Satsuki is a Japanese koto virtuoso, who has pioneered the teaching and performing of this ancient Japanese instrument in Australia.
She was taught at the Sawai Koto School of Music in Tokyo by legendary koto players Tadao and Kazue Sawai, gaining her Shihan or master license in 1985. Three years later, she moved to Australia to establish the local branch of the Sawai School. Since that time, she has inspired a number of Australian composers to write for her instrument, including Peter Sculthorpe, Liza Lim, Carl Vine, Barry Connyngham and Mark Isaacs.
Satsuki has worked with a number of musicians from other genres, including jazz, classical and other styles. She is a member of the world music group Waratah with Sandy Evans and Tony Lewis, the contemporary music ensemble Elision and the jazz fusion group GEST 8. Her performances in 2012 include the Four Winds Festival in Bermagui and “Tears of St. Peter” with the Song Company in Sydney.
She established the Koto Music Institute in 2007 to broaden and promote the appeal of koto music in Australia. Her koto ensemble, the Satsuki Odamura Koto Ensemble, based in Sydney, has performed widely around Australia and overseas.
She has recorded three of her own albums in collaboration with Australian musicians and, in the process, has found new and exciting contexts for this traditional Japanese?instrument. Her most recent CD, Koto Dreaming, was released in 2006.
Hitomi Kurosawa was born in Osaka, Japan. She joined The Sawai International Koto School in 1998 and has since been studying under both Satsuki Odamura in Australia and Kazue Sawai in Japan.
Hitomi plays both ‘standard’ and bass koto. She has accumulated a wide range of performance experience in various formats, both as a soloist and member of the koto ensemble. She has also performed along with western instruments including the violin, saxophone and flute.
Hitomi has performed at the Asian Dance and Music Festival in Sydney Opera House and also toured internationally. She also conducts koto workshop at schools and universities.
Brandon was born in Malaysia, and started learning the koto when he attended Melbourne University. His teachers include Miyama Mcqueen Tokita, Satsuki Odamura in Sydney, and Kazue Sawai in Tokyo. He has acquired both contemporary and classical repertoire for the koto and also plays the bass koto. In 2011, he ranked second among all candidates in Japan for the Sawai Koto School’s instructor’s examination.
Brandon is now based in Melbourne, where he teaches and performs. He has recently graduated with a Masters of Music from Monash University.
Yukie was born in Gonma, Japan.
Yukie learned the piano from the age of 5 and the clarinet from the age of 10.
After 10 years of work in the fashion industry in Tokyo she moved to Sydney.
Yukie joined the Sawai International Koto School in 2010 and has been learing Koto under Satsuki Odomura and Kazue Sawai since then. She has performed at several events as a member of The Satsuki Odamura Koto Ensemble.
Yuka is a member of the Satsuki Odamura Koto Ensemble, performing with the group in a number of different venues and festivals around Australia, including the Inland Sea of Sound Festival in Bathurst (2011) and the TEDX Festival in Sydney (2102). She has also performed at the NSW Art Gallery, Sydney and other venues. Born in Chiba, Yuka has been learning the koto from the age of six. Her current teachers are Satsuki Odamura (Sydney) and Kazue Sawai (Tokyo).
Yuko is a member of the Satsuki Odamura Koto Ensemble since 2010, her first performance with the Ensemble was at the Conservatorium of Music with the ACO. Since then she has performed at the Inland Sea of Sound Festival in Bathurst (2011), NSW Art Gallery (2012), ABC Radio National (2012) and the TEDX Sydney (2012). She is originally from Tokyo, Japan, but she spent her childhood in Asuncion (Paraguay), she also lived in Singapore for 6 years and moved to Sydney in 2007. She has been playing the piano from a young age, although her passion is the Koto. Her mentors are Satsuki Odamura and Kazue Sawai.
She has been working closely with Satsuki as her second in command to promote the Koto Ensemble into the Australian Music Scene.
© Images by Mayu Kanamori