2023 Taikoz Artist and from 2024 will concentrate on her own projects, as well as teach regularly at the ATA as a substitute teacher.

Sam has been studying taiko since 2003. She completed the Taikoz Individual Development Program in 2008 (IDP I) and 2016 (IDP II). Sam was a founding member of the ATA’s community group Taiko no Wa and from 2006 to 2019 was heavily involved in coordinating its activities. In 2011, Sam travelled to Japan as a member of Taiko no Wa to take part in the Tokyo International Taiko Contest. The ensemble took out First Prize and was subsequently invited back to Tokyo a year later to perform in a concert featuring previous contest winners. 

Sam has been a member of the Sydney Onikenbai Club since it started in 2011 and has made several trips to Japan to study with Iwasaki Onikenbai Hozonkai, focusing on the shinobue (bamboo flute) that accompanies this ancient Buddhist festival dance form. A highlight of this journey was playing in the Onikenbai Geino Matsuri in Iwasaki and Kitakami.

Sam has performed with Taikoz on numerous occasions and is a regular member of the schools’ concert ensemble. She has been an ATA Teacher since 2011, leading various community classes and workshops. 

Outside of taiko, Sam works in garden design, plant ecology outreach and nature conservation. Her other hobbies include bushwalking, cooking and reading.
 
NERIDA (NED) WU | 2024 Taikoz Artist
Nerida (Ned) is a 2024 Taikoz Artist. After successfully auditioning for the Taikoz Individual Development Program in 2017, Ned became a Taikoz Associate Player, performing in mainstage performances and other Taikoz projects. She continued to expand her performance activities as a Taikoz Artist in 2023 with recent highlights including appearances at WOMADelaide. 

Ned is also an in-demand drum-set player. She is a member of various independent bands in genres ranging from folk to punk, and has toured Europe, the UK, USA, Canada, Japan, and Australia.

Since 2013, Ned has been a member of all-female percussion group Drummer Queens, directed by Joe Accaria and Nigel Turner-Carrol. In 2021, Drummer Queens toured the east coast of Australia in mainstage theatres. In 2015, Ned was a cast member of Dein Perry’s Tap Dogs, touring China and Macau, and in 2022, was a judge for Hit Like A Girl, an international contest for female drummers.

Ned also performs in Taikoz’s schools’ concert and workshop ensemble, and as part of the ATA team, leads taiko workshops.
 





 
 


‘You don’t just listen to this music. You see it and feel it, too. Totally compelling.’
Sydney Morning Herald

‘It’s the seeing that turns an exhilarating aural experience into something close to dance theatre with a spiritual bent. The virtuosity is thrilling but even better is the sense of pure joy the players transmit.’
Weekend Australian

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What's On

SAND | Redlands Performing Arts Centre, QLD

21 Jun 2024

We’d love you to join us for our dynamic new performance work SAND premiering June 21 for one night only at Redland Performing Arts...

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What's On

SAND | Redlands Performing Arts Centre, QLD

21 Jun 2024

We’d love you to join us for our dynamic new performance work SAND premiering June 21 for one night only at Redland Performing Arts...

Taikoz Artists


About Taikoz

Appearing in Taikoz's 2024 Mainstage, Schools and Non-mainstage performance season:

Ian Cleworth | Kerryn Joyce | Ryuji Hamada | Sophia Ang | Silvana Imperatori | Haruka Kunimune | Anton Lock (2024 Guest Artist) | Nerida Wu (see below for artist and teacher biographies)


Ian Cleworth and Riley Lee formed Taikoz in 1997. Over the past twenty-six years, the group has developed a wide and original repertoire of works and productions that has seen them perform on the stages of Australia's finest concert halls, in the theatres of regional Australia, and in leading theatres and concert halls worldwide. 
 
Taikoz has performed numerous times in Japan, including at the illustrious National Theatre of Japan, as well as Paris’s Centre Pompidou, and arts festivals in Bangkok, Taiwan, New Zealand, and West Coast USA. A major international highlight was a five-city tour of India, which saw CHI UDAKA – their collaboration with Lingalayam Dance Company – receive wide critical acclaim. CHI UDAKA was remounted in 2023 on an invitation from the Sydney Opera House to be a part of their month-long 50th anniversary celebrations. 
 
