Japanese American Community Events
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Shirley Kazuyo Muramoto, Brian Mitsuhiro Wong and Kazuou Bock will perform koto music with piano accompaniment by Kanoko Nishi on Saturday, Feb. 26, 5 p.m., at the Piedmont Piano Company, 1728 San Pablo Ave. in Oakland, Calif. The four accomplished musicians come together for a collaboration of koto and piano. They will perform a variety of popular western songs and contemporary Japanese pieces in ensemble and solo presentations.
Muramoto’s music has its roots in the Japanese American concentration camps of World War II. Her mother learned koto while incarcerated at the Topaz (Central Utah) and Tule Lake, Calif. camps.
Muramoto started learning at the age of 5 and continues to actively research traditional arts in the concentration camps.
The multicultural influences she experienced growing up in the Bay Area gave her the inspiration for creativity in koto playing as well as violin, voice and guitar. She was lauded with awards for exemplary skill from the Chikushi Koto School in Fukuoka, Japan and has a DaiShihan master’s degree from the same school for her dedication and teaching.
Muramoto draws major influence from artists such as Katsuko Chikushi, one of the few women composers of the koto and the blind koto master, Kimio Eto.
Wong began his koto career at the age of 4 and started playing the saxophone at 10. His mother and grandmother taught him the koto. Wong has a koshi degree with “Grand Prix” honors from Sawai Koto Conservatory in Tokyo and a bachelor’s of arts degree in music composition from California State University, East Bay.
Bock is also a graduate of Chikushi Koto School. She started learning the koto in Nomura School in Richmond, Calif. while she was in grade school. She has performed koto in a variety of styles and has composed original music.
Nishi is a performer currently based in the San Francisco, Bay Area. She is a primarily a classical pianist, but her interests include the avant-guard and traditional Japanese music. She also plays the koto.
A $15 donation is requested and tickets must be reserved. Info: (510) 547-8188.