A leading American koto performer in the traditional
and jazz arenas, Reiko Obata studied under masters in the U.S. and
Japan, including the late composer and virtuoso Shinichi Yuize in Tokyo. Reiko
has a master's degree in music from San Diego State University and a
daishihan (grandmaster) degree from the Seiha
Conservatory of Japanese Music. She is founder and director of the Obata International Koto School, the first online distance learning koto school that offers instruction in Western notation.
Obata has been featured multiple times as a soloist with orchestras, including Orchestra Nova under the direction of Jung-Ho Pak for KPBS-TV. She has also performed with guitarists Jimmy Patton, Fred Benedetti, and Bob Boss; pianists David Ward-Steinman and Kamau Kenyatta; trumpeter Derek Cannon; Dallas Symphony principal flutist Demarre McGill and jazz flutist Louisa West; saxophonist/flutist John Rekevics; bassists Bill Andrews, Marshall Hawkins, Tony Muhammad, and Gunnar Biggs; drummers Russell Bizzett, Kevin Koch and Richard Sellers; percussionist Jonathan Szanto; San Diego Symphony cellist Mary Oda Szanto; harpists Melissa Morgan and Miguel Lopez; shakuhachi virtuoso John Neptune; and the late jazz saxophonist Hollis Gentry.
Obata has performed for television, radio, film, and live theatre. Film music includes performing koto and bass koto on "Monkey King 2" (2016) with film music producer Christopher Young (Spiderman, Killing Fields). Other film music includes Byron Barth's "The Art of Zen Shiatsu," Vivian Price's "Transnational Tradeswomen," and Tales Alive's "Chieko and the Pine." Obata has been a featured performer at harp and folk festivals. She is a former World Music and Music Appreciation college instructor.
Performance venues include the Venetian-Las Vegas, LINQ-Las Vegas, Warner Brothers Studio, California Center for the Arts, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego Convention Center, Petco Park, Sea World, Safari Park, San Diego Japanese Friendship Garden, Anthology, Barona, Viejas, Pechanga and Pala Casinos, La Costa Resort & Spa, Terranea Resort & Spa, and the Temecula and Idyllwild Jazz Festivals. Clients include KPBS, Microsoft, Mitsubishi, Toshiba, Japan Airlines, Union Bank, Wall Street Journal, SIGGRAPH, and artist Hisashi Otsuka. Events include Kyoto Prize Symposium, World Baseball Classic Semifinals/Finals, America's Cup, and National Flute Association Conventions.
Reiko has recorded multiple CDs of her own compositions and
arrangements, including "Serenity," "Sound of Kiri," and a self-titled
jazz koto CD with her band East West.
the first English language koto instructional DVD "You
Play Koto." Obata also produced and arranged the first
notation koto books "Japanese Melodies
for Koto," "Funeral & Memorial Songs for Koto,"
and "Christmas Songs for Koto." She also recently authored and
published the first English-language koto reference book, "The Koto
Player's Reference Manual."
To book koto performances or entertainment music for business, social and academic functions, weddings or other events, Contact Reiko.