Esteemed collaborators include composers Sandy Evans, Yunyu, Karlin Love, Lachlan Skipworth, Gerard Brophy, Andrea Molino and Michael Askill, and artists as diverse as John Bell and the Bell Shakespeare Company, taiko greats Eitetsu Hayashi, Yoshikazu Fujimoto, Chieko Kojima and Shogo Yoshii, First Nations Artist Waangenga Blanco, art-music ensembles Synergy Percussion, Ensemble Offspring and the Sydney Improvisers Composers Kollektiv Orchestra, as well as distinguished choreographers Meryl Tankard and Anandavalli. The group has also collaborated with the world renowned performing arts ensemble Kodo on two nation-wide tours of Australia.
 
Taikoz has appeared in concerto works with major orchestras, including 13 performances of Maki Ishii's ground-breaking MONO-PRISM, Gerard Brophy's BOOK OF CLOUDS and Andrea Molino's multi-media WINNERS, which premiered at the Brisbane Festival and the Pompidou Centre in Paris. Collaborating orchestras are the Sydney, Melbourne, West Australian and Queensland Symphony Orchestras, as well as the Dresden Sinfoniker in Europe. Most recently, Taikoz, Riley Lee and Kaoru Watanabe were featured soloists with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, performing their own works in arrangements for the ensemble and orchestra, culminating in a commissioned work by Lachlan Skipworth, THE BREATH OF THUNDER.
 
Taikoz has also enjoyed performing on major outdoor festival stages, including the WOMADs of New Zealand and Adelaide, Kobe Japan’s Kaikyousai Festival and the taiko festival Otaiko Hibike in Ota, Japan.
 
Co-founders Ian Cleworth and Riley Lee have both been awarded the Japanese Foreign Minister’s Commendation for their contributions towards promoting friendship and goodwill between Australia and Japan. 
_________________________________________________________

A brief overview of Taikoz' history:
  • Over thirty original works by ensemble members for taiko, often featuring such instruments as shakuhachi, shinobue, nohkan, koto, voice, percussion, marimba, drum set, saxophone, guitar and didgeridoo

  • New works for taiko and other instruments by distinguished composers Michael Askill, Gerard Brophy, Timothy Constable, Graeme Koehne, Andrea Molino, David Pye, Philip South

  • Major collaborations:
Waangenga Blanco and Ensemble Offspring in Coming Together (2022)
Sydney Improvisers Composers Kollektiv Orchestra (SICKO) in Intermode (2021)
Anandavalli and Lingalayam in Chi Udaka (AsiaTOPA 2020, Australia & India Tours 2016, Sydney Festival 2014)
Phoenix Central Park in Toward The Rain (Film 2019)
Chieko Kojima and Riley Lee in The Beauty Of 8 (2019, 2017, 2015)
Lachlan Skipworth, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Riley Lee and Kaoru Watanabe in The  Breath Of Thunder (2018)
Kaoru Watanabe in Future Directions (2014)
Satsuki Odamura in Crimson Sky (2014, 2013, 2012)
Kodo in Kodo and Taikoz In Concert Australian Tour (2012)
150 taiko players, drummers and percussionists in Fireworks / 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 – 
in Kodo and Taikoz In Concert (2009)
Eitetsu Hayashi and Fuun no Kai (Japan 2008, Australia 2006, 2002, 2001, 2000) 
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)
Wadaiko Matsumura-gumi in Australia and Japan (2005, 2004)
  • International performances:
Chi Udaka, Chennai, Visakhapatnam, Hyderabad, Mumbai (2016)
Womad, New Plymouth, New Zealand (2015)
World Taiko Gathering, Los Angeles USA (2014)
Abu Dhabi, UAE (2013)
Taipei, Kaohsiung, Taichung and Tainan, Taiwan (2011)
Kitakami Michinoku Geinou Matsuri, Japan (2010)
National Theatre of Japan, Tokyo, Japan (2008)
Winners, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (2006)
Hibike Festival, Echizen, Japan (2005)
Bangkok International Music Festival, Thailand (2004)
Kaikyōsai Festival, Kobe, Japan (2001)
  • Performances with orchestra:
Breath Of Thunder by Lachlan Skipworth with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Riley Lee, shakuhachi, Kaoru Watanabe, shinobue, and conductor Gerard Solonga (2018)
Mono-Prism by Maki Ishii with the Sydney, Melbourne, West Australian and Queensland Symphony Orchestras, and conductors Hiroyuki Iwaki, Ryusuke Numajiri and David Porcilijn (1999, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2009, 2009, 2010)
Book Of Clouds by Gerard Brophy with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Riley Lee, shakuhachi and Synergy Percussion conducted by Tadaaki Otaka (2008) (World Premiere Work)
Winners by Andrea Molino and the Queensland Symphony at the Brisbane Festival, and Dresden Sinfoniker at the Pompidou Centre, Paris, conducted by the composer (2006) (World Premiere Work)
  • Major tours of regional Australia:
The Beauty Of 8 (2019)
Chi Udaka (2016)
Crimson Sky (2014)
Shifting Sand (2012)
Blessings Of The Earth (2010)
The Gathering (2008)
Da Ha-Pounding Wave (2006)
  • Awards: 
Japanese Foreign Minister’s Commendation for contribution towards promoting friendship and goodwill between Australia and Japan / Ian Cleworth and Riley Lee (2016)
Limelight ‘Best New Composition Award’ for Kaidan (2007)
Sidney Myer Performing Arts Award in recognition of Taikoz's commitment to Australian music (2006)
Drover Award for regional touring and education (2005)
  • Filmed performances appear on Taikoz's Vimeo site
___________________________________________________
2024 TAIKOZ ARTISTS and ATA TEACHERS

