Whether through Taiko drumming or composing music for chamber and staged concert performance and improvisation, Shih-wei (Willie) Wu is already proving himself to be a fresh face on Southern California’s performance arts scene. A creatively prolific Taiwanese-American composer, musician and choreographer, Wu was born in Taoyuan, Taiwan, grew up in the Los Angeles suburbs, and received his B.A. and M.F.A. degrees in music from UC Riverside and UC Irvine, respectively. He has studied under the direction of Byron Adams, Renée Coulombe and Tim Labor, focusing mainly on composition, Japanese taiko, and bassoon performance, and ethnomusicology. Additionally, he has worked extensively with composer, shakuhachi player and technologist Kojiro Umezaki of the Yo-Yo Ma Silk Road Ensemble at UC Irvine, and is an alumnus of that university’s student taiko club, Jodaiko.
Currently an active bassoonist and taiko performer throughout the Los Angeles and Inland Empire regions, Wu served in 2010-2011 as president of the Composer’s Collective at UC Riverside, where he premiered several pieces alongside fellow accomplished young composers. Since that time, he has recently premiered his “Zheng,” a self-developed language of Taiko concert theater, and seen numerous of his other pieces performed from Riverside to Hollywood. In addition, he has himself performed at a wide range of venues, including the Grenada Theatre, Hollywood Bowl and Carnegie Hall, while also appearing in the Cold Play/Rhianna music video “Princess of China,” and on stage with such noted musicians as the Yellow Magic Orchestra and Yoko Ono.
Wu also presently serves as the artistic director for the Taiko Center of Los Angeles, performs with the Satori Taiko and Taiko Mix groups, and has been described as a “deeply passionate drummer” by the Los Angeles Times Southern California Moment blog. His main interests lie in intercultural themes, fusion works, queer performance theories and stage works, and an overall integration of Western Classical music, choreography and Japanese classical music practices. He is especially inspired by postmodern connections of culture, technology, jazz and various Western and non-Western musical traditions.
When not actually composing or performing, Wu enjoys presenting on music history and theory as well as their nexus with cultural identity and gender issues.
A fresh face on the Southern California performance arts scene, Shih-wei (Willie) Wu is already proving himself a creative and prolific Taiwanese-American composer, musician and choreographer. His focuses include music composition, Japanese Taiko drumming and shakuhachi, and ethnomusicology. He holds a B.A. in music from UC Riverside and a M.F.A. in music from UC Irvine. Having appeared in many venues from Riverside to Hollywood to Carnegie Hall, his works and performances emphasize intercultural themes and a fusion of Western Classical music and choreography with postmodern culture, technology, jazz and various non-Western musical traditions.
Even Shorter Bio
A creative and prolific Taiwanese-American composer, musician and choreographer, Shih-wei (Willie) Wu is especially well known for his Japanese Taiko drumming and bassoon performance, choreography, and a wide range of music compositions and stage performances emphasizing intercultural themes. He holds a B.A. in music from UC Riverside and a M.F.A. in music from UC Irvine.