2021 Performing Artists
Story Arts Journey
Yasu Ishida, Master of Fine Arts in Theatre for Young Audiences, is an award-winning magician, director and storyteller, and a graduate of the Chavez Studio of Magic (the world’s most prestigious magic school). He beautifully imbues the essence of traditional Japanese culture into his magic and storytelling. Yasu has enthralled audiences all over the United States, including performances at Disney Summer Stage Kids in New York and the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C., the world’s largest festival of Japanese culture outside of Japan. He was nominated for the 2013 RAW Honolulu Performing Artist of the Year, and the recipient for the 2015 Jim Rye Fellowship from the International Performing Arts for Youth and the 2014 Elizabeth and Don Doyle fellowship from the American Alliance for Theatre & Education. www.yasutheatre.com
Elaina Robbins, Ko Kaiden, Geena Kam - Performing A Wooden Spoon by Yoshinao Nakada,
Song Cycle for Soprano, Baritone, and Piano
Composed in 1948 for the Asahi Broadcasting Corporation
Elaina Robbins, soprano, performs throughout the Midwest and teaches at the Purdue School of Music. Elaina, who serves on the Japanese American Association of Indiana board and helps plan the Fort Wayne Cherry Blossom Festival, has a Master of Music from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Music from the University of Southern California. With appearances at Arbor Opera Theater, the Comic Opera Guild, and the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, among others, Elaina’s operatic roles include Le feu and Le rossignol in Ravel's L'enfant et les sortilèges, Erste Knabe in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, and Cleopatra in Victor Herbert’s The Wizard of the Nile. A frequent oratorio soloist, she has been featured in works such as Schubert’s Mass in C, Mozart’s Requiem, and Hayden’s Theresienmesse. She was the principal soprano at Heartland Sings, a vocal production company, from 2015-2018.
Ko Kaiden, Baritone - A native of Kamakura, Japan, Ko began his professional music career as an oboist, playing with symphony orchestras in Japan. Upon moving to New York City in 1990 he expanded his excellent woodwind skills by becoming a woodwind doubler in Broadway productions. Inspired by a Spanish art song recording of acclaimed tenor José Carreras and pianist Martin Katz, an experience he describes as life-changing, he began his vocal training with a goal of professional singing. He soon became a sought after performer and has been praised for his “musical sensitivity” and his “intelligence in the delivery of text” by Francisco Casanova, Metropolitan Opera. He has performed more than fifty operatic roles including Marszałek in “Halka” by Polish composer Moniuszko at the Kennedy Center, Washington DC, and in Warsaw and Rzeszów, Poland. He expanded his musical and linguistic range by collaborating with Pablo Zinger in performances of Spanish/Latin American art songs, zarzuela and tango music in New York City. He also performed this repertoire in Albacete, Spain. In addition, he sang at a historical Italian restaurant in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, learning Neapolitan diction and absorbing southern Italian culture. He visited the Italian island of Ischia in Naples to deepen his skills, and was invited to sing a Neapolitan song at “La Festa di San Vito in Forio d’Ischia.”
Geena Kam, Piano - Geena Kam is a classical pianist, pedagogue, and art administrator. She is a faculty member at Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, IN and holds a D.M.A degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Iowa. She has concertized throughout the Midwest, Asia, and Europe as a soloist and chamber musician, and her piano students have won regional and international piano competitions. A passionate educator, Geena has created and directed venues for young pianists as well as presented workshops and masterclasses for area teachers. As a team member of the Fischoff National Chamber Music Association, she coordinates the Chamber Music Academy for pre-college students. An outspoken proponent for community music and art, Geena is the founder and artistic director of the Buchanan Art Center Summer Concert Series in Buchanan, MI which provides free accessible public concerts while exploring the connections between visual and musical art.
