Kyosuke Suzuki is one of Japan’s leading Edo Sato Kagura (Festival & Shinto Shrine Music and Dance) musicians and dancers, and a prominent performer of the renowned Wakayama Shachu Performance Troupe of Tokyo. The Wakayama troupe is recognized by the Japanese Ministry of Culture to be an “important Intangible Cultural Property of Fine Arts.” He is considered to be the top lion dancer of the Edo style.
He tours internationally, performs regularly at the prestigious National Theater of Japan, and collaborates regularly with world-renowned taiko groups including Oedo Sukeroku Taiko (Tokyo), Taiko Shudan Amanojaku (Tokyo), and the Kenny Endo Taiko Ensemble.
A multi-talented musician, Suzuki is also proficient in western woodwinds, piano, shinobue (bamboo transverse flute), nohkan (bamboo flute from Noh theater), and various taiko and percussion instruments. He is a graduate of the Japanese National Music University and began studying Edo Sato Kagura during his early college days with Wakayama Taneo IV of the Wakayama Shachu Performance Troupe, recognized by the Japanese Ministry of Culture to be an “Important Intangible Cultural Property of Fine Arts,” He also teaches at the Kunitachi College of Music, Kaijou Junior and Senior High Schools, Sankei Gakuen Cultural Center, and offers private lessons at his “Kyo-no-Kai” school.
Halla Huhm taught both dance and drumming and went back and forth to Korea many times to learn with some of the foremost teachers in Korea.
Mary Jo started assisting at the studio in 1973-74 and took over as director after the death of Halla Huhm in 1994.
Kenny Endo is one of the leading artists in contemporary taiko and percussion. He is at the vanguard of this genre, continuing to pave new paths in Japanese drumming even after forty years as a career taiko artist. A performer, composer, and teacher, with numerous awards and accolades, Kenny is a consummate artist, blending taiko with rhythms influenced from around the world into original melodies and improvisation. He is arguably one of the most versatile musicians in the genre, crossing easily between classical Japanese music and his own neo-traditional, globally inspired variety.
Sean Shibata is a taiko performer, teacher, and researcher from Fukuoka, Japan. He began his studies in taiko when he was awarded the Presidential Scholars Research Project Award while pursuing a musicology degree at the Crane School of Music in 2011. While conducting fieldwork researching Matsuri Bayashi (festival music) in Japan, Sean founded Potsdam Okuma Taiko, a collegiate taiko ensemble based in Potsdam, NY.
Sean was awarded the TCP Fellowship in 2015 and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Ethnomusicology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. As part of his love for music from around the world, Sean has studied Southeast Indian carnatic music in Chennai, India, pungmul in Seoul, South Korea, as well as Caribbean drumming in St. Elizabeth, Jamaica. He actively participates in many ensembles at UH including Gagaku, Chinese Ensemble, and Javanese Gamelan. He is a Taiko Center of the Pacific Performing Ensemble trainee and performs with several taiko groups in Japan.