Meet Our Performers
A master shakuhachi artist, Masayuki Koga is considered one of the finest players in the world. He studied Kinko School Shakuhachi with his father, Kiichi Koga, and Tozan School with master Kazan Sakai in Tokyo where he received his master-teacher degree with highest honors. In 1973, Masayuki Koga moved to the U.S. and performed from East coast to West coast while teaching shakuhachi music whenever and wherever he had the occasion. After several years of his own experience of performing and teaching, he felt that the U.S needed a music institute and in 1981 founded the Japanese Music Institute. Since then, JMI has fostered the appreciation and study of both traditional and contemporary musical practice with private instruction and ensemble training, comprising the core of JMI’s offerings. In addition, JMI presents concerts, produces recordings and publishes music texts.
Kenny Endo is at the vanguard of the taiko genre, continually paving new paths for this Japanese style of drumming. A performer, composer, and teacher of taiko with numerous awards and accolades, Kenny Endo is a consummate artist, blending Japanese taiko with rhythms influenced from around the world into original melodies and improvisation. Endo has the honor of being the first non-Japanese national to have received a natori (stage name and masters license) in hogaku hayashi (classical drumming). In the hogaku world, Endo is known as Mochizuki Tajiro. In the greater musical world, “Kenny Endo” has become synonymous with “taiko" and is arguably one of the most versatile musicians in the genre. If you would like more information on Kenny's many awards, accolades, distinctions, collaborations, recordings and performances, please click here.
Ranko Ogura is a female Japanese dancer, choreographer, artistic director, and teacher. She grew up in Japan and was strongly influenced by her parents' practices of Japanese arts during her childhood. She immigrated to the U.S. and learned modern and contemporary dance in NY. In such a greatly diverse city, Ranko realized her spirituality as a Japanese and became interested in Japanese traditional culture, tribe, and history. She moved her main base of activities to San Francisco where she mastered Butoh, a Japanese soul dance, during her pursuit of the essence of Japaneseness. She creates dance performances based on her deep understanding of the harmony between Butoh and nature.
Takeo Uetsuhara first played shakuhachi 53 years ago when he switched from the flute to the shakuhachi in order to succeed his father and grandfather. After his father taught him how to play the shakuhachi, he joined the Reibo-kai, which was run by the highly regarded Kinko-ryu shakuhachi performer Reibo Aoki (then Living National Treasure). In 2014, Takeo invited Masayuki Koga to return to Japan to hold a workshop. There, he received a lecture on breathing techniques which are essential for playing the shakuhachi. Since then, he has been greatly influenced by Shakuhachi practice, although imperfectly. He is currently studying the oldest shakuhachi music in Japan at Icchoken, a shakuhachi temple in Hakata. He has performed in many concerts throughout Japan.
Shakuhachi Flute, Saxophone & Piano
Wind-instrumentalist, composer, and educator Masaru Koga, or Mas, as many would call him, started his apprenticeship on the shakuhachi with Masayuki Koga over twenty years ago. He has performed, recorded and traveled with creative arts and jazz luminaries such as Fred Ho, Anthony Brown, Brenda Wong Aoki, Mark Izu, Akira Tana, Wayne Wallace, Kenny Endo, as well as his mentors Hafez Modirzadeh and royal hartigan. Through his international upbringing and his diverse musical journey, he has developed a unique and creative approach to music. His first recorded album as a leader entitled “Flower Fire” featuring his genre-bending original compositions was released in 2018 and is available on various online music platforms worldwide. For more information about Mas please click here.
Stuart Goodnick has studied shakuhachi with Masayuki Koga for over 25 years and has performed in a wide variety of venues in North America and Japan. His dedication to shakuhachi is inspired by Koga-sensei's unique ability to translate the ephemerality of true artistry into a precise language of body and spirit awareness. Koga-sensei's method invites both his students and audience members to connect with original sound, a quality of performing and listening that moves us beyond the ego's need to control and analyze.
Jordan Simmons is a longtime student of Sensei Masayuki Koga. For more than four decades he has worked to support the self determination of youth and young adults in his native Richmond, California at east bay center for the performing arts. Recognition for Mr. Simmons work has ranged from the Governor of California’s Award for “Outstanding Individual in the Arts” to an inaugural City of Richmond Human Rights Award, and the San Francisco Foundations’ Helen Crocker Russell Award made to an under-recognized, mature artist who has made a significant and ongoing contribution in the SF Bay Area.
Get Tickets and Join Our Celebration!
If you would like to join our celebration at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall on October 18, 2023 - 8PM, please follow the link below to our Carnegie Hall's performance website. We look forward to seeing you there!