Note: All sessions will be recorded and distributed to registrants within 1-2 days of each session. Recordings will be available for access for one month after the last session.

OTO GA TATSU | The Sound Lives

The sound is everything. The sound carries emotion. The sound carries hope. The sound carries a message. The sound must cut, the sound must ring, the sound must rumble, the sound must caress. 

Starting in the dead of winter and leading us through to the warmth of spring, a concert series by Kaoru Watanabe featuring solos, duos and trios with guests from all over: Chinese pipa virtuoso Wu Man; Kodo member Yuta Sumiyoshi from Sado Island, French Guyanese tap dancer and painter Tamangoh, and finally classical Japanese and Western percussion legend Kiyohiko Semba and violinist Kaori Takahashi from Tokyo.

– Kaoru Watanabe

Highlights of each concert:


2/6 (Sat) 3pm Pacific Time:  Kaoru Watanabe + Wu Man – pipa (San Diego)

Wu Man on the pipa is exquisite virtuosity, rooted in a deep mastery of centuries of Chinese music while residing both in the present and in the future, tirelessly pushing to innovate her art. We often improvise while performing together, savoring the shifting dissonant and harmonious sounds that emerge when two different musical cultures and personalities converge.

3/6 (Sat) 3pm Pacific Time:  Kaoru Watanabe + Yuta Sumiyoshi – taiko (Kodo/Japan)

Yuta Sumiyoshi represents the best of a new generation of Kodo – deep historical knowledge, flawless technique and execution and a voracious appetite for more experiences, challenges and viewpoints. Even though he joined Kodo long after I left, we communicate in a coded language that comes from touring with the ensemble. For this concert, we are creating three pieces with three different core concepts: 1) chance, 2) permutations of a single rhythm and 3) a hypnotic seventeen beat rhythmic cycle.

4/3 (Sat) 3pm Pacific Time:  Kaoru Watanabe + Tamangoh – tap dance (New York)

Whether painting, practicing martial arts, chatting about the 8th century Moorish invasion of Spain, playing the flute or tap dancing (which is what he is most known for), Tamangoh is simply Tamangoh: an uninterrupted flow of rhythm and creativity. We have been improvising together for fifteen years now, with the piece in this concert being the latest incarnation.

5/1 (Sat) 3pm Pacific Time:  Kaoru Watanabe + Kiyohiko Semba + Kaori Takahashi – percussion + violin (Japan)

Semba, the head of the Semba School of classical Japanese music as well as a legendary drumset player and percussionist in the vibrant Tokyo music world, has at his fingertips four hundred years worth of kabuki repertoire, Brazilian samba, progressive rock drum chops, often delivered within one song, accompanied by his razor-sharp wit, absolute professionalism and manic irreverence. The violinist Kaori is a classically trained, fearless and fiery improvisor.

Read more about the artists

Purchase Ticket 購入方法(日本語


音が立つ | The Sound Lives




– 渡辺 薫


2月 渡辺薫 + ウー・マン(ピパ 中国琵琶)



3月 渡辺薫 + 住吉佑太 (鼓童 太鼓)

住吉佑太氏は深い歴史的知識、優れた技術と演奏能力を持ち、また経験、挑戦、そして様々な視点から物事を理解としようとする情熱を持つ、鼓童の中でもベストメンバーの一人です。彼は私が鼓童を離れてからしばらく経った後に入ったメンバーですが、鼓童のDNAを持つ者同士が理解できる共通言語を持っています。このコンサートのために、 1)偶然 2)単一リズムからの変形、そして 3)呪術的な17拍子のサイクルという、3つの主要コンセプトから成る作品を創り上げています。  


4月 渡辺薫 + Tamangoh(タップダンス)

絵を描いている時、武道の稽古中、八世紀のムーア人のスペイン侵攻について話している時、フルートの演奏中、タップダンスを踊っている時 - 全ての瞬間においてタマンゴは、タマンゴであり続けます。それは、リズムと創造性の途切れない流れそのものです。我々は過去15年に渡り即興演奏活動を共にしてきましたが、今回のコンサートでは二人の最新の化身をお届けします。


5月 渡辺薫 + 仙波清彦 + 高橋香織(パーカッション+バイオリン)




Read more about the artists

Purchase Ticket 購入方法(日本語



Part 1: Saturday, February 6th | Kaoru + Wu Man (pipa)
Part 2: Saturday, March 6th | Kaoru + Yuta Sumiyoshi (taiko)
Part 3: Saturday, April 3rd | Kaoru + Tamangoh (tap dance)
Part 4: Saturday, May 1st | Kaoru + Kiyohiko Semba (percussion) & Kaori Takahashi (violin)


All concerts are one hour in duration starting at:

3:00 PM PT (Los Angeles)
4:00 PM MT (Denver)
5:00 PM CT (Chicago)
6:00 PM ET (Toronto/New York)
11:00 PM (London)
12:00 AM (Madrid +1 day)
8:00 AM (Tokyo +1 day)
10:00 AM (Sydney +1 day)



– Once concert series ticket is purchased, you will receive a Zoom link via e-mail 1 day before each session. Please make sure to check your spam folder if you do not see it in your inbox.

