For this year’s AxS Festival, USC Pacific Asia Museum presents the premiere of EDGES, a new collaboration with media artist Carole KimMakoto Taiko led by master drummer and Grammy-award winner Koji Nakamura, multi-woodwind performer Vinny Golia, and video artist Jesse Gilbert.  This piece will seek hybrid ground and innovation through the meeting of different traditions in music and working with digital/new media technologies within a spatial projection installation.

“Taiko” refers to the art of Japanese drum ensembles (kumi-daiko), but the word literally means “fat drum.” Kim says, “I have long been inspired by the reciprocating dialogue between sound and image. I look to create a sensitive framework that fosters symbiosis in content, aesthetics, and expressive counterpoint.  As someone who has been invested in lending physicality to digital media, what I find compelling about taiko is its unrivaled physicality and spirited energy that goes into playing and how much the drums give back by resonating throughout your body. When thinking of which contemporary musician could work with the magnitude of taiko drumming, Vinny Golia immediately came to mind.  With a true arsenal of wind instruments at his fingertips, I also knew Vinny would find interesting ways to meld and weave between a percussive bed rooted in tradition yet ready to expand in scope.  Finally, it is always a pleasure to work with long-term collaborator Jesse Gilbert who has fine-tuned an audio-reactive interface he calls Spectral GL, “an interactive listening instrument that generates real-time visual landscapes in response to sound.”

EDGES will explore the shimmering line that emerges when performers highly trained in different disciplines turn their attention towards one another.

There will be limited seating so you are strongly encouraged to purchase tickets in advance!

Carole Kim is an interdisciplinary artist with a focus on video installation and video for live performance. She has experimented extensively with the moving image to physicalize the medium and render it malleable in real time. She continues to push the physical properties of video and projected light, exploring how they can create an optical and spatial phenomenology all their own. Kim seeks an integration of media where moving image, sound, dance and space are on equal planes engaging in a dynamic reciprocating and mutually supportive dialogue.

Visit Carole Kim’s website:

Koji Nakamura first underwent intensive taiko training with members of the renowned taiko group Ondekoza  before establishing the Shumei Taiko Ensemble in Japan. During his twenty years with Shumei Taiko, Koji traveled around the world to perform at various illustrious venues, most notably at the Parliament of World Religions in Capetown, South Africa and at the United Nations headquarters in New York for a gathering of religious and spiritual leaders from around the world.Koji eventually moved to Pasadena, CA with his family to spread and teach taiko in the United States. A master of O-daiko drumming, Koji continues to travel regularly to perform and teach taiko drummers in the US and abroad.

As a composer, Vinny Golia fuses the rich heritage of Jazz, contemporary classical and world music into his own unique compositions. Also a bandleader, Golia has presented his music to concert audiences in Europe, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and the United States in ensembles varying dramatically in size and instrumentation.  A multi-woodwind performer, Vinny’s recordings have been consistently picked by critics and readers of music journals for their yearly “ten best” lists. 

Visit Vinny Golia’s website:

Jesse Gilbert is an interdisciplinary artist working at the intersection of visual art, sound and software design, creating flexible frameworks that are activated in live performance, via network interaction, or in installation settings. Since 2010 he has primarily developed and performed with his software SpectralGL, an interactive listening instrument that generates real-time visual landscapes in response to sound. Building on his work as a composer, sound designer and lifelong technologist, Gilbert’s creative output probes the phenomenological nature of listening itself through a practice centering on improvisation and collaborative dialogue. He is currently the Chair of the Department of Media Technology at Woodbury University in Los Angeles, and has taught interactive software design at both CalArts and UC San Diego.

Visit Jesse Gilbert’s website: