USC Kazan Taiko

USC Kazan Taiko

Los Angeles, California, United States

Founded Fall 2002

Basic Information

    University of Southern California

Background Information

Group's Mission and Motivation

Kazan Taiko's formation is a testament to the growing popularity of Taiko not only on the college level but for all of North America as well. Kazan Taiko's goal is to provide a place to learn more about the deep-rooted tradition of Taiko while allowing players to express themselves through music and movement with both traditional and modern influences of dance, music, and culture.

Structure and Philosophy
Describe the ensemble's organizational structure and philosophy, including leadership structure, membership policy, and instructional process.

Kazan is completely student-run, and co-directed by Bridge Mei and Julie Lu. Anyone may join, but we are currently comprised of USC students and alumni. We run a loosely structured practice once a week Tuesday nights, in a practice space lent to us by Senshin Buddhist Temple directly west of campus.

Group History
Describe how, where, and why the ensemble was founded. What was its inspiration?

With the extensive knowledge and guidance of Taiko Project artistic director (and USC Alumni) Bryan Yamami, founders Koichi Sanchez and Bridge Mei along with the enthusiastic and devoted founding group created USC's first Taiko group in the fall of 2002.

List of Founding Members

Founders: Bridge Mei, Koichi Sanchez

Members: Rob Abergas, Cory Hayashi, Justin Jue, Lydia Kung, Julie Lu, Tatsuzo Miakashi, Laura Morinaka

List of Current Members

Bridge Mei, Julie Lu, Rob Abergas, Andrea Cheung, Cory Hayashi, Reid Hedani, Jon Kam, Kuni Kondo, Keith Takishita, James Teng, Meilee Wong

Membership Composition
(i.e. ethnicity, generation, average years of experience, musical backgrounds, and motivation for playing)

We have a diverse membership, with members of Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, etc. ethnicity, and have members from over 10 years of experience to less than one year. Our members also come from diverse backgrounds, including hip hop, classical music and traditional taiko.

Description of the group's community - regional, ethnic, social, etc.

Kazan formed as a club within the auspices of the Southern California Nikkei Association, or USC Nikkei. We plan to put in paperwork to become an autonomous club in Fall 2005.

Biggest Changes
Describe two of the biggest changes that have characterized the group's development since its founding

Our formative years were spent building infrastructure, including four beautiful drums with the help of Victor Fukuhara, and Bryan Yamami and Yuta Kato, and securing practice space. For the future, we plan to increase our practice time, compose and learn new pieces, and create more of a rapport with our neighborhood to try and give back to the community that has supported us.

Performances, Recordings, Publications

Instructors, Teachers & Mentors
List the instructors, teachers and mentors who have worked with the ensemble.

Bryan Yamami, TaikoProject

Signature Works
Please include title, composer, date of composition, special reason(s) for composition, and what the work represents to the group.

Kazan Bayashi, by Bryan Yamami, Spring 2003.

Journeys, by Kuni Kondo, Spring 2005.


Julie Lu


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