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bulletWilliam Satake Blauvelt
bulletSusie Kozawa
bulletYoko Murao
bulletMichael Shannon
bulletNaho Shioya
bulletEsther Sugai
bulletMarcia Takamura

William Satake Blauvelt was born in Tokyo, Japan and raised in the U.S. and Germany.  He studied filmmaking and taiko drumming and formerly worked as an arts critic and film curator.  He co-founded Seattle Kokon Taiko and the Seattle Asian American Film Festival and was a long-time member of the original Kingstreet Media.  His music, stage and film projects have received multiple awards from the Seattle and King County Arts Commissions and the Jack Straw Foundation, as well as the National Asian American Telecommunications Association and Japanese American Citizens League.  He founded AJE and serves as its Artistic Director.

Susie Kozawa, a sound artist, composer and performer, works mostly with soundscapes, sound collages and site specific installations, in which the gathering of sounds is a primary activity.  She explores different acoustic spaces using musical instruments she has made out of found objects, kelp, modified toys and human voice.  She has received awards from the Seattle Arts Commission, Artist Trust, Washington State Arts Commission, and the Ford Foundation.  Her work has been presented at Bumbershoot, the New Music Across America Festival, the Center on Contemporary Art, Empty Space Theatre, On the Boards, the Goodwill Arts Festival, Soundwork Northwest, Henry Art Gallery, Seattle Asian Art Museum, the downtown Seattle Art Museum, and at the Seattle Aquarium. She had been a Ford Foundation Collaborating Artist with the Northwest Asian American Theatre International Artist Collaboration Project.  She collaborated with the Crispin Spaeth Dance Group for the Composer/Choreographer IV Series produced by Gamelan Pacifica, and worked with Jack Straw Audio Center and graphic artist Jesse Minkert on an audience interactive multimedia project through a Seattle Arts Commission Diverse Works grant.  Susie is a founding member of AJE and collaborates frequently with artists from many disciplines.

Yoko Murao, choreographer and dancer, has explored the transient nature of the human condition by focusing on our mortality.  Yoko, a founding member of AJE, has collaborated with Amy Denio, Robert Davidson, Eyvind Kang, Karn Junkinsmith, Gamelan Pacifica, Seattle Kokon Taiko, Mew Chang Tsing, and Sokkyo.  She has presented her work at On The Boards' Northwest New Works Festival, Northwest Asian American Theatre's A-Fest, Composer-Choreographer, Center On Contemporary Art  (CoCA), Seattle Improvised Music Festival, Bumbershoot, and on tour in Italy and Poland. 

Michael Shannon is an active musician/performer since 1979 who has worked with groups such as Plateau Ensemble, Lethal Gospel, < < < (pronounced 'ku ku ku'), Aquarium Music, Joyo, Kahunas, Earnerve, Blue World, Appliances, Wish Radio, Broken Mask, Trigram and the Animist Orchestra, in addition to producing solo material. He has also composed for and worked as a sound designer for a number of Seattle-based modern dance choreographers. His solo work has been released as a series of cassettes by Joy Street Studios (his own label), and many cassette/CD compilations around the world, he is featured on the CDs, 'Meander' by Blue World, and 'Coincidentiae Mirabiles' with Jeph Jerman, Dave Knott, Susie Kozawa, and Miroslaw Rajkowski, as well as releasing a solo LP 'Laguz' on Anomalous Records and many others. His work involves improvised interactions of East Asian, North African, Middle Eastern, and western instruments, with tape, field recordings and electronics, that result in unique compositions of quiet, stately beauty.  Michael is a founding member of AJE.

Wish Radio
Broken Mask and Michael Shannon

Naho Shioya, originally from Japan, has performed in the U.S. and internationally.  She has an MFA from the University of Washington's Professional Actors Training Program.  She has performed with A Contemporary Theatre, House of Dames, Art Theatre of Puget Sound, Babayaga Productions, TALK Theatre, Open Door Theatre, and Book-It-All-Over.  She also works as a Japanese cultural advisor/language consultant and educator for younger audiences in the theatre community.  She has been performing with AJE since 1999.

Esther Sugai is a composer and flutist.  A founding AJE member, her compositions have been presented at CoCA, New Music Across America, Barge Music (New York City), Marzena and Soundwork Northwest, and she has performed at the Vancouver Jazz Festival, Seattle Festival of Improvised Music, Bumbershoot, Seattle Asian Art Museum, and throughout the U.S.  She has received grants from Meet The Composer and ASCAP and is a past Seattle Arts Commission Composer-in-Residence. 

Marcia Takamura is a second generation koto master who learned the art from her mother, Kuniko Takamura, Director of the Seattle Miyagi Kai Association, and through intensive studies with Kiyoko Miyagi, a living national treasure, in Tokyo.  Marcia is a certified teacher of the Miyagi School and has performed throughout the Northwest.  She is a regular performer with AJE and One World Taiko.

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Last updated: 12/28/06.