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William Satake Blauvelt

County: King County



Fellowship Awards 2023
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William Satake Blauvelt is a musician/composer/sound artist and writer/director who creates work for film and stage. He was born in Tokyo and raised in Japan, New York, Germany and Indiana before moving to Seattle. His artistic journey began in the city’s Asian American community with King Street Media, the International Examiner, Seattle Asian American Film Festival and Seattle Kokon Taiko. He began playing wa-daiko (Japanese drums) in 1980, learning from leading artists from Japan and America. In 1994 Bill went solo, merging Taiko with experimental sound art on a wide range of collaborative projects. He is founder and artistic director of Aono Jikken Ensemble. Together they create original live scores for classic and contemporary silent films that combine traditional Asian, western and world instruments, found objects, toys, and specially created sound devices with spoken word and vocals. He has co-created a modernized, bilingual version of katsudo benshi – the almost lost art of Japanese silent film narration and voice acting. He received a BA in film and multi-cultural studies from The Evergreen State College.  

Bill has presented his work locally at the Seattle International Film Festival, SIFF Cinema, Northwest Film Forum, The Paramount, Bumbershoot, On The Boards, Northwest Asian American Theatre, Seattle Shakespeare Company, Seattle Art Museum, SAM Asian Art Museum; nationally at The Film Society of Lincoln Center, Performa New Visual Art Performance Biennial, Experimental Media & Performing Arts Center (EMPAC); internationally at festivals in Vancouver, Winnipeg and Ottawa Canada, Paris France, Wroclaw Poland, Sao Paulo Brazil and Lima Peru. 

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Aono Jikken Ensemble breathes new life into Japanese silent films
No silent treatment — Classic film receives soundtrack from local ensemble

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Image: Al Gilliom, 2022 GAP; PC: Ricky Osborne


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