photo by Natuki Ryosuke
Born in Ishikawa-ken. Studied koto under maestros Tadao Sawai, Kazue Sawai and Takeshi Nakai.
Studied music theory and traditional Japanese
instruments at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music.
Formed Koto group “Donguri”. Overseas performances as Sawai Ensemble are as follows: World tour: 11 cities in Indonesia, Thailand, Germany, Italy and England (1987); participated in Bang On A Can festival (1984 -1988);
concerts in Vienna, Moscow and Ukraine (1991); Moers Jazz Festival, Germany (1992); Latvia and Estonia (1992); Paris (1993).
Received Ministry of Cultural Affairs Award for Artistic Excellence for
“The World of Koto – The Sawai Tadao Koto Ensemble”. Toured in England with
the Sawai Koto Ensemble, including performances at the Glasgow Festival
(with the Scottish National Orchestra) and The Free Trade Hall (Manchester).
Performed Gagaku and Shomyo (Buddhism Chant), works by Maki Ishi and Toshi
Ichiyanagi using restored Japanese ancient instruments at the National
Performed at “La Mama” New York, including works by John Zorn. USA tour
with composer Toshi Ichiyanagi. Performed “Three Dances” by John Cage in
the presence of the composer. Recorded “Three Dances” for CD “Three
pieces”, by Kazue Sawai. Duo recital series with Yoko Nishi at Shinjuku
Formed koto quartet Koto Vortex, with Yoko Nishi, Michiyo Yagi and Miki
Maruta. Released album “Koto Vortex 1.” Released album “Yuh” with Fumio
With Koto Vortex, performed new works and arrangements by Moondog,
Yoshihide Otomo, Kevin Volans and Elliott Sharp.
Collaborated with Phil Minton (voice) at Tokyo Museum of Modern Art (MOMA).
Released album “Koto Vortex 2 – Arcadia.” Performed with avant-garde
bassist Joelle Leandre in Tokyo. Performed works by Lou Harrison, Harry
Partch, and Terry Riley at Setagaya Art Museum, Tokyo. Performed at the
Thailand Jazz Festival. Toured in Europe (Paris, Rome and Cologne) with
jazz pianist Fumio Itabashi. Started solo live series “Koto Monologue” and
performed in Rinsen Buddhism Temple, Nanao Arts Centre, the Japan
Foundation Centre and many others.
Toured in Thailand, supported by the Japan Foundation.
Performed at the “Japan Year in France” festival (Paris). Released CD “Five
Umui”, featuring works by Kazuo Yoshikawa. Supervised music for a
theatrical work by Johann Nestroy, produced by Ulrike Ottinger, for
Steirischer Herbst 99 (Austria). Recorded sound track of the film “Kujaku”,
directed by Christophe Doyle
Toured 7 cities in the USA as a member of Contemporary Sankyoku Ensemble,
supported by the Japan Foundation. With Koto Vortex, appeared on the
international compilation album “Miniatures 2 – a sequence of sixty tiny
masterpieces”, produced by Morgan Fisher.
Recorded sound track for Sony Playstation software “Oni-musha” which sold
over 10 million copies all over the world.2001
Recorded and compiled a CD containing playing methods for the koto.
Was part of Inoue Keizo’s (saxophone) album
Held the “Tao- Here Now” concert together with recitation by Kajima Shozo(poet)
Was a guest for Ondekoza’s live gig.
