Ellen Reiko Bepp
Collaborator for When Dreams Are Interrupted...
Ellen is a Bay Area native and began taiko training in 1974 under Grand Master Seiichi Tanaka of the San Francisco Taiko Dojo. As a member of the first generation of American taiko players, she continued on to become one of the original performing members of San Jose Taiko with whom she performed for eleven years. Since then she has co-founded and/or worked with various ensembles such as Tampat: A Sacred Place, Drumfire and currently Somei Yoshino Taiko Ensemble.
Ellen is one of the four original members of Somei Yoshino Taiko Ensemble (SYTE) and since its founding in 1999 the company has worked with many noted choreographers, composers, designers and musicians from all genres. SYTE has collaborated with such notables as jazz musician/ composer Marcus Shelby, master shakuhachi artist Masayuki Koga, Native American vocalist/percussionist Jane DeCuir, traditional Vietnamese instrumentalists Unity Nguyen and Van-Anh Vo and master taiko drummer Kenny Endo. In addition, they have collaborated with choreographers Robert Moses, Sara Shelton Mann, Robert Henry Johnson, Krissy Keefer, Sue-Li Jue and Alleluia Panis.
Besides drumming, Ellen is a visual artist with an extensive background in the textile arts field as well. She has exhibited her paintings, mixed media work and art installations in galleries and museums throughout the U.S. since 1980. Her background in clothing design and wearable art has inspired her original costumes and stage creations for the ensemble.