master of the koto

Photographs: Mayu Kanamori
Satsuki Odamura is a master of the Koto. She is the representative of the Sawai International Koto School and has pioneered the introduction of teaching and performing on this ancient Japanese instrument to students, teachers and audiences since her arrival in Australia.
Satsuki herself began learning the koto when she was ten. She joined the Sawai Koto School of Music in Tokyo when she was 18 and underwent the disciplines of being a live-in student with her teachers Tadao and Kazue Sawai. This has influenced her approach to performance and collaboration with the other artists.
Satsuki gained her Shihan or master license in 1985. The license enables the holder to teach the koto in Japan and now teaches the koto at the Sawai International Koto School in Sydney and at Monash University in Melbourne.
After gaining her professional license, in addition to her teaching, Satsuki became an active performer on the koto. She has given solo recitals, as a member of ensembles, accompanying players of other traditional instruments such as the shakuhachi as well as western instruments such as the flute.
Satsuki has performed with critical success in Japan, Europe, the USSR, the United States, South East Asia and of course Australia.
Foremost among Satsuki's achievements is working with musicians from other genres and styles, such as jazz & world music. She believes that artists with no previous knowledge of the koto are able to create exciting new directions and dimensions for the instrument.
Satsuki has inspired a number of Australian composers write for her instrument.:
Among these compositions are not only Carl Vine's concerto Gaijin, Ross Edwards in Koto dreaming, Peter Sculthorpes' Little Requiem which premiered with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Liza Lim's work for the contemporary music ensemble Elision and Barry Connyngham's Afterimages for koto and small orchestra; but also works by Michael Askill, Anthony Briggs, Tony Lewis, Linsey Pollak and Sarah de Jong
Satsuki's collaborations and works include performances with Australian, European and Asian artists worldwide. She is a member of
GEST8 contemporary music ensemble
Elision contemporary music ensemble
Shashaten with Butoh Dancer Yumi Umiumare
Sangam music-fusion group
Waratah Tony Lewis & Sandy Evans
PRRIM Tunji Beier & Adrian Sherriff
Satsuki has performed with
Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Adelaide Chamber Orchestra, Hunter Orchestra, The Australian Chamber Orchestra, Synergy Percussion, Riley Lee (shakuhachi), Jim Denley (flute), TAIKOZ, Linsey Pollak, Sandy Evans, Ashok Roy, Love Suicide play by John Romerill, Yumi Umiumare Butoh dancer, Mayu Kanamori's Chika, and Asako Izawa.
Festival performances include:
Melbourne International Arts Festival, Adelaide Festival, Sydney Festival, Perth International Arts Festival, Brisbane Festival, Bellingen Global Carnival, Womad, Berlin Festival, Hong Kong International Arts Festival, Bang on a Can Festival in New York, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Expo 2005 Aichi, Japan.
Tours include:
Australia, Germany, Norway, Austria, Italy, Russia, Indonesia, Thailand, England and Japan
1998 Recipient of two Sounds Australia Awards for:
Most Distinguished contribution to the presentation of Australian Music by an individual (National and State awards)
1998 Green Room Awards, Dance Original Score of Sound Mix
2000 The Australian Music Awards, World Music Instrumentalist of the Year
"Always a sense of spontaneous drama"
Peter McCallum

"Odamura's playing is spell-binding, now delicate, now almost violent"
24 hours magazine
Satsuki Odamura
Satsuki Odamura
Satsuki Odamura
Satsuki Odamura
Satsuki Odamura
Satsuki Odamura
Satsuki Odamura in Sydney with Tadao Sawai & Kazue Sawai
Satsuki Odamura
Satsuki Odamura & Kazue Sawai
Koto plectrums
Satsuki Odamura
Koto being played
Music for Koto
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