– Each live session is followed by an optional 30-minute hangout plus Q&A time with the artists. 

– Can’t attend at the scheduled times? All sessions will be recorded (artists view only) and distributed to all registrants within 1-2 days of each session. Recordings will be available for access for one month after the last session.




Composer and musician Kaoru Watanabe grounds his performance in traditional Japanese music while inhabiting a startling combination of musical worlds. He is renowned for his ability to collaborate with a diverse array of visionary artists: Yo-Yo Ma, Jason Moran, Spanish flamenco dancer Eva Yerbabuena, visual artists Simone Leigh and Alyson Shotz, calligrapher Koji Kakinuma, Japanese National Living Treasure Bando Tamasaburo, vocalists Alicia Hall Moran and Imani Uzuri, tap dancers Tamango and Kazunori Kumagai, Galician bagpiper Carlos Nuñez, So Percussion, Semba Kiyohiko, Reigakusha, Adam Rudolph, the Aizuri and Parker String Quartets and pipa virtuoso Wu Man. In 2018, Kaoru debuted as an orchestral soloist and composer with the Sydney Symphony at the Sydney Opera House. He is an advisor, composer and featured musician on the Oscar-nominated score of Wes Anderson’s film Isle of Dogs and was a guest artist on the Silkroad's Grammy Award-winning album Sing Me Home.

In 2000, Kaoru was the first non-Japanese to become both a performing member and artistic director of the renowned taiko performing arts ensemble Kodo. He was also the first to be invited to perform with and direct the group as a guest artist after leaving in 2006.

Find out more and follow Kaoru at: www.watanabekaoru.com.

Explore Kaoru’s kaDON Courses: www.kadon.com/instructor/kaoru-watanabe/

WU MAN (pipa - San Diego, CA, USA)

Recognized as the world’s premier pipa virtuoso, Wu Man is a soloist, educator and composer who gives her lute-like instrument—which has a history of more than 2,000 years in China—a new role in both traditional and contemporary music. Wu Man has premiered hundreds of new works for the pipa, while spearheading multimedia projects to both preserve and create global awareness of China’s ancient musical traditions. Projects she has initiated have resulted in the pipa finding a place in new solo and quartet works, concertos, opera, chamber, electronic, and jazz music as well as in theater productions, film, dance, and collaborations with visual artists. She has performed in recital and with major orchestras around the world, is a frequent collaborator with ensembles such as the Kronos Quartet and Shanghai Quartets and The Knights, and is a founding member of the Silkroad Ensemble. Wu Man has appeared in more than 40 recordings throughout her career, including seven Nominee Awards and the Silkroad Ensemble’s Grammy Award-winning recording Sing Me Home, featuring her own composition. She is also a featured artist in the 2015 documentary The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble.

Born in Hangzhou, China, Wu Man studied at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, where she became the first recipient of a master's degree in pipa.  At age 13, she was hailed as a child prodigy and became a nationally recognized role model for young pipa players. She subsequently received first prize in the First National Music Performance Competition, among other awards, and participated in many premieres of works by Chinese composers. She moved to the U.S. in 1990 and was awarded the Bunting Fellowship at Harvard University in 1998. Wu Man was the first Chinese traditional musician to receive the United States Artist Fellowship (2008) and the first artist from China to perform at the White House. In 2013, she was named Musical America’s Instrumentalist of the Year. Now she is a distinguished Professor at both the Zhejiang and the Xi'an Conservatory, China.

Follow Wu Man at: www.wumanpipa.org.

YUTA SUMIYOSHI (taiko - Kodo, Sado Island, Japan)

Born in Kagawa Prefecture, Japan, Yuta Sumiyoshi started playing taiko in his second year of elementary school. He entered the Kodo Apprentice Centre in 2010, and became a Kodo member in 2013. Despite being a newcomer, he was selected for important solo positions from his very first tour, including the coveted role of O-daiko. On stage, he is featured mainly on taiko drums and bamboo flutes, and is one of three drum soloists featured in the climax of “Kodo One Earth Tour: Chaos.” He has an objective approach to creating performances and freely shares his abundant ideas with his fellow performers. 