IAN CLEWORTH | 2024 Taikoz Artist | 2024 ATA Teacher
Ian has been a Taikoz Artist since the group’s inception in 1997 having co-founded the ensemble with Shakuhachi Shihan Riley Lee. Together they had a vision of creating an ensemble with taiko, shakuhachi and percussion at its heart that would forge its own original, Australian voice. In 2005, Ian became full-time with Taikoz after having spent 20 years as Principal Percussionist with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and 16 years with the percussion group Synergy.

In the 1980s, after graduating with First Class Honours from the University of Adelaide majoring in percussion, Ian learnt taiko with Sen Amano of Yamanashi Prefecture, followed two decades later by tutorship from taiko legend Eitetsu Hayashi, including joining Hayashi Sama and his ensemble Fuun no Kai for performances in the Tokyo Summer Festival.

As a taiko performer Ian has collaborated with many esteemed artists, including choreographer Anandavalli, koto virtuosi Kazue Sawai and Satsuki Odamura, and taiko artists Shogo Yoshii, Chieko Kojima and Kaoru Watanabe, as well as composers Sandy Evans, Gerard Brophy, Lachlan Skipworth and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and Andrea Molino and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra and Dresden Sinfoniker in Paris.

Over his 40-year career, Ian has toured extensively throughout Japan, Europe, USA, India, and Asia, performing in such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Centre Pompidou, Suntory Hall, Royal Albert Hall and the Sydney Opera House. As a composer, Ian has composed music for the Bell Shakespeare Company, Sandy Evans, Riley Lee, choreographers Meryl Tankard and Anandavalli, among others.

In 2016, Ian received the Japanese Foreign Minister’s Commendation for his contribution towards promoting friendship and goodwill between Australia and Japan.

KERRYN JOYCE | 2024 Taikoz Artist | 2024 ATA Teacher
Kerryn has been a Taikoz Artist since 2001. Kerryn is well known for her exciting and highly expressive performance style and is a mainstay in major projects as taiko soloist, dancer, singer and shinobue player. With Taikoz, Kerryn has performed in all the major Australian concert halls, including numerous performances at the Sydney Opera House, and in regional theatres nation-wide. She has appeared at the famed National Theatre of Japan, Centre Pompidou in Paris, and toured India with Taikoz and Lingalayam’s acclaimed music-dance production Chi Udaka.

Kerryn studied Japanese traditional folk dances with Kodo member Chieko Kojima and folk songs, lullabies and Ainu songs with Yoko Fujimoto, also of Kodo. She graduated with a Bachelor of Music from the University of Queensland and a Postgraduate Diploma from the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University. As a percussionist, Kerryn often performs with the Opera Australia Orchestra.

Kerryn has been at the forefront of taiko education in Sydney since the early 2000s. Over the past two decades, Kerryn’s high-level musical skills and trademark passion have seen her spearheading the Australian Taiko Academy’s broad curriculum of activities, including concerts for schools, workshops and classes, ATA’s online teaching program and regional education initiative, Not A Dress Rehearsal.

SOPHIA ANG | 2024 Taikoz Artist | 2024 ATA Teacher
Sophia is a 2024 Taikoz Artist and has been a performer with the ensemble since 2014 after successfully auditioning for the Taikoz Individual Development Program in 2011, followed by Taikoz Associate Player status in 2012.

With Taikoz, Sophia has performed in all the major Australian concert halls, including numerous performances at the Sydney Opera House, and in regional theatres, nation-wide. She has also toured India with Chi Udaka and the USA, performing at the World Taiko Gathering.