Formed the audio and visual collaboration unit (Futon Logic;Sizzle Ohtaka, etsuko Takezawa, Morgan Fisher, Bruce Ozborn, Kozo Chiba) 2003 May Together with manga artist Chiba Tetsuya, performed at the London ICA which was the first performance by any Japanese and it proved to be a success. (Tokyo Metropolitan, Japan Foundation, and Sasagawa foundation aid)
Jan. World primiere performance of Terashima RIkuya at the Japanese Cultural hall in Paris
Feb. Took part in the East and West Resonance event held at the Ishikawa prefectural concert hall
Jun. Lobby concert together with Minato Oohiro?? at Asahi Beer’s Kanagawa factory
Jul. Shamisen performance at the Touyou Music association and Acoustic association’s joint meeting
Aug. Planned and performed at a music workshop sponsored by Kanazawa City’s Art village,
known as the “Finding the Koto’s potential Series”Contact”
Part of “Nakamura Youichi’s Anthology” CD
Oct. Performed at the “Yoshihara Sumire concert” held at the Yokohama port memorial hall
and organised by the Yokohama Art Project
Nov. Together with Goto(biwa) and others, took part in the “Hougaku Shamisen” event sponsored
by the Kumamoto Theatre
As part of Tokyo Metropolitan’s Cultural Affairs, was in charge of the “Contemporary Hougaku
Research for Koto” workshop
Mar. Primiere performance of Mizoiri Keizou’s shamisen opera “Neko ni Koban” sponsored by
the Japan Contemporary Music Association (Nihonbashi Theatre)
Apr. Guest performer for Ondenkoza’s annual concert (Asakusa Public Hall)
May Part of Iseki Kazuhiro’s “Illusion” CD
Jul. Together with Ohtaka Shizzle, Yamaguchi Tomo, Isso Yukihiro,[ET’S UNIT] had a lobby concert at Asahi Beer’s Moji factory. Organized by the Asahi Art Festival 2004.
Aug. Was the Shamisen instructor for the “Japan Music Festival” at Kanazawa, organized by JASRAC. As part of the “Contact” Series, held an exhibition with Yoshimura Hiroshi’s work and
her own composition in the program
Oct Premiere of “Hougaku Opera” at the Kineya Seihou assembly. Organised by the Contemporary
Shamisen Music Association.
Took part in the opening event for the Kanazawa 21st century Art Museum (with Koto Vortex)
Dec. Made the dance collaboration event successful in Estonia (Tallinn City Music Association’s 10th Anniversary Project. At the Nishikawa Yuko(japanese MAI) Assembly, performed the premiere of Shimazu Takehito’s composition for the Korean zither entitled “Hoshi Meguri~ Was a lectured at Gifu University from that year
Jan. Premiere performance of Shitanda Motoyuki’s composition “Gathering Dreams”
at the Japanese Composers Assembly Concert (at Sumida Triphony Hall).
Jul. a Koto recital by Etsuko Takezawa at LSO St. Luke’s, London
Aug. Performed at Portugal’s FNN festival
Nov. As the Japan Traditional Music Research Society’s leader, toured and performed
in various places in Germany
Feb. Part of Mizoiri Keizo’s CD entitled “Neko Ni Kohan”, as Shamisen and vocal.
Aug. Released a cd entitled “Kawashima Tetsuro Meets Takezawa Etsuko Duo CD “Passion of Asia” by M&I Company
Oct. Invited for the first “Medetion Bennare” in Poznan, Poland. Performed at a City art gallery
Jan. Performance in Houston, New York. Organized by the Japan Cultural Exchange Foundation,
Apr. A member of KOTO VORTEX, Performance of Terry Riley’s composition “In C” at Carnegie Hall. Musician Produced by Kronos Quartet.
Dec. Premiere of Ohtsuka Akane’s New Composition concerto at the Ichikawa Symphony’s
60th anniversary concert Academic activities:
2003~2008 Teacher at Fukushima Prefecture’s “Children Arts School”
Academic activities: Current
Lecturer at Fukushima University, Kinjyo Gakuin University, Ariake Fine Arts Junior College
Holds a Master’s license from the Sawai Soukyokuin
Etsuko Takezawa lectured at Joetsu Education University(~2008)and Gifu University(2004)
and Senzoku Music Junior College in Uozu(1990).
History of Awards and Achievements:
1985 Passed the new comer audition for the “Anti Nuclear Japan Musicians”
1987 Part of the “Tadao Sawai Ensemble CD(Koto)(Columbia) which won the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affair’s Work of Art Award.
1998 Received the Saitama Prefecture Cultural Arts Festival Encouragement Award
Photo by Yamasing