Guitarist Dr. Daniel Quinn maintains an active performing and teaching career. Over the past thirty years Dan has performed as a soloist in many concerts around the United States, Canada, and Japan. Dan has been and instructor of guitar at colleges such as Indiana University, Huntington College, University of St. Francis, and the Tokyo College of Music. He currently teaches at St. Mary’s college and Holy Cross college in Notre Dame Indiana, and the University of Indianapolis. Dan completed his doctoral degree in Guitar Performance and Literature at the Indiana University school of Music in 2003.
Miyabi Koto Shamisen Ensemble is a New York based
group founded and headed by Ms. Masayo Ishigure.
Ms. Ishigure began playing the koto and shamisen at the
age of five, and later developed her skills with Tadao and
Kazue Sawai as a special research student.
The ensemble consists of members of the Sawai Koto Academy which is one of the most prominent schools for contemporary Koto and Shamisen music. The aim of the academy is to incorporate many influences from classical to jazz and thus change the perception of the koto solely as a traditional Japanese instrument into an instrument of universal expressiveness. Since its foundation in 1996, MIYABI’s repertoire has ranged from classical to contemporary koto and shamisen music. The ensemble especially dedicates themselves to playing Tadao Sawai’s compositions. They have played many concerts in the New York Metropolitan area, the eastern United States, Hawaii, and South America. In addition, they have been introducing Japanese culture through workshops and school performances.
Performing The Sea in Spring-
Akira Murotani (trumpet), Alexandra Tsilibes (violin), Wayne Peterson (piano)
Akira Murotani is Third Trumpet with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic.since 1998. He is a trumpet instructor at Goshen College. Murotani holds a BMusEd with a minor in mathematics from Luther College and a MM and DMA from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Murotani performed at the Spoleto Festival in Italy for two summers and has played with the Grand Rapids and South Bend Symphonies. He is a jazz enthusiast.
Wayne Peterson , Music Director of Trinity Episcopal Church since 1987, earned a BA Degree in Education (Concordia University—Chicago), a MM Degree with Distinction (Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University), and a DSM Degree (Graduate Theological Foundation), with additional study at the Royal School of Church Music (Croydon, England), McGill University (Montréal), Community of Jesus Master Schola, and private lessons in Paris. He is a former Associate Faculty Member at IPFW, is Past President of Indiana Organists United at Indiana University. Other memberships include the Association of Anglican Musicians, Pi Kappa Lambda honorary music society, Sigma Alpha Iota Friend of the Arts (honorary), Quest Club, and the American Guild of Organists (AGO), serving at local, state, and national levels. He is professionally certified by the AGO as a Choir Master and Fellow, the Guild’s highest distinction. Locally, he occasionally performs on organ or harpsichord with the Bach Collegium, Heartland Sings, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, and the Eleganza Baroque Ensemble.
Alexandra Tsilibes is a Section Violinist with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic since 2000. She earned a Bachelor of Music from the Eastman School of Music and a MM from Stony Brook University. Tsilibes has been a member of the Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, Flint and South Bend Symphonies and has participated in numerous festivals.
Fort Wayne Taiko was established in 1997, a program of the Fort Wayne Dance Collective, and is the only taiko group in Indiana and one of the few in the Midwest. Taiko is a Japanese musical tradition that means “big drum”. Taiko’s characteristic beat is achieved through choreographed arm movements as drummers “dance” their sticks from drum to drum.
Tea Ceremony, the ritualized preparation and presentation of matcha, a powdered green tea, is demonstrated by Shie Otani, who lived in Goshen, Indiana. Ms. Otani began practice of the tea ceremony in 1968, Ura Senke Style, in Kure City, Japan. She is currently Lecturer ran. This is the tea ceremony as recorded by Brian Scherschel live at the 2019 Fort Wayne Cherry Blossom Festival.
Wolfgang Young is a self-taught bamboo flutist and shamisen solo artist, as well as a Taiko instructor and performing member of Fort Wayne Taiko. Wolfgang has been playing bamboo flute (shakuhachi and shinobue/fue) for 4 years, and shamisen for almost 2. During quarantine, Wolfgang has been spending his time playing his instruments in the local parks, and recording projects with other local artists.