poster for San Jose Taiko


The UAlbany Performing Arts Center, operating under the auspices of the College of Arts and Sciences, is pleased to present San Jose Taiko on Saturday, November 10, 2018 at 7:30pm.  Inspired by traditional Japanese drumming, San Jose Taiko expresses the beauty of the human spirit through the voice of the taiko, creating a vibrant, contemporary art form as they strive to connect people through cultural understanding, creative expression and rhythmic heartbeat.  Their performance at UAlbany is the final stop on an East coast tour which includes engagements at other educational institutions including Hamilton College and Ocean County College in New Jersey.

In 1973, San Jose Taiko was founded by young Asian Americans searching for an outlet to convey their experiences as third generation Japanese Americans. Looking to Japan for inspiration, they were drawn to the empowering sounds of the taiko - the Japanese drum - an instrument that embodies the spiritual essence and heartbeat of Japan.

Since then, the company has become a world-class ensemble, performing extensively both nationally and internationally, reaching more than 75,000 audience members each year. By studying with masters of other traditions and cultures, San Jose Taiko has broadened and embellished this historical art form into a distinct performance style that blends the traditional rhythms of Japanese drumming with the beat of world rhythms, including African, Brazilian, Filipino, Latin and Jazz.  "San Jose Taiko promises an appeal in its shows that reaches beyond any one nationality," claims the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

With a deep respect for cultural traditions, San Jose Taiko is dedicated to the advancement of taiko through innovative performances and outstanding educational programs. The company’s performers use the power and beauty of taiko to transcend cultural barriers and foster a greater understanding of Japanese American culture. San Jose Taiko’s strength lies in the accessibility of its music and artistry. Not tied to any one demographic, San Jose Taiko appeals to something on the basic human level. Through taiko, the company encourages cultural pluralism as a gateway to better communication, open-mindedness and connection.

Known for synchronized choreography and eclectic musicality, San Jose Taiko is acknowledged as one of the premier taiko ensembles in the world.  Their artistry, philosophy, and unique organizational structure have been recognized through many awards including both Advancement and Challenge Grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Chevron Award for Excellence. The California Arts Council, Arts Council Silicon Valley and the San Jose City Council have honored the company with commendations for community leadership in fostering cultural and ethnic diversity in the arts. SJT has also been recognized by the Japanese American Citizens League - San Jose Chapter, FedEx, and Project Cornerstone for outstanding work in the community. Most recently, in 2010, the Foreign Minister’s office of the Japanese government awarded San Jose Taiko the Foreign Minister’s Commendation of Achievement in recognition of the group’s (then) 38-year history and contributions to the taiko art form.  San Jose Taiko is only the second North American taiko group to receive that honor. In 2011, founding directors Roy and PJ Hirabayashi were recognized as National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellows.

The company’s engagement at UAlbany is made possible through the ArtsCONNECT program of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with support from the National Endowment for the Arts. Support is also provided by The Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership. Additional support from the UAlbany campus community is provided by the University at Albany Foundation, Office of Intercultural Student Engagement and University Auxiliary Services.

Advance tickets are $15 for the general public and $10 for students, seniors and UAlbany faculty-staff.  Tickets purchased on the day of the show are $20 for the general public and $15 for students, seniors and UAlbany faculty-staff.  For reservations and further information, contact the Box Office at (518) 442-3997.

There will also be a special morning matinee performance by San Jose Taikofor high school groups at 10am on Friday, November 9, 2018. Educators wishing to bring groups can contact the UAlbany Performing Arts Center office at (518) 442-5738 or