County: King County
Paul Kikuchi is a percussionist, composer, and instrument builder. He is involved in a wide variety of musical projects including percussion ensembles, Balkan brass and drum bands, toy instrument ensembles, and jazz quartets. His work as a musician and composer has been recognized and supported by Seattle’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, 4Culture, Chamber Music America, the American Composer’s Forum, the Jack Straw Foundation, and the Montalvo Center for the Arts, among others. He has been featured in publications such as the Earshot Jazz Magazine and the International Examiner. Paul holds a BFA from Bennington College and an MFA from California Institute of the Arts.
Paul received 2011 GAP Award funding to support a site-specific performance and recording project that will seek, explore, and musically utilize the acoustic spaces underfoot. The GAP will pay for artist fees as well as half the cost of two high quality condenser microphones and two speakers, both small enough to be lowered through the small spaces necessary for this project.
Paul received 2008 GAP Award funding to support the design and construction of a new series of percussion instruments: a series of four bass tone bars, tuned microtonally using just intonation, constructed with aluminum and wood keys, PVC resonators, and wood frames. Along with building these instruments, he will compose original work and record an album at Jack Straw Studios in Seattle. The album will feature these new instruments as well as prepared piano and electronics.
As part of his Fellowship’s Meet the Artist requirements, Paul presented his work and lectured to four music classes and a sculpture class at Toppenish High School and Eagle Alternative High School. After presenting his musical background and philosophies, he led improvisation sessions with students using his invented percussion instruments. Paul reported, “Working with the kids in Toppenish had particular relevance for me, as my great grandparents emigrated to Toppenish in the early 1900s from Japan, working as farmers on the land the remainder of their lives. My father and uncles attended Toppenish High School.”