Born and raised in Buffalo NY, Joe Small’s passion for Japanese taiko drumming began in 2002 at Swarthmore College through his engagement in contemporary dance and theatre. He received initial formal instruction at the Taiko Center of the Pacific under Master Kenny Endo, as well as through internships with Asian-American taiko groups San Jose Taiko (2004) and Portland Taiko (2005).
Following graduation from Swarthmore, Joe received a one-year Fulbright Fellowship to Japan to research taiko and matsuri at Osaka’s National Museum of Ethnology before entering a two-year apprenticeship for the internationally-renowned professional group KODO on Sado Island. Upon conclusion in 2009, Joe returned to the USA and became a performer for taiko and shakuhachi artist Marco Lienhard’s NYC-based group Taikoza while commencing solo performance activities.
From the beginning of 2012 Joe engaged in another two-year period of study, performance, and touring in Japan and internationally as the sole non-Japanese disciple of pioneering taiko artist Eitetsu Hayashi and a member of his professional ensemble, Eitetsu Fu-Un no Kai. In 2015 Joe debuted his first original evening-length concert, Spall Fragments, in Los Angeles, and was a guest artist for the Sydney-based professional taiko group TaikOz.
Joe is a 2005 graduate of Swarthmore College (BA, Dance) and a 2015 graduate of UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance (MFA, Dance) where he explored the cross-disciplinary mixing of taiko with postmodern choreography. His collaborators include accomplished artists such as Chey Chankethya (Cambodian Dance), Laurel Jenkins (Contemporary Dance), Lenny Seidman (Indian Tabla), and Shoran (Japanese Calligraphy).
Based out of Los Angeles, Joe teaches taiko drumming, as well as creates and performs as a solo artist.
A music therapist hailing from Torrance, CA, Abi Sangco is on a mission to change lives using the power of music. In tailoring music to help others improve their well-being via evidence-based interventions, Abi draws inspiration from a variety of experiences as student, performer, educator, and facilitator, using various styles including classical, world, and contemporary.
Prior to her music therapy training, Sangco spent several years involved in the marching arts, primarily as a mallet percussionist for award-winning indoor drumlines. She has performed and competed extensively throughout southern California, regionally and internationally with world-class percussion ensembles POW Percussion (2012, 2013 seasons) and Pulse Percussion (2014). During her time with Pulse, the group won the gold in the Percussion Independent World division of Winter Guard International World Championships, culminating an undefeated season.
In addition to performing, Abi has also shared her experience and knowledge of mallet percussion with the marching arts community as a front ensemble instructor for the marching band and indoor drumline at Torrance High School, where she assisted in the production of programs for six consecutive competitive seasons.
Prior to her music therapy training, Sangco spent several years involved in the marching arts, primarily as a mallet percussionist for award-winning indoor drumlines. She has performed and competed extensively throughout southern California, regionally and internationally with world-class percussion ensembles POW Percussion (2012, 2013 seasons) and Pulse Percussion (2014).
During her time with Pulse, the group won the gold in the Percussion Independent World division of Winter Guard International World Championships, culminating an undefeated season. In addition to performing, Abi has also shared her experience and knowledge of mallet percussion with the marching arts community as a front ensemble instructor for the marching band and indoor drumline at Torrance High School, where she assisted in the production of programs for six consecutive competitive seasons.
Outside of the marching setting, Abi has performed in various chamber, percussion, and wind ensembles including the El Camino College Symphonic Band, ECC Chamber Ensembles, and Percussion Ensemble at California State University, Northridge. At CSUN, Abi began learning taiko, and performed as a member of Jishin Taiko, the student-led Taiko ensemble on campus. Aside from percussion, Abi also sings and plays piano, guitar, and ukulele, instruments commonly employed by music therapists.
Abi holds an Associate of Arts degree in Music from El Camino College, where she studied percussion privately under Joseph D. Mitchell. She went on to complete her Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Therapy at California State University, Northridge, where she trained with various client populations and settings to become a music therapist.
Kaz Mogi is a drummer and educator from Long Beach, California. With over 20 years of performance experience, Kaz is known for his musicality, precision and adaptability
Kaz received his Associate’s degree in percussion performance from Musician’s Institute in Hollywood, California, and a Bachelor of Music in instrumental music, with an emphasis in music education, from Cal State Long Beach’s Bob Cole Conservatory of Music.
From 2000-2012, Kaz served as Lakewood High School’s drum line instructor. While teaching students of different playing levels, he also mentored them in independent compositions that were then showcased at an end-of-the year concert.
In 2011, Kaz began learning Taiko and has since performed in Coldplay’s “Princess of China” music video, on the upcoming album by Grammy Award winning band Quetzal, and the soundtrack for the movie Battleship (2012). Kaz also recently performed at Los Angeles’ Staples Center with Yuujou Daiko in early 2015.
Along with Bataré, Kaz also performs with East LA Taiko, collaborates with taiko artist Kris Bergstrom, and conducts freelance work.
25-year-old Eru has been charming international audiences with her unparalleled artistry and grace since age 6 as a multi-faceted and award-winning soloist and principal with numerous orchestras. She is also a music director and collaborator for STEAM at Harvard University.
Eru is a member of the International High IQ Society and at age 16, she was accepted to the Juilliard School under the tutelage of the late David Soyer, widely considered to be the foremost master of cello pedagogy and a distinguished pupil of the legendary Pablo Casals. Her instructors have also included former Los Angeles Philharmonic Principal Cellist and Professor at University of Southern California, Andrew Shulman.
Eru’s young career path has been been filled with major performances and recording sessions with Hollywood and British Academy-Award winners. She has collaborated with major pop recording artists in both the US. and Japan, including a recent contribution as a soloist on Demi Lovato’s Grammy Award nominated album, “Confidence” and a recent appearance on CBS’s The Late Show with Stephen Colbert with Skrillex, Chance the Rapper and Hundred Waters. She has also performed on numerous video game soundtracks, including Sony’s popular franchise, Everquest. Most recently she was selected as soloist for a special gala event at Carnegie Hall presented by the United Nations.
Eru has performed with symphonies all over the world including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London, the Hawaii Symphony, Orchestra in Dusseldorf, and the New York City Ballet to name a few. She has also regularly performed as guest soloist at celebrated venues such as Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Wembley Arena, Mitsubishi Electric Halle, Neal S. Blaisdell Center, Adrienne Arsht Center and Shanghai Symphony Hall.
In Fall 2014, Eru performed as a guest soloist with the Shanghai Philharmonic in a concert in which she was invited as a Foreign Friendship Ambassador starring in the world premiere of Chinese composer Peng-Peng Gong’s historical Rejuvenation Symphony – the largest classical symphony in Chinese history. This was a 100 minute piece written for Eru by the Composer and Director of the Shanghai Philharmonic.
In 2015 Eru performed as star cellist at a gala concert with Nathan Pacheco and David Archuleta, at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami, Florida and joined a symphonic rock band, Critical Hit.
Eru has also dazzled audiences on television on a variety of broadcasts, in addition to being featured in a highly regarded television project as a young prodigy at age 12. In 2015, Eru made an appearance in a TV documentary filmed in Warsaw, Poland where she performed a cello sonata by Chopin as the featured performer.
Eru was invited to be a guest of honor two years running at the largest anime convention in the world, Anime Expo, at the Los Angeles Convention Center. (Alongside legendary rock band KISS).
Last year Eru was selected as an honored recipient of a life-time loan of an 1835 Italian cello sponsored by Violin Assets in Germany.
Born in Chalan Pago-Ordot, Guam, Patrick Cruz moved to the United States at the age of two years old. Throughout high school, Patrick was involved in various music programs, the most influential being the Pacific Crest Drum & Bugle Corps.
With trumpet in hand, Patrick spent years appreciating the melodic aspects of music before commencing his journey as a professional percussionist.
Continuing his high school musical training, Patrick set his sights on collegiate studies, where he became a performing member of Jishin Taiko, Cal State University, Northridge’s competition taiko group. As part of the Jishin Taiko ensemble, he performed not only at CSUN, but the surrounding community, serving to entertain and educate about traditional Japanese culture and arts.
A year after being accepted by Jishin Taiko, he became president of the student organization. When his time as student president came to an end, Patrick made multiple guest appearances with the renowned Los Angeles based taiko group, Makoto Taiko. By popular demand, Patrick continues to make guest appearances within various ensembles throughout the Los Angeles area.
As Patrick’s skills and knowledge in the taiko world quickly increased, he stood out among his peers. He auditioned for Bataré and was accepted as the youngest member of the performing arts group. In conjunction with performing his duties as a member of Bataré, Patrick works with young children in both the arts and physical education fields.
Officially named Coordinated Approach To Child Health (CATCH), Patrick worked with children, teaching six different physical education classes per week. From there, Patrick went on to teach boxing and dance class to children at various elementary schools, including Northridge Academy. Patrick’s reputation is not limited to teaching and training those with young ambition. He has a growing reputation of “the man with endless energy.” Patrick’s enthusiasm for music translates to an animated, heartfelt way of interacting with children. His joy and excitement for his craft and students blends into a mixing pot where a fun time is had by all.
When time allows, Patrick volunteers with groups that perform taiko showcases, where the art of taiko drumming is demonstrated to young children. Whether his duties are performing or teaching, Patrick delivers without fail.
David Riccobono is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree in Percussion Performance at the Thornton School of Music of the University of Southern California (USC). Leading up to his graduate studies, David received a Bachelor of Arts degree in music from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). David is now studying with Jim Babor and Joe Pereira, after formerly studying with Raynor Carroll and Theresa Dimond.
During David’s career in Los Angeles he has performed with an array of professional ensembles including the American Youth Symphony, Debut Orchestra, and Dream Orchestra as a section percussionist. He has also performed in various chamber ensembles including Eighth Blackbird and the Culver City Chamber Orchestra. In the marching arts, he has performed as a snare drummer in the Bruin Marching Band and the Pacific Crest Drum and Bugle Corps. David studied the art of traditional Japanese drumming as a member of Kyodo Taiko for four years. He freelances as a percussionist, timpanist, drum set player, and taiko drummer around the greater Los Angeles area.
Alon started playing guitar at the age of nine in Cincinnati, Ohio. He took lessons at the local music store from the guy who taught guitar in the back. He attended middle and high school at the School for Creative and Performing Arts in Cincinnati, where he studied Percussion and played in the school orchestra, wind ensemble, and percussion ensemble as well as continuing his guitar education with private instructors in the area.
At the age of 16 Alon began playing professionally in musical theater orchestras and pit bands around Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.
At 18 Alon left Ohio and began his college career at the Berklee College of Music in Boston where he majored in Guitar Performance. He spent four years with world-class instructors learning jazz and classical music theory as well as how to play in various genres including rock, pop, metal, blues, funk, and Middle-Eastern styles. He graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2011 and spent another year in Boston teaching, playing weddings, and performing with his Dio tribute band.
He relocated to LA in late 2012 and has continued teaching, recording and performing in various bands and productions around LA since then. He’s grateful and excited to be able to contribute to a production like Bataré, and to perform for you this evening.