Aunt Lily's Flowerbook: 100 Years of Legalized Racism, CAAM FEST 2018, Herbst Theatre, San Francisco, CA
Japanese American Memories To Light, CAAMFest, San Francisco, CA, Live Music Composition For Film by Mark Izu
Aunt Lily's Flowerbook: 100 Years of Legalized Racism, Riverside Art Museum, CA
San Francisco International Arts Festival, San Francisco, CA
Millersville University, PA
Timpanogos Storytelling Conference & Festival, Lehi, Utah
Moments #2: HANABI: A MOMENT WITH MASARU KOGA, San Francisco, CA, intimate concert with Masaru Koga, John-Carlos Perea, and Jimmy Biala
CAAM Fest: Memories to Light, New People's Theater, Japantown, San Francisco, CA, home movies from the Central Valley
Moments #1: Yellow Ribbon, San Francisco, CA, an intimate dance & music performance
“Storytelling is the coming together of everybody, the first art,” Aoki says. “It’s what shamans did, connecting heaven and Earth, and weaving the collective unconscious into a community.”
Combining numerous elements of art into a communicative whole is Brenda Wong Aoki’s gift. Swirling Japanese Noh and Kyogen theater with contemporary stories, adding a healthy helping of commedia dell’arte, and finishing off with American Jazz and modern dance, Aoki serves a sumptuous banquet of storytelling to her audiences. Listening to Brenda is an indulgent and rewarding experience not to be missed.
Brenda and Mark celebrated by the city of San Francisco for 40 years of performance in the Bay Area
Uncle Gunjiro's Girlfriend, San Francisco International Arts Festival - Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture
Uncle Gunjiro's Girlfriend, Seattle, WA
Suite J-Town: The Art of Resilience, A Walk Through Time, site-specific performance in Japantown, San Francisco, CA
The Queen's Garden, performed by Sun Mee Chomet, The Southern Theatre, Minneapolis, MN
Mark Izu featured on PBS Nationwide during Asian Heritage Month
Circle of Excellence Award from National Storytelling Network (Brenda Wong Aoki)
Day of Remembrance Event, California History Center at De Anza College
World Premiere MU, Kanbar Hall JCCSF, McCallum Theatre - Palm Desert, Krannerts Center for the Arts, University Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The Music of MU, McCallum Theatre - Palm Desert, Kanbar Hall - JCCSF
Music for Stateless, Premiere - Los Angeles Asian American Film Festival
Premiere – The Most Beautiful Girl in the World, Conservatory of Music, San Francisco, written and performed by Brenda Wong Aoki with new music by Mark Izu
Music for the documentary Mrs. Judo, Premiere Kabuki Theater Center for Asian American Media (CAMM Fest)
Broadcast Premiere of Don’t Lose Your Soul, 30 years of Asian American Jazz, the music of Mark Izu & Anthony Brown
Artistic Retreat, CSSSA, CalArts – MU conceptualization (Brenda Wong Aoki, Mark Izu & Kimi Okada)
Performance and Exhibition Sanju: 30 Years of Asian American Jazz, featuring the music of Mark Izu & Anthony Brown
Premiere - When the Catfish Dances (San Francisco Zen Center) A tribute performance to commemorate the Tohoku Earth Quake and Tsunami of 2011
World premiere of Kabuki Cabaret – Soul of the Great Bell with next generation Sri Lankan artist, Nayomi Munaweera.
First Voice Honoree National Japanese Historical Society; for 30 years of music and story-making
Alonzo Kings Lines, Summer Performances – Mark Izu composes music for Way of Crows
Certificate of Honor from San Francisco Board of Supervisors for being outstanding artists of international merit; Consulate Residence San Francisco
Return of the Sun, commissioned by World Arts West and presented at the 2009 Ethnic Dance Festival and First Voice Home Season, Aoki writer/narrator, Izu musical director/composer
WAA Showcase, Seattle - Legend of Morning Glory
Bolinao 52 - Broadcast KQED TV, a documentary about the plight of the Vietnamese boat People. First Voice Musical Director, Mark Izu, awarded Northern California EMMY for best musical score.
Legend of Morning Glory; a Kabuki Taiko Oratorio commissioned in part by the US/JAPAN Friendship Commission at Friend Center for the Arts, JCCSF. Aoki writer/narrator, Izu musical director/composer
International Storytelling Festival, Jonesborough, TN
Uncle Gunjiro’s Girlfriend, JCCSF
US/Japan Commission Fellowship to Japan;
First Voice receives five month research fellowship to live in Tokyo and Mt. Fuji
Premiere, Song for Sensei, de Young; A multi-media, music driven tribute to Togi Suenobu.
First Voice with Gagaku Master Togi Suenobu (last U.S. performance prior to his death); San Francisco, Honolulu, Kauai Community College and University Hawaii, Hilo. Aoki writer/narrator, Izu musical director/composer
APAP Conference, Show case Mermaid Meat
SF Museum of Modern Art: First Voice creates podcast for Skin of a Nation, a 50 - year retrospective by Japanese Photographer Shomei Tomatsu
Music for David Tatsuno Memories (KTEH) broadcast premiere
Tales of Love and Passion; First Voice with U.S. National Heritage Master Seiichi Tanaka, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; Aoki writer/performer, Izu musical director/composer
Manzanar, sho solo for Kent Nagono & Berkeley symphony Orchestra, Berkeley - Zellerbach Hall, Royce Hall UCLA,
Ghost Festival 04, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theatre
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theatre - Fire in Heaven Premiere
National Museum of Women, Washington DC, Kuan Yin: Our Lady of Compassion
Kuan-yin: Our Lady of Compassion; Aoki writer/narrator, Izu musical director/composer; Commissioned by the Hong Kong Cultural Center and performed at the Esplanade in Singapore and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, directed by Tang Shu-Wing (recipient of Chevalier dans l’ordre des Arts et Lettres)
First Voice represents the U.S. at the Adelaide International Festival, Australia (Uncle Gunjiro’s Girlfriend); Aoki writer/narrator, Izu musical director/composer
Mark Izu retired as artistic director of the Asian American Jazz Festival
YBCA Artist Exchange Program - Hong Kong/San Francisco, First Voice collaborates with Hong Kong director Tang Shu-Wing
YBCA Wattis Artist for First Voice artistic directors Brenda Wong Aoki and Mark Izu
Premiere Uncle Gunjiro’s Girlfriend, monodrama with musician; directed by Diane Rodriguez Bay Area Playwrights festival, New American Playwrights Festival San Jose, CA, Solo Mio Festival at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco. Aoki writer/narrator, Izu musical director/composer
Premiere – Last Dance, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater, a tribute to the internees of the Japanese-American Internment Camps created by Mark Izu
Mermaid, monodrama with symphony with composer Mark Izu; conducted by Kent Nagano & the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, directed by Jael Weisman. Premiere, Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley;
Aoki writer/narrator, Izu musical director/composer
Brenda Wong Aoki receives Golden Ring Award, Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco
Mark and Brenda found First Voice
Hibakusha; premiere of oratorio with Kurak tribal singers and Japanese survivors of the atomic bomb on the 50th commemoration of the Hiroshima/Nagasaki bombings, Asian Art Museum, San Francisco
Composed by Mark Izu
Random Acts, solo, directed by Jael Weisman; premiered at La Peña, Berkeley, performed at the Feld Museum Chicago, National Storytelling Festival Jonesborough Tennessee, Dallas Theatre Center, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts; published in Extreme Exposure: Solo theater from the 20th Century, Theatre Communications Group, New York, NY 2000; Written & performed by Brenda Wong Aoki
Soul of the Great Bell, a multidisciplinary collaboration, with composer Mark Izu; performance with San Jose Taiko, written, directed and narrated by Brenda Wong Aoki, premiered San Jose Repertory Theater, San Jose, CA.
The Queen’s Garden, narrator with bass player and saxophone; directed by Jael Weisman, premiere in Solo Mio Festival, San Francisco, run at San Diego Repertory Theatre, Asia Society, New York City, East West Center, Honolulu, Smithsonian Institute Washington D.C., Highways, Santa Monica, CA. Aoki writer/performer, Izu musical director/composer
Tales of the Pacific Rim, storytelling for children; directed by Jael Weisman; premiered in Solo Mio Festival, San Francisco, CA; performed at Kennedy Center, Washington D.C.; Black Storytelling Festival, New York; and Vancouver Folk Festival; Written and performed by Brenda Wong Aoki
Obake: Some Japanese Ghosts, monodrama; directed by Jael Weisman premiered in Solo Mio Festival, San Francisco; run at San Diego Repertory Theatre; New Victory Theatre, New York; Whitney Museum of Art, New York; and Sapporo University, Japan. Written and performed by Brenda Wong Aoki
Tokyo Form and Spirit Exhibition: “Invocation,” a duet performance piece with composer/musician Mark Izu, Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA.
Seven Steps to Go with SoundSeen, a Zen cabaret quartet; directed by Jael Weisman, Life on the Water Theatre, San Francisco, Written and performed in collaboration with Sachiko Nakamura, Lewis Jordan, Brenda Wong Aoki and Mark Izu.
Type O with SoundSeen, a Zen cabaret quartet; directed by Jael Weisman, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco; Written and performed in collaboration with Sachiko Nakamura, Lewis Jordan, Brenda Wong Aoki and Mark Izu.
Whisperings performance duet with writer/dancer Brenda Wong Aoki and composer/bassist Mark Izu premiere at Long Beach Museum of Modern Art; Ohana Cultural Center, Oakland; and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco.
1979 – 1985
AJI (Aoki/Jordan Improvisations) African American poet and saxophone player and dancer Brenda Wong Aoki, Lewis Jordan Poetry and Dance, San Francisco Bay Area
1981 – 2001
Mark starts and becomes head curator of the Asian American Jazz Festival, the longest running jazz festival in SF at the Asian Art Museum.