Known by colleagues as Kodo’s “sound maker,” Yuta specializes in nimble drumstick work and strives to enhance the musicality of Kodo performances. He has composed several pieces featured on the Kodo stage, including Yui and Kei Kei.

Yuta is also a part of KENTAtaku YUTAtaku, an improv unit formed by Kodo’s Kenta Nakagome and himself. Along with taiko, they play on all kinds of makeshift instruments from plastic tubes to pots and pans to create a one-of-a-kind sound experience. 

Follow Yuta Sumiyoshi at: https://www.kodo.or.jp/en/about_en/member/yutasumiyoshi

TAMANGOH (tap dance - New York, NY, USA)

Tamangoh is a master of improvisation, renowned as one of the most musical tap artists worldwide. He blends the new sounds of hip hop culture with funk/world music, and the traditional jazz idioms of bee bop and swing in a unique contemporary style.

A native of the Amazon, French Guiana, Tamangoh moved to Paris at age nine. In his late teens he began his formal education in art by entering the renowned Beaux Art de Paris. In his early twenties he started tap dancing at the American Center in Paris. He left Paris to join the 'university of the streets' and eventually made his home in New York City.

He is the founder, producer and artistic director of 'Urban Tap’ having performed around the world and also on Broadway. He has worked in collaboration with videographer ‘Naj’, Jean de Boysson. 

He has shared the stage with legendary musicians Bobby McFerrin, Omar Sosa, David Murray, William Cepeda, Elvin Jones, Barry Harris, Billy Higgins, Frank West,Min Tanaka, Great Gnawa Master from Morocco Mahmoud Guinea, Taiko Ensemble KODO, Kaoru Watanabe, Philip Decouflet, Giovanni Hidalgo, Master Drummer from Senegal Dou Dou Ndiay Rose, Great Tabla Master Zakir Hussein; as well was legendary dancer Mikail Baryshnikov, and the Great tap dancers including Jimmy Slyde, Chuck Green, Buster Brown, Lon Chaney, Gregory Hines, The Nicholas Brothers, Ralph Brown, George Hillman, plus Harriet Brown and Tina Pratt. He has performed in music videos with Madonna and Tony Bennett. 

Also a painter, Tamangoh’s artwork has been shown in galleries in the United States and he is currently preparing for an art exhibition in France. For more information about his artwork visit: www.cayseele.com

KIYOHIKO SEMBA (percussion - Tokyo, Japan)

Born into the family of the Semba School of traditional Japanese music (hogaku hayashi), Kiyohiko Semba studied Japanese instruments (kotsuzumi and taiko) under his father ‘s tutelage starting at age 3. He entered the kabuki world at age 10 and performed on numerous stages as a young child. While attending the Tokyo University of the Arts, he was a recipient of the coveted Ataka Award given to highly skilled traditional Japanese music performers.

In 1978 Semba joined the renowned fusion band The Square, and in 1982 founded Haniwa All Stars - a sprawling and innovative orchestra band fusing various musical genres and forms. In 1998, he toured all over Asia as a leader of Asian Fantasy Orchestra consisting of over 30 musicians and performers from Japan and Asian countries. In 2000 he formed Semba Sonic Spear and explored deeper into music without boundaries of genre.

In recent years, master percussionist Semba has been leading Karugamozu consisting of 23 percussionists and a variety of other musicians, as well as collaborating internationally and producing music.

Web site: http://www.3-dcorp.com/SEMBA/

KAORI TAKAHASHI (violin - Tokyo, Japan)

Having a concert violist as her father, Kaori Takahashi started learning violin at age 4 and studied under the renowned violinist Toshiya Eto. After graduating from Toho Gakuen School of Music she continued her studies and went on to the International Menuhin Music Academy in Switzerland on scholarship. In 1988 she entered Berlin University of the Arts and launched her performance career in Europe mainly in the field of modern music. Before graduating as the top student, she enjoyed success in recitals, concerts and festivals, and established a career as a concert soloist as well as a member of ensembles. In 1992, she was awarded the Kranichstein Music Prize (Kranichsteiner Musikpreis) during the Darmstadt Summer Course. She returned to Japan in 1993, and joined the Asian Fantasy Orchestra tour in Asia.

In recent years she has been collaborating both nationally and internationally with musicians in a variety of fields, including her husband Kiyohiko Semba, as electric and acoustic violinist as well as a violist.

Web site: http://semba.moo.jp/KAORI/