‘Why we joined the union’
Volume 115, No. 1January, 2015
From Madison Square Garden to the Blue Note to Lower East Side bars to bathrooms in private houses (yes, I’ve literally played two gigs in bathrooms!), and from musicals to jazz to rock to R&B to reggae, I enjoy playing various styles of music in every kind of situation. Eleven years ago, I moved here from Tokyo. I didn’t have any friends or family, or even a place to stay. I learned English from scratch. I gave up many things in Japan to come to NYC, but I was still happy to play music in the best place to improve and stretch my skills, knowledge, and flexibility and push cultural boundaries. My goal is to thrive as a musician and to communicate with people through music in a deeper and higher level. I am primarily a drum set player but I often play the cajon and sometimes pots and pans. I like combining different elements to weave a unique sound that naturally fits a tune. You can find me doing it in live performances with Grace McLean and Them Apples. Recently I recorded a track with Shelley Nicole. I am currently recording an album with a jazz fusion group called the Burning Gums. I am also involved in a few musicals.
Hiroyuki “Matsu” Matsuura
I joined Local 802 because being a member of the union gives me a great feeling of solidarity. I hope to find some pit work on or off Broadway, or perhaps a tour. Being based out of NYC is the best situation for networking and audition opportunities, since there are more available here than other parts of the country. I recently played with the Queer Urban Orchestra, accompanying the Ballez Company in the East Village in their production of Stravinsky’s “The Firebird.” I have played with QUO on and off for several years but this gig was given to me directly by the artistic director. My principal instrument is tuba, and I am also proficient on tenor and bass trombone and euphonium.
I joined Local 802 after I won a subbing job for an Off Broadway show, but I had been thinking about the union ever since I first began playing in bars and restaurants and I’m happy to finally join. I’m honored to be a part of Local 802. I never knew there was an institution with so much respect for what I do. In some ways, I feel like my career has been legitimized and validated by this experience. My musical goal in NYC is to play in Broadway pits and see how far I can go, to the highest musical level possible. I would like to continue to meet people in the creative community, to share ideas and to grow wiser. My long-term goal is to teach full-time at the university level. I recently subbed on drum set and percussion at “Fun Home” at the Newman Theatre/Public Theatre for my teacher, the amazing percussionist John Hadfield. I also played percussion with the Pocket Opera Players in two world-premiere operas at Symphony Space, a gig I got from my good friend Mike Truesdell, another amazing percussionist. My principal instruments are percussion and drum set.
I joined Local 802 when I was hired to play the violin and act in the first national Broadway tour of the Tony-winning musical “Once,” directed by John Tiffany. I was the understudy for two roles, “Reza” and “Ex-Girlfriend.” I am both an actor as well as a musician, and it’s wonderful to work on a project that marries the two. As a musician, I play with a Brooklyn-based band Kotorino. I also work as a musician-composer for both theatre and film. My second feature film as a composer, “Why Do You Smell Like the Ocean?” – written and directed by Kevin Baggott – is currently in post-production. I am also working on my first solo album. My goal is to continue developing as both a musician and composer, to learn by collaborating with artists I admire. I began playing the violin when I was four, and have since picked up a few other instruments, including mandolin, cuatro, a bit of guitar, piano and drums, and have a lot of curiosity about instruments from other cultures, like the bazouki.
I joined Local 802 when I moved back to New York after spending nearly eight years as a professional musician in France. My musical goal in NYC is to accompany Broadway shows and operas, and to play the piano professionally as much as I possibly can, in duos, trios or small chamber music groups. I am a classically-trained musician who has experience in jazz and musical theatre, which I love to play. I love to do what I do best – and that is to just play, play, play. That is the goal. One of my recent gigs was accompanying for the Gateway Playhouse on Long Island.
Maren Anne Carlsen