With the powerful rhythms of ensemble taiko music at its foundation, the On Ensemble (pronounced "ohn") combines the musical and dance talents of its members into unique and provocative performances. As a Los Angeles newspaper put it, "On Ensemble ... has made its mark in both the U.S. and Japan with its one-of-a-kind blend of taiko with non-traditional styles including jazz, rock, and electronic."
In their 60 years of combined taiko experience, the On Ensemble's young musicians have studied and performed with renowned masters of traditional and contemporary music and dance in the United States and Japan. With musical experience ranging from centuries-old Kabuki music, to jazz, rock and electronica, the On Ensemble has crafted a repertoire of ground-breaking taiko music. After a successful debut concert in northern Japan and its first western-US tour in the spring of 2002, the group received the Duane Ebata Memorial Fund Award at Los Angeles' Japan America Theater, "in support and recognition of emerging artists of promise who are furthering the development of Asian Pacific American performing arts."
The On Ensemble utilizes Japanese drums hand-made by Miyamoto Unosuke Shouten instrument maker to the Emperor of Japan. Current works feature these drums in conjunction with dance, bamboo flute, koto (Japanese zither), electric guitar, western drum kit, turntable and Tuvan overtone singing.