Kuroda Kyoko

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Pianist Kuroda Kyoko was born in Tokyo and began playing piano as a young child, studying classical music until she was 17. While in college, she became interested in traditional Japanese theater and…
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Pianist Kuroda Kyoko was born in Tokyo and began playing piano as a young child, studying classical music until she was 17. While in college, she became interested in traditional Japanese theater and performed Noh music, a form that continued to influence her. In 1982, Kyoko began playing jazz, under the teaching of Aki Takase, with whom she studied for two years. At the end of this time, she started working professionally, and by 1986, had formed her own quartet, BAHR, which remained together for a year-and-a-half. From the fall of 1987 until 1990, Kyoko directed ORT, a musical workshop with participants such as turntablist Otomo Yoshihide, as well as a guest performance by Kazutoki Umezu at ORT's final concert (Kyoko participated in Umezu's Oshigoto project the following year). ORT had a live, self-titled 1988 cassette recording, as well as 1990 studio album, Brecht a la Machine. By the time ORT dissolved, Kyoko had begun performing solo, with Akira Sakata's band Mitochondria and with Sachi Hayasaka's band Stir Up, which has worked with musicians including Ned Rothenberg. Kyoko worked and recorded in these settings, and toured Germany twice with Stir Up, appearing at new music venues and festivals including the Moers New Jazz Festival. Still a member of Stir Up, Kyoko began leading her own trio in 1993. She also worked with Tetsu Saitoh, Tenko, and vocalist Koichi Makigami during the early '90s. The mid-'90s found her working again with Otomo Yoshihide on various projects, including improvised accompaniment to silent movies, and performing on a recording of Yoshihide and Australian experimental violinist Jon Rose. In 1995, she performed as musician and prompter in John Zorn's Cobra. Through the '90s, Kyoko was also involved in the Trunk Theater group, as both music director and musician.