miya masaoka


String Stories

String Stories members

This is a string trio composed of three women with strong musical voices and personalites. Their collective playing is inbued with physicality, musicality and a developed sense of aesthetics, at once shared and diverse. All are veterans with international careers, and each musician in this trio brings a unique and rich history of tradition and innovation to the music.

Member Bios

India Cooke

India Cooke, violinist, composer and educator, plays a wide range of music — from classical to jazz. India has performed in San Francisco Bay Area symphony and opera orchestras, chamber ensembles, and Broadway shows. As one of California's most respected contract artists, she has performed as featured soloist with JoeWilliams and the Louie Bellson Orchestra, and has played with Sarah Vaughn, Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra and many others. Her continuing jazz and improvisation experiences include performances with Pharoah Sanders, Sun Ra, Cecil Tayor, Pauline Oliveros and many others. As an educator, Ms. Cooke was a Artist-in-Residence at the San Francisco School of the Arts, and currently teaches at the San Francisco Community Music Center, Mills College, Santa Clara Children's Shelter and at her private studio. She has conducted lecture/performances in Bay Area public schools, colleges, and other educational programs.

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Joëlle Léandre

French double bass player, improviser and composer, Joëlle Léandre is one of the dominant figures of the new European music. Trained in orchestral as well as contemporary music, she has played with l'Itinéraire, 2e2m and Pierre Boulez's Ensemble Intercontemporain. Joëlle Léandre has also worked with Merce Cunningham and with John Cage, who has composed especially for her — as have Scelsi, Fénelon, Jolas, Clementi and about twenty composers. As well as working in contemporary music, Léandre has played with some of the great names in jazz and improvisation, such as Derek Bailey, Anthony Braxton, George Lewis, Evan Parker, Irene Schweier, Barre Phillips, Steve Lacy, Lauren Newton, Peter Kowald, Urs Leimgruber, Fred Frith, John Zorn. She has written extensively for dance and theater, and has staged a number of multidisciplinary performances. Her reputation is international, and her work as a composer ans a performer, both in solo recitals and a part of ensembles, has put her under the lights of the most prestigious stages of Europe, the Americas and Asia. Joëlle Léandre also has more than seventy-five recordings to her credit.

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Miya Masaoka

Miya Masaoka is internationally recognized as an innovator with a virtuosic, improvisatory approach to the koto. Since forming and directing the San Francisco Gagaku Society, Masaoka has been creating new ways of thinking about and performing on the Japanese koto. She has been developing koto and computer interfaces since 1991, and creates interactive pieces with koto, laptop, lasers and plants and insects. As a kotoist, Masaoka has worked and performed with important figures, such as Pharoah Sanders, John Butcher, Steve Coleman, Fred Frith, George Lewis, Ornette Coleman, Zakir Hussain, Peter Kowald, Christian Wolff, L. Subramaniam, Toshiko Akiyoshi who has written a piece especially for her. She has also performed with the Berkeley Symphony, the Torrance Symphony. As a composer, she has been commissioned by Bang on a Can, ROVA Saxophone Quartet, Lines Ballet, June Watanabe and others. She has formed and written for her own large ensemble, the Masaoka Orchestra, and performs in trios with Andrew Cyrille, Reggie Workman, Gerry Hemingway, Douglass Ewart, Larry Ochs and Joan Jeanreaud, Joelle Leandre, India Cooke.

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