Portland Taiko seeks Artistic Director

Portland Taiko is an Asian American taiko group with deep connections to the Japanese American and Asian American communities in Portland, Oregon. Since its formation in 1994, the group has shared the joy of taiko drumming at workshops, classes, schools, community events, arts festivals, and concert halls. Having celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2019, Portland Taiko is eager to embark on its next chapter of innovative artistry, collaborative work, community building, and education through a reinvestment in artistic leadership.

Portland Taiko is seeking applications for a full-time Artistic Director to teach quarterly taiko classes and workshops, co-lead two weekly rehearsals, perform and create new works for Portland Taiko, plan the theme and program for its annual home concert, assist in fundraising events and grant application preparation, maintain productive relationships with previous and new artistic collaborators, and fulfill administrative duties such as class registration, performance coordination, event planning, website updates, and social media posts. Additional work could include creating new educational curricula, developing a deaf and hard-of-hearing taiko program, leading school shows and residencies, forming youth and recreational community groups, and/or establishing a weeklong summer taiko camp.

The Artistic Director will be the “public face” of Portland Taiko and expected to represent the organization at its own programs, in Portland’s performing arts scene, and within the North American taiko community. The Artistic Director will be a full-time exempt employee with a salary range of $45,000 to $50,000 annually, based on experience. Benefits include a holiday package, paid vacation and sick leave, retirement plan, and a medical insurance subsidy.



  • Experience as a taiko performer and instructor.
  • Interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Ability to be culturally responsible within an equity, diversity, and inclusion framework.
  • Ability to work collaboratively and independently.
  • Familiarity with Japanese American and Asian American histories and cultures.
  • Proficiency with standard office technology (Microsoft Office, Google Suite) and social media.


  • Comfortable with medium weight lifting (i.e., moving taiko drums).
  • Available for evening and weekend assignments.
  • Personal vehicle available for work as needed.


Please submit a cover letter, cv/resume with 2-3 professional references, links to teaching and performing videos, and a short writing sample (e.g., grant application or workshop description) to info@portlandtaiko.org. All submissions must be made electronically and will be treated confidentially. Phone and in-person interviews will be conducted between February and May 2020 and the successful applicant will be notified in June 2020. The start date will be scheduled during the contract negotiation.


Portland Taiko blends the tradition of Japanese taiko drumming with a sense of Asian American identity, creativity, and empowerment. Since its formation in 1994 by Ann Ishimaru, Zachary Semke, and Japanese American community activists, Portland Taiko has established a distinguished reputation while carrying out its mission: “Through innovation and excellence in taiko, Portland Taiko affirms Asian American pride, inspires audiences, builds community, and educates about its heritage and culture.”

Portland Taiko performs throughout the Pacific Northwest and offers quarterly classes and workshops to the general public. The ensemble has commissioned and collaborated with numerous artists including Kenny Endo, Tiffany Tamaribuchi, P.J. and Roy Hirabayashi, Obo Addy, and composer Kenji Bunch.

Portland Taiko recently worked with the Oregon Symphony and Fear No Music, performed from Seattle to Eugene, and built a Japanese-inspired festival float for the Rose Festival Starlight Parade. To celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2019, Portland Taiko curated a museum exhibit on its history, produced the multicultural People of the Drum event, co-hosted the North American Taiko Conference, and presented a gala anniversary concert.

Portland Taiko is an equal opportunity employer. All decisions related to hiring, training, compensation, benefits, and promotion will be based on merit and qualifications. Portland Taiko will not discriminate against any individual in regards to hiring or any term or condition of employment because of an individual’s race, ethnicity, religion, sex, gender identification, national origin, ability, or age. For additional information, please visit our website at www.portlandtaiko.org.

CONTACT: info@portlandtaiko.org or (503) 288-2456