Sophia is a member of the Sydney Onikenbai Club and regularly travels to Japan for study with Iwasaki Onikenbai Hozonkai, the original masters of the dance-music form known as Onikenbai. She also performs Onikenbai in the Kitakami Michinoku Geinou Matsuri. Sophia has also undergone two weeks intensive study in New York with famed taiko-shinobue artist Kaoru Watanabe.

Sophia completed a Bachelor of Music at Melbourne University and as a percussionist has performed with the Australian Youth Orchestra and the Sydney Symphony Sinfonia. She continues to be very involved as a teacher of taiko at the Australian Taiko Academy.

RYUJI HAMADA | 2024 Taikoz Artist | 2024 ATA Teacher
Ryuji has been a Taikoz Artist since 2015 having completed the Taikoz Individual Development Program in 2013-14. Ryuji is well known for his joy and passion for taiko, especially when performing yokouchi (side on style) taiko, katsugi okedo, shinobue, dance and the grand odaiko.

With Taikoz, Ryuji has performed in all the major Australian concert halls, including numerous performances at the Sydney Opera House, and in regional theatres, nation-wide. Ryuji toured India with Taikoz and Lingalayam’s acclaimed production of Chi Udaka.

Ryuji grew up in Yokohama, Japan, and began his taiko training with the taiko group Shoryu, an ensemble he subsequently led before moving to Sydney. His teachers and mentors include Suguru Kikuchi on Hachijo Island and Miyake-daiko masters Akio Tsumura and sons.

Ryuji currently leads the Sydney Onikenbai Club (under the umbrella of ATA) and regularly travels to Japan for study with Iwasaki Onikenbai Hozonkai, the original masters of the dance-music form known as Onikenbai. When in Japan, he regularly performs Onikenbai in the Kitakami Michinoku Geinou Matsuri.

In collaboration with Musica Viva Australia In Schools (MVAIS), Ryuji and Haruka were involved in the development of a new schools performance project called Water Rhythms. Water Rhythms begins touring Australia-wide in 2024.

At the Australian Taiko Academy, Ryuji teaches several weekly classes, including ATA’s Tataku and Bachi Club youth programs. Ryuji tours regularly to metropolitan and regional centres to present concerts in schools and is often invited to teach community taiko groups around Australia.

CAMERON BURGESS | 2024 ATA Teacher
Cameron began learning taiko in 2019 through the Australian Taiko Academy’s community classes. Later that year he successfully auditioned for the Taikoz Individual Development Program, where he studied taiko, voice, movement, shinobue and Onikenbai. The following year Cameron became a Taikoz Training Associate and in 2022, a Taikoz Associate Player.

Cameron has been involved in non-mainstage performances with Taikoz. He is also a passionate music educator, taking children’s classes at the Australian Taiko Academy since 2021 and teaching curricular Music at the early childhood, primary and secondary levels.

Prior to playing taiko, Cameron completed a Bachelor of Music Performance (Honours) at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, where he was awarded the Jules Silvester Prize. 

Cameron was a recipient of a BBM Music Award, which enabled him to study clarinet in the UK and Europe. As a clarinettist, Cameron has performed with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the Sydney Sinfonia, and as a soloist with the University of New South Wales Orchestra.

SILVANA IMPERATORI | 2024 Taikoz Artist | 2024 ATA Teacher
2024 Taikoz Artist Silvana Imperatori is a Norwegian musician and performer based in Sydney. Specialising in Japanese instruments, including taiko, koto and shinobue (bamboo flute), Silvana is also trained in Japanese vocal traditions and folk performance.

After completing a course in Drama and Theatre Communication at Oslo Metropolitan University, she left Norway to pursue studies within Japanese performing arts. In 2012, while working at Walt Disney World in Florida, USA she began playing taiko with the group Matsuriza. 

In 2014, Silvana moved to Kyoto, Japan, where she studied Japanese language at the Kyōto Zōkei Geijutsu University’s affiliated language school. During this time, she was also a member of the University’s taiko circle, training under the supervision of Wadaiko Shien.

In 2016, Silvana successfully auditioned to become a Kodo Apprentice, subsequently living at the Kodo Apprentice Centre on Sado Island. During the two-year course, she underwent rigorous training in taiko and various other performing arts. Silvana graduated in 2018 and in 2019, relocated to Sydney to undertake a degree in Performing Arts Industries, focusing on Japanese instruments in a globalising industry. 
 
