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Q&A with Miho Takekawa | 2005 Fellowship, Music

Artist Trust

Q: What kind of art do you make?
A: I am a percussionist who performs classical, contemporary, Japanese/Latin traditional music. My art form is to transform/arrange traditional Japanese/Latin songs into instrumental pieces. 
Q: How did you use your award?
A: I used the award to create a CD that contains my own compositions and both Japanese and Latin traditional songs (arranged by me) with several Seattle musicians on drums/percussion/bass, hold a CD release party at UW Ethnic Theater with hiring those musicians who played for my CD. I was able to do some research (purchasing books/CDs) of traditional artists from Japan and Colombia where my music and life partner, Diego is from. So, I can be accurate for the traditional forms as much as possible. 
Q: What was the impact of this award/Artist Trust on your art career/life?
A: Creating a CD and working with other musicians takes a lot of planning, organizing,   communicating… receiving this award didn’t teach me only about music but also being responsible and creative at the same time. Since the award, I have learned how to deal with difficult issues (scheduling, paying and feeding musicians…) and most importantly I have learned “how to make things happen”... it was certainly the turning point of my life. I was dreaming and I was planning for a long time, but I really didn’t know how to proceed from there. But with the award (that secured/promised-funding) I was able to move forward to seek advice where the best place to record, who would be the best musicians to record for my project and began listening to professionals who have made things happen in the past. They are still great friends of mine today. Since then I have been applying for many grants, which led me to perform in low-income schools and make impacts to ethnical diverse community in King County.  
Then, I have decided to pursue even higher degree, which is doctoral degree in percussion performance. Today I teach at Pacific Lutheran University, my duo “Miho & Diego Duo” has International tours almost every year, have invitations from Seattle Park & Recreations, Orcas Island Music Chamber Festival, Northwest Heritage Resources, NW Folklife Festival, International Children’s Festival, Microsoft to name a few. What I get to do today is because of this award that made me realize how important to seek advice from professionals and learn how to make things happen in a responsible and creative manner. 

Dr. Miho Takekawa was raised in Tokyo and currently resides in Seattle. She teaches at Pacific Lutheran University, where she heads the percussion studio and directs the school’s percussion and steel drum ensembles. During the 2010-2011 school year, she was an interim professor of percussion at the University of Washington School of Music, where she currently serves as the Japan Tour Coordinator and Activities Liaison.
Miho began piano at age three and took up percussion at thirteen, ultimately graduating from Tokyo’s prestigious Kunitachi School of Music. She earned both Master’s and Doctoral degrees in percussion performance from the University of Washington School of Music in Seattle, where she was awarded the coveted Boeing Scholarship, among other honors.
She is a sought-after performer in many styles of music, working with groups ranging from classical music (such as the Seattle Modern Orchestra) to Mexican banda music to steel band and African drumming. She performs with Diego Coy Musica Colombiana, Pan Duo, and many other groups, and is a founding member of the Miho & Diego Duo ( Significant awards include a Washington State Arts Commission Fellowship and grants from King County 4Culture. In addition to her own performance career, Miho directs the North Rainbow Steel Drum Group (Sapporo, Japan) and serves as an arranger for the Hirosaki University Steel Pan Group.
Inspired to share her passion for music with others, and especially younger musicians, Miho is a board member of Steel Magic Orchestra Northwest, a consultant for the Northwest Chapter of the Percussive Arts Society, an annual guest speaker for the University of Washington Percussion Lab, and a co-founder of Smile for Japan, a Seattle-based fundraising event for the victims of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. She was also a contributing performer to a fundraising CD to aid victims of the Oso (Washington) Mud Slide.
She has worked to foster cultural exchange between Japanese and American youth groups, leading or coordinating tours by the University of Washington Husky Marching Band and the University of Washington Wind Ensemble (Seattle), Musica Grato Himi (Toyama, Japan), the Tamana Girls High School Band (Japan), the Graham-Kapowsin High School Band (Washington State), the Left Coast Brass Quintet (Seattle), and Seattle percussionist Tom Collier.