NAOKO TAKADA (Los Angeles, California)

Naoko Takada has toured the world performing in such venues as Carnegie Hall, Conzart Haus in Berlin, Santory Hall in Tokyo, Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., and Lincoln Center in New York.

As a soloist, she won First Prizes in the Young Concert Artists International Audition, the Houston Ima Hogg National Young Artist Competition, the Sorantin Young Artists International Competition, IBLA Grand Prize at the International Marimba Awards in Italy, and the Japan International League of Artists Competition. She has performed concertos with multiple orchestras including the New York premiere of Kevin Puts Marimba Concerto with Maestro Leonard Slatkin, and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s in Lincoln Center. 

In 2004, Paul Newman invited her to perform at “Hole in Wall Gang Camp” where she shared a stage with Bruce Willis, Meryl Streep, and Danny Glover. In 2006, Takada won the prestigious S and R Washington Award, a prize that supports artists who contribute to cultural understanding between the United States and Japan. She has been on several media such as NPR, WGBH, WQXR, and RTHK (Hong Kong).

As a Yamaha clinician, she has taught hundreds of masterclasses in the United States, such as the Manhattan School of Music, Indiana University, and the Cleveland Institute, along with many educational outreach programs including Midori & Friends and the Kennedy Center Educational Outreach Program. Her solo album, “Marimba Meets the Classics,” features her arrangements, and her transcriptions and compositions have been published by Musicon Publications and Studio 4 Music. Her signature mallets are available through Encore Mallets, Inc. She currently teaches marimba at the University of Southern California.

DR. JOE MOORE III (Columbia, South Carolina)

Joe W. Moore III is a percussion performer, composer, and educator based in Columbia, SC. He currently serves as Assistant Professor of Percussion at Benedict College in Columbia, SC. Prior to this, he was Assistant Professor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg, TX.

Moore received the Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Central Florida, the Master of Music degree from the University of South Carolina, and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree with a minor in composition from Louisiana State University. His primary percussion teachers include Jeff Moore, Kirk Gay, Scott Herring, Jim Hall, Brett Dietz and Troy Davis. His composition teachers include Jay Batzner, Brett Dietz, and Dinos Constantinides.      

Active as a soloist and chamber musician, Moore performs as a member of the Omojo Percussion Duo, the Ninkasi Percussion Group, and Dead Resonance. His recent performances include the Sugarmill Music Festival, the UTRGV Marimba Festival, the National Conference on Percussion Pedagogy, and the 2018 Percussive Arts Society International Convention.    

As a composer, Moore’s works have been performed and heard across the United States at state music educator conferences, the National Conference on Percussion Pedagogy, and the Percussive Arts Society International Convention. C. Alan Publications, Alea Publishing and Recording, Percussion Music Europe, Strikeclef Publishing, and Innovative Percussion Publications publish Dr. Moore’s music. He also self-publishes many of his own manuscripts, which can be found in the store of his website.

Dr. Moore’s sponsors include Pearl Drums/Adams Musical Instruments, REMO Drumheads, SABIAN Cymbals, Black Swamp Percussion, and Vic Firth sticks and mallets.

DR. LYNN VARTAN (Cedar City, Utah)

Percussionist Lynn Vartan is an international performer and educator who is an advocate for diversity in music. Lynn has worked with Michael Colgrass, Vinny Golia, Arthur Jarvinen, Ursula Oppens, Joan Tower, Glen Velez, Xtet, James Newton, Chinary Ung, the Hilliard Ensemble, the Tambuco Percussion Ensemble and Grammy Award-winning Southwest Chamber Music. She is known for her dynamic athleticism and exciting energy on stage.

A devoted ensemble musician, Lynn has been actively involved with Southwest Chamber Music, the violin/percussion duo 61/4 which she founded with Shalini Vijayan, and a duo percussion group Exacta that she formed with Tambuco’s Miguel Gonzalez and Duo LinLynn with percussionist Wei Chen Lin. In addition to her role as Director of Percussion at Southern Utah University, Lynn is also the Director of the A.P.E.X. Events Series at Southern Utah University and hosts the weekly podcast The A.P.E.X. Hour.

Lynn has participated in cultural exchange projects such as the “World Percussion Group,” the “Ascending Dragon” project in Vietnam, “The Dream of Helen” in China and the “East Meets West” project designed around her as a soloist in Wuhan, China. As a recording artist, Lynn has appeared on ECM New Series, Albany Records, Cuneifroms Records, Bridge Records, New World Records, Lian Records, Yarlung Records and Cambria. She was three times Grammy nominated on the Cambria label with Southwest Chamber Music for “Best Classical Album of the Year” and “Best Small Ensemble with or without a conductor” for The Complete Chamber Music of Charlos Chavez, Volume III and for “Latin Classical Album of the Year” for William Kraft’s Complete Encounters Series. Lynn is endorsed by the Paiste Corporation, Remo Inc. and Marimba One.