Concurrently, Silvana continued to develop her performing skills by successfully auditioning for the Taikoz Individual Development Program and studying koto under master teacher and performer Satsuki Odamura.

After completing her degree in 2021, Silvana became a Taikoz Associate Player performing both on the mainstage and as part of the schools’ concert ensemble. In 2023, she became a Taikoz Artist performing on the mainstage and undertaking various other major projects and collaborations.
 
HARUKA KUNIMUNE | 2024 Taikoz Artist | 2024 ATA Teacher
Haruka is a 2024 Taikoz Artist. After completing the Taikoz Individual Development Program in 2019-20 she became a Taikoz Associate Artist and subsequently invited to perform on the mainstage as a Taikoz Artist in 2023.

Haruka was born and raised in Chiba, Japan. Upon graduation from university in Tokyo, she moved to Nara prefecture and joined Nakoza, which has its origins in Osuwa style taiko founded by Oguchi Daihachi. In Nakoza, Haruka performed at various community festivals and events. Haruka moved to Sydney in 2018 to teach Japanese language and to play taiko. With the aim of gaining more skills in taiko, she successfully auditioned for the Taikoz Individual Development Program during which time she studied a wide range of taiko styles and techniques, as well as shinobue, singing and Onikenbai.

Since becoming a Taikoz Artist, Haruka has performed in multiple major concerts, collaborating not only with world-renowned taiko artists such as Shogo Yoshii, but also martial artists and actors. As well as performing and teaching at the Australian Taiko Academy, Haruka teaches taiko in schools, overseeing her students’ musical development and performances. 

In collaboration with Musica Viva Australia In Schools (MVAIS), Haruka and Ryuji were involved in the development of a new schools performance project called Water Rhythms. Water Rhythms begins touring Australia-wide in 2024.
 
SAMANTHA NEWTON | 2024 ATA Associate Teacher
Samantha was a 2023 Taikoz Artist and from 2024 will concentrate on her own projects, as well as teach regularly at the ATA as a substitute teacher.

Sam has been studying taiko since 2003. She completed the Taikoz Individual Development Program in 2008 (IDP I) and 2016 (IDP II). Sam was a founding member of the ATA’s community group Taiko no Wa and from 2006 to 2019 was heavily involved in coordinating its activities. In 2011, Sam travelled to Japan as a member of Taiko no Wa to take part in the Tokyo International Taiko Contest. The ensemble took out First Prize and was subsequently invited back to Tokyo a year later to perform in a concert featuring previous contest winners. 

Sam has been a member of the Sydney Onikenbai Club since it started in 2011 and has made several trips to Japan to study with Iwasaki Onikenbai Hozonkai, focusing on the shinobue (bamboo flute) that accompanies this ancient Buddhist festival dance form. A highlight of this journey was playing in the Onikenbai Geino Matsuri in Iwasaki and Kitakami.

Sam has performed with Taikoz on numerous occasions and is a regular member of the schools’ concert ensemble. She has been an ATA Teacher since 2011, leading various community classes and workshops. 

Outside of taiko, Sam works in garden design, plant ecology outreach and nature conservation. Her other hobbies include bushwalking, cooking and reading.
 
NERIDA (NED) WU | 2024 Taikoz Artist
Nerida (Ned) is a 2024 Taikoz Artist. After successfully auditioning for the Taikoz Individual Development Program in 2017, Ned became a Taikoz Associate Player, performing in mainstage performances and other Taikoz projects. She continued to expand her performance activities as a Taikoz Artist in 2023 with recent highlights including appearances at WOMADelaide. 

Ned is also an in-demand drum-set player. She is a member of various independent bands in genres ranging from folk to punk, and has toured Europe, the UK, USA, Canada, Japan, and Australia.

Since 2013, Ned has been a member of all-female percussion group Drummer Queens, directed by Joe Accaria and Nigel Turner-Carrol. In 2021, Drummer Queens toured the east coast of Australia in mainstage theatres. In 2015, Ned was a cast member of Dein Perry’s Tap Dogs, touring China and Macau, and in 2022, was a judge for Hit Like A Girl, an international contest for female drummers.

Ned also performs in Taikoz’s schools’ concert and workshop ensemble, and as part of the ATA team, leads taiko workshops.
 





 
 


‘You don’t just listen to this music. You see it and feel it, too. Totally compelling.’
Sydney Morning Herald

‘It’s the seeing that turns an exhilarating aural experience into something close to dance theatre with a spiritual bent. The virtuosity is thrilling but even better is the sense of pure joy the players transmit.’
Weekend Australian

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