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The Beauty of 8

Taikoz

Year: 2021
Code: PA-Beauty

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Ian Cleworth and Riley Lee formed Taikoz in 1997. Over the past two decades the group has developed an 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 in Japan, Paris, Bangkok, Taiwan, Abu Dhabi, and the USA where the ensemble headlined the Taiko Nation concerts at the 2014 World Taiko Gathering in Los Angeles. Most recently Taikoz toured India with Chi Udaka, receiving much critical acclaim. 

The group regularly appears in the theatres of regional Australia, having undertaken six Australia-wide tours. Taikoz has composed over thirty original works for taiko including several in combination with instruments such as shakuhachi, koto, marimba, saxophone, cello, drum set and didgeridoo. Distinguished composers Lachlan Skipworth, Sandy Evans, Gerard Brophy, Andrea Molino, Michael Askill, David Pye, Graeme Koehne and Timothy Constable have also written works for the ensemble.

The title, The Beauty Of 8, refers to the mesmerising shapes and movements that are synonymous with the yokouchi (side-on) style of taiko playing. 

Guest artist, Kodo Distinguished Member Chieko Kojima’s mastery of the style – not to mention her own personal artistry – brings a level of sophistication and expressiveness that is not only beguiling, but also deeply spiritual. Trained as a dancer, Chieko seamlessly combines her love of movement, sound and rhythm into a performance that is difficult to categorise: Is it drumming? Is it dance?

The performance also features Riley Lee, shakuhachi Grand Master – whose relationship with Chieko extends back to the 1970s when they were both members of the legendary taiko ensemble, Ondekoza

Framed within a program of new music composed by Taikoz members Ian Cleworth and Anton Lock, with electronica and sound design by John Cleworth, The Beauty Of 8 sees Chieko and Riley reunited for a performance that matches their inner intensity, beauty of expression and synchronicity of sound and movement.

Ian Cleworth and Riley Lee formed Taikoz in 1997. Over the past two decades the group has developed an 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 in Japan, Paris, Bangkok, Taiwan, Abu Dhabi, and the USA where the ensemble headlined the Taiko Nation concerts at the 2014 World Taiko Gathering in Los Angeles. Most recently Taikoz toured India with Chi Udaka, receiving much critical acclaim. 

The group regularly appears in the theatres of regional Australia, having undertaken six Australia-wide tours. Taikoz has composed over thirty original works for taiko including several in combination with instruments such as shakuhachi, koto, marimba, saxophone, cello, drum set and didgeridoo. Distinguished composers Lachlan Skipworth, Sandy Evans, Gerard Brophy, Andrea Molino, Michael Askill, David Pye, Graeme Koehne and Timothy Constable have also written works for the ensemble.

Taikoz has collaborated with composers Sandy Evans, 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 Kaoru Watanabe, the Sydney Improvisers Composers Kollektiv Orchestra (SICKO), as well as distinguished choreographers Meryl Tankard and Anandavalli. In 2012, Taikoz collaborated with Kodo on a nation-wide 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. In February 2018, 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 newly commissioned work by Lachlan Skipworth called The Breath Of Thunder.

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. In 2016, Ian and Riley were both awarded the Japanese Foreign Minister’s Commendation for their contributions towards promoting friendship and goodwill between Australia and Japan.

"When Riley Lee enters for his turns with his bamboo flutes to play shakuhachi, one is aware that we are in the presence of a master, similarly, one is moved to believe the mastery charisma exuded with the presence and playing, by the leader of this extraordinary company, Ian Cleworth, particularly with his mesmerising and startlingly wondrous solo on drum."  Kevin Jackson, Kevin Jackson’s Theatre Diary

"The honour to hear and see such dedicated and miraculous playing is an astonishment… TAIKOZ is surely a jewel in the treasury of creative art in Australia... (Taikoz has) 'craftsmen' of apparent great natural musical intuition, passion and undoubted and rare practised skill that lift them into the stratosphere of superhuman artistry.”  Kevin Jackson, Kevin Jackson’s Theatre Diary

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