Japanese Traditional Music Workshops: Koto with Shirley Kazuyo Muramoto

Guest Artist Youth & Adult Workshops

Program Description

An opportunity for participants to take a Japanese traditional music workshop at the Morikami Museum with a professional musician who has been trained and credentialed.  Instruments and sheet music will be provided for use in the workshops.

The program is aimed at beginners for youth (3rd-12th grade) & adults, those with no or little experience with the koto, a 13-string zither.

About Morikami’s Japanese Traditional Music Program

The Japanese Traditional Music Program was established in 2017 with initial and ongoing funding provided by Toshiba International Foundation. There are two components to the yearly summer program: a) summer youth camp: for elementary, middle, and high school students from Grades 3 through 12; b) summer weekend workshops.

The weekend workshops focus on beginner levels of the 13-string koto.

Overview of TIFO Grant Music Program Results:

2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023



  • Saturday & Sunday, June 29 & 30, 2024  (2-Day Workshop) 


  • 9:30 am – 12:30 pm (Youth Grade 6 – 12 and Adult Beginners)
  • 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm (Intermediate)


  • $200 per session (2-Day Workshop – 6 hours total)


  • Morikami Theater

Meet Your Instructor

Shirley Kazuyo Muramoto

Shirley Kazuyo Muramoto

Koto Instructor

Shirley Kazuyo Muramoto is a teacher and performer of the Japanese koto. Shirley received her Shihan with honors and DaiShihan master koto credentials from the Chikushi Kai in Fukuoka, Japan. She has expanded the repertoire of traditional koto music through her jazz fusion group, the Murasaki Ensemble, collaborating, arranging, and composing music for the koto in various styles and genres. Shirley has performed across the U.S., Canada, and Japan. She has collaborated with many artists and performed with amazing musicians and celebrity notables for over 60 years.  Shirley researched Japanese traditional performance arts in the World War II concentration camps, inspired by her mother’s experience learning to play the koto from koto teachers at Topaz and Tule Lake camps.  In 2012, her project was awarded a National Park Service, Japanese American Confinement Sites grant to turn her decades-long research into a documentary film.  Hidden Legacy: Japanese Traditional Performance Arts in the World War II Internment Camps premiered in 2014 and aired on public TV and PBS stations in the U.S. and universities here and in Japan. She has continued to perform and teach, and in 2021 curated a program of Japanese koto music with the San Francisco Symphony for their virtual CURRENTS series, conceived by the late Oakland Symphony conductor, Michael Moore.

Shirley taught koto classes at Montclair Elementary, Glenview Elementary, and Japanese school in Oakland, CA, as well as Westlake Middle School in Berkeley, CA, and UC Berkeley for Prof. Bonnie Wade’s ethnomusicology courses.



This project is sponsored in part by the State of Florida through the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.


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