Wadaiko Artist Art Lee and Wadaiko Ensemble Tokara Image Collage TOP
Cast Bios

Art Lee
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Art Lee, artist and performer of the Japanese art form known as taiko (wadaiko), is first person ever to be awarded an unsponsored artist visa from the Japanese government to lead the life of a professional taiko performer, teacher and composer in Japan.

Art Lee first began the study of taiko in 1993 from the Sacramento Taiko Dan with whom he later became a featured performer and instructor.  He later joined one of the world's most famed taiko groups, Za Ondekoza, for their U.S. and Japan Tour, which culminated in a landmark concert at Carnegie Hall.

Art Lee became a solo performer after moving to Japan in 1998.  And on November 14th, 2001, Art exploded onto the world scene when he became the first person in the world ever to be granted an unsponsored artist visa from the Japanese government to teach, perform, and lead the life of a Professional Taiko Artist in Japan.

On October 15th, 2005, Art took another massive step in the world of Taiko once again when he became the first non-Japanese to win First Place in the Solo Odaiko section of the most prestigious and renowned taiko contest in the world - The Tokyo International Wadaiko Contest.

In addition to his teaching and solo performing schedule, he is the resident instructor of various local taiko groups in Japan including Koihime Daiko, Suiko and Nadeshiko.  He is also the Founder and Artistic Director of Wadaiko Ensemble TOKARA, whom he has lead to become one of Japan's most unique taiko groups, touring nationally and internationally two to four times a year.  Art was also a performing member of Osuwa Daiko - Ashura-Gumi, which was lead by Grandmaster Daihachi Oguchi, who was famed for creating taiko as a performance art nearly 60 years ago.

Utilizing his extensive training in both traditional and modern taiko techniques, Art Lee continues to perform all over the world, as well as teach in both English and Japanese to taiko enthusiasts and newcomers alike through a variety of programs including: the INADANI Taiko Drumming Course, the TOKARA Wadaiko Camp, and an annual apprenticeship program.

He has also composed music for various events within Japan and abroad, including the 2002 Beijing World Music Festival, the 120th Anniversary of Taipei City in 2004, and the 2005 and 2006 World Festival in Music and Dance. His concert tours, compositions, and workshops are requested repeatedly.  Highly acclaimed concert tours to date include: EXISTENSION, Fuyu no Kodama (Winter's Echo), Michikusa, Toward the Undiscovered Country, and more. Art Lee has performed four times in the world's most highly acclaimed and distinguished taiko concert, the Aoyama Kenbunroku...as a solo performer and with Grandmaster Daihachi Oguchi in 2004.

Among his many disciplines of the art, he has become most widely known for his Odaiko solos, and his unique style and solo while performing on the drum sideways, called Yokomen-uchi.
Information about Art Lee as a solo artist is at: www.tokara.net/ArtLee

Wadaiko TOKARA Office
831-1 Kega, Iida City, Nagano Prefecture Japan  TEL: (81)265-59-8768   Email: info@wadaiko-tokara.net