TATSU AOKI with Julia A. Miller, Elbio Barilari and Jamie Kempkers
October 21 & 22

Tatsu Aokiis a leading advocate for the Asian American community, as well as a prolific composer and performer of traditional and experimental music forms, a filmmaker, and an educator. Born in Tokyo, 1957 into the Toyoakimoto artisan family, a traditional house for training and booking agents for geisha. Aoki was part of his family’s performance crew from the age of four. In the late 1960s, he shifted his energies from the traditional to American pop and experimental music. By the early 1970s, Aoki was active in Tokyo’s underground arts movement as a member of Gintenkai, an experimental ensemble that combined traditional music and new Western forms.

In 1977, Aoki left Tokyo and is now one of the most in-demand performers of bass, shamisen, and taiko, contributing more than ninety recording projects and touring internationally during the last twenty-five years. Aoki is Founder and Artistic Director of Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival, which observed its twentieth year in 2015. Named President of San Francisco–based Asian Improv Records (AIR) in 1999, he has managed or produced more than forty AIR albums, notably the Max Roach and Jon Jang collaboration The Beijing Trio, and several projects in the hip-hop and Asian Pacific American arts arenas, from film screenings to concert series.

Aoki was named one of 2001’s “Chicagoans of the year” by Chicago Tribune for his music for his cross cultural music and has performed with masters such as Roscoe Mitchell, Don Moye, pipa virtuoso Wu Man, and the late Chicago legend Fred Anderson. Aoki’s suite ROOTED: Origins of Now, a four-movement suite for big band, premiered in 2001 at Ping Tom Memorial Park, and was performed at the Chicago Jazz Festival and at MCA Stage as part of Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival. Additional notable releases include Basser Live (1999) and Basser Live II (2005), recorded live at MCA Stage; The MIYUMI Project (2000), Symphony of Two Cities(2002), and Posture of Reality with Wu Man (2003). The Asian American Institute awarded Aoki the Milestone Award in 2007 for his contribution to Chicago-area arts. In 2010, he received the Japan America Society of Chicago’s Cultural Achievement Award as well as a 3Arts Artist Award. He received the “Living in our Culture” award by the Japanese American Service Committee in 2014 and Jazz Heros’ Award by National Jazz Journalist Association in 2015.His latest project features his Miyumi Project ensemble that has been chosen as the official musical presenters for Yoko Ono’s “SKYLANDING” installation in Chicago’s Jackson Park.

Julia A. Miller, guitar, as a guitarist Julia performs with the electroacoustic trio Auris, with Gimlet Eye, and as a frequent soloist and collaborator in experimental and avant garde chamber music. Auris has been released on Artco Records (2009). Julia has a double MM in Classical Guitar Performance and Composition and a DMA in Composition from Northwestern University and currently serves as the Jazz, Folk and Contemporary Guitar Department Chair at the Music Institute of Chicago, where she is also a Suzuki Guitar specialist, and as an Adjunct Associate Professor of Sound and Liberal Arts at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. As a composer, Julia is active with the Chicago Composer’s Consortium and New Music Chicago and has received awards and fellowships from the Chicago Tribune Foundation, the New York Art Ensemble, the United Arts Council, the American Composer’s Forum and Meet the Composer.

Elbio Rodriguez Barilari is an Uruguayan composer living in Chicago. A composer, performer and writer, Elbio studied in Uruguay as well as Brazil and Germany before moving to the US in 1998. His music has been performed locally by the Grant Park Festival Orchestra, Ravinia Festival, Lyric Opera Orchestra, Chicago Sinfonietta, among others, nationally by the Colorado Symphony, Avalon String Quartet, Paquito D’Rivera, Orbert Davis and the Millennium Chamber Orchestra, among others, and internationally by the Orquestra Filarmónica de Montevideo and the Orquesta de la Radio y Televisión de España. Elbio’s opera The Tenth Muse premiered in 2010 at The Goodman Theatre. His residencies include the Latin American Music Center (Bloomington-Indiana), St. Francis University and the Ragdale Foundation. He is also a member of the electric experimental band Volcano Radar, where he plays electric guitar, electric viola and sax. He is Professor of Latin American Music at UIC and hosts the internationally syndicated radio program Fiesta! heard on WFMT 98.7 Sundays at 3pm.

Jamie Kempkers, cello, is based in Chicago and was a member of the Holland, Michigan band Marzuki. He is an ensemble member of Tatsu Aoki’s MIYUMI Project. Jamie contributed to Asthmatic Kitty’s re-press of Shannon Stephens’ self-titled debut album in 2000. This past summer he improvised with Shanghai-based Jun-Y Ciao at Heaven Gallery and with Jonathan Chen at 6018NORTH’s Water Music on the Beach.