TATSU AOKI | COMPOSER
Tatsu Aoki is a leading advocate for the Asian American community, as well as a prolific composer and performer of traditional and experimental music forms, a filmmaker, and an educator. He has produced more than 30 experimental films and is one of the most in-demand performers of bass, shamisen, and taiko, having contributed more than 90 recording projects and touring internationally during the last 25 years.
Aoki is Founder and Artistic Director of Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival, which observes its twentieth year in 2015. Named President of San Francisco–based Asian Improv Records (AIR) in 1999, he has managed or produced more than forty AIR albums, notably the Max Roach and Jon Jang collaboration The Beijing Trio, and several projects in the hip-hop and Asian Pacific American arts arenas, from film screenings to concert series.
In 2010, he received the Japan America Society of Chicago’s Cultural Achievement Award as well as a 3Arts Artist Award. He received the “Living in our Culture” award by the Japanese American Service Committee in 2014 and Jazz Heroes’ Award by National Jazz Journalist Association in 2015. In the summer of 2016, his Miyumi Project ensemble was chosen as the official musical presenters for the unveiling of Yoko Ono's first permanent installation in North America, "SKYLANDING", in Chicago's own Jackson Park.
The Miyumi Project is Tatsu Aoki’s laboratory of sound, where he explores the nexus of cultures: Asian and American; Japanese and African; past and present. The compositions provide a conceptual framework for each band member to interpret. Each successive grouping of Miyumi musicians over the past two decades has contributed to the ongoing evolution of the work.