Omomuki Art Grants are currently available to musicians and dancers for project-specific funding. Priority is give to new, original works.

2018 Recipients

Steve Sandberg
Steve Sandberg is a three-time Emmy-nominated composer whose songwriting for the Dora the Explorer series helped make the show a landmark in children’s television. He won a BMI composers award before attending Yale University, where he majored in musical theory and composition. His studies there with African art historian Robert Farris Thompson kindled his interest Afro-Caribbean music. He has played with, arranged and composed for some of the great salsa artists of the 1970s and 1980s, including Celia Cruz, Ruben Blades, and Daniel Ponce (featuring Tito Puente); appeared in Rio de Janeiro and São Paolo opening for the legendary João Gilberto; toured with David Byrne; and has conducted and arranged for Broadway and Off-Broadway shows. The Omomuki grant funds an October 2018 public concert in New York City of his original classical world music, in collaboration with jazz violinist Zach Brock.

Zach Brock
Described by Lincoln Center Presents as “One of the most virtuosic and emotive voices of contemporary jazz violin” and by Phil Markowitz as “smashing all the previous conceptions of jazz violin,” Zach Brock received a Grammy Award in 2017 for his work on Snarky Puppy’s album Culcha Vulcha, and was named the “Rising Star Violinist” of 2013 by Downbeat Magazine. He has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and at the Tudo é Jazz Festival in Brazil. He has been a featured soloist for two Sundance Festival feature film scores, and is currently an Artist In Residence at Temple University in Philadelphia.

Gabriel Lubell
Gabriel Lubell is a composer and scholar whose music has been performed throughout the U.S. and Europe by numerous soloists and ensembles, including the String Orchestra of Brooklyn, Intercontinental Ensemble, Tesla Quartet, and Barkada Quartet. Lubell earned a Doctorate in Music Composition from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. He has held teaching positions at Knox College, Indiana University, and Macalester College, and is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Music at Kenyon College. The Omomuki grant funds the professional studio recording of his original composition The Curious Journey of the Ryō-un Maru, inspired by events surrounding the 2011 Japan tsunami.

Junko Ichikawa
Pianist Junko Ichikawa has given recitals as a soloist and chamber musician and performed with orchestras throughout the U.S., Europe, and her native Japan, including as a soloist with the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra and solo recitals at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, New York’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York City’s Symphony Space, and by special invitational aboard CUNARD’s Queen Mary 2. She is a graduate of Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, New York University, and Mannes College of Music; earned her Doctor of Musical Arts at Rutgers University; and has studied for the past fifteen years with the legendary pianist and pedagogue Seymour Bernstein. The Omomuki grant funds a public solo performance in August 2018 at the Portland Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon.

Cirio Collective
Cirio Collective, founded by American Ballet Theatre principal and choreographer Jeffrey Cirio and Boston Ballet Principal Lia Cirio, was created in the summer of 2015 to explore and develop new choreography, with a special focus on bringing dancers and other artists together to create and collaborate. They have performed at Vineyard Arts Project, Cape Dance Festival, Hudson Valley Dance Festival, Dance at Socrates, and the Joyce Theater Ballet Festival, among others. Jeffrey Cirio is the recipient of the Jadin Wong Award of the Asian American Arts Alliance; and Joffrey Academy’s 6th Annual Winning Works Choreographic Competition, which recognizes the talents of emerging choreographers of diverse ethnic backgrounds. He has been commissioned to choreograph works for Boston Ballet, American Ballet Theater, and the Joyce Theater. The Omomuki grant funds in part Jeffrey Cirio’s original work Tornerai?, the world premier of which was performed at the 2018 Fire Island Dance Festival.

Princess Lockerooo
Pricess Lockerooo is a dancer, choreographer, and educator. Her performances and dance workshops throughout the world promote the joyous dance form “waacking,” which originated in the LGBT clubs of Los Angeles during the 1970s disco era. She has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Apollo Theater, and has appeared on numerous television shows. Her work as a teacher, performer, and judge has brought her to over 27 countries throughout Asia & Europe, most recently performing at Supernova in Taichung, Taiwan, and at Old School Night in Osaka, Japan. The Omomuki grant funds in part her Waack To the Future dance competition at the New York City LGBT Center, a portion of the proceeds from which were donated to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

Harold O’Neal
Harold O’Neal is a Tanzanian-American pianist and composer “whose style has been pegged by critics as straddling the line between jazz and classical music.” His work has been featured in the New York Times, Fortune Magazine, on NPR’s All Things Considered and Fresh Air, and on Public Radio International. The Omomuki grant funded in part the production and release of his second album of piano solos, Piano Cinema.

Yosuke Onuma & Joe Powers
Yosuke Onuma is one of Japan’s foremost jazz guitarists. His unique style is characterized by the exclusive use of finger-picking. Joe Powers is a harmonica virtuoso known throughout the world as a premier Tango artist, yet his musical interests also include Jazz-Fusion, Classical, Blues, Pop-Rock, Brazilian, Hip-Hop, and Latin.
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The Juilliard School
Founded in 1905, The Juilliard School is a world leader in performing arts education. Located at Lincoln Center in New York City, Juilliard offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in music, dance, and drama.

Nicholas King
Pianist Nicholas King has an Artist Diploma from Oberlin Conservatory of Music, a Performance Diploma from The Royal Conservatory of Music – Glenn Gould School, and is currently enrolled in the graduate program at The Juilliard School in New York City. He won the Royal Conservatory of Music Glenn Gould School Concerto Competition, and was awarded the U.S. Congressional Medal of Recognition. He has performed at Walt Disney Concert Hall (2010), the Grand Hall of the Arthus House in Torun, Poland with the Torun Symphony Orchestra (2010), and Carnegie Hall (2012); and appeared on the Rosie O’Donnell Show and National Public Radio. The Omomuki grant funds in part an April 2018 public salon concert and a June 2018 Carnegie Hall recital.

Xu Cheng
Mr. Cheng attended the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and made his orchestral debut with the Ashdod Symphony Orchestra in Perugia, Italy. He is currently a fourth-year student at The Juilliard School in New York City, and has been accepted into their Accelerated Bachelor of Music / Master of Music degree program. He is a participant in Juilliard’s Gluck Community Service Fellowship and Omomuki’s GMHC music program. The Omomuki grant funded a March 2018 public salon concert of the works of Ravel, Brahms, and Chopin.

Cool Culture
