Toshi Makihara

2013 Pew Fellow

Toshi Makihara, 2013 Pew Fellow. Photo by Colin Lenton.

“When I am completely focused on my sound exploration, I lose my self-consciousness and begin to experience the process I call ‘becoming the sound.’”

Toshi Makihara’s (b. 1960) performance work effortlessly blends percussion with dance-like body movement. Through a rigorous, systematic, and practiced process of experimentation and repetition, Makihara seeks out sounds that he and others have never heard before, experimenting with touch, force, and speed, and always remaining aware of sound’s relationship to the body. He uses a variety of percussion instruments, as well as objects found in nature and everyday items, such as metal or machine parts. Makihara first studied percussion in his home country of Japan, learning the importance of breathing and posture. He has also studied Japanese butoh—a performance style that involves playful, grotesque imagery and slow, controlled motion—with dance master Kazuo Ohno and others. After years spent performing with dance and music ensembles, Makihara seeks to collaborate with Philadelphia-area choreographers and to go beyond binaries of movement and sound. “The intention is to transcend the traditional dancer-musician paradigm,” he says, “and to realize a truly integral sphere.”

Toshi Makihara, solo drum improvisation, January 16, 2013. Video courtesy of the artist.


Grants & Grantees

Established in 2004, Jazz Bridge is a hybrid nonprofit organization joining performance presentation with professional support services for regional jazz and blues artists.

Grants & Grantees

Babette Martino (1956–2011) was a visual artist and a 2000 Pew Fellow.

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Grants & Grantees

Opera Philadelphia presented the East Coast premiere of a new opera by composer Kevin Puts and librettist Mark Campbell, which went on to win the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for music.

Grants & Grantees

In celebration of their 140th season, Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia will reconstruct Felix Mendelssohn’s 1841 revision of Johann Sebastian Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, in an American premiere at Girard College Chapel.

Conductor Donald Nally and violinist Hanna Khoury on how tradition influences their approach to bringing together a classical Arab chamber ensemble and a Western choir in performance.

Grants & Grantees

Playwright and 2008 Pew Fellow J. Rufus Caleb strives to create theater experiences that are “as visceral as they are intellectual.”

Grants & Grantees

The company is dedicated to making critically important performance opportunities available to the current generation of opera and theatrical performers, designers, and directors.

Jazz artist Peter Brötzmann offers a solo performance inspired by the German Society’s Horner Library.

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Collaborators & Colleagues

Susan Bernofsky is an author and German-language literature translator. She directs the literary translation program in the School of the Arts MFA Writing Program at Columbia University.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Philip Bither has been the Walker Art Center’s senior curator of performing arts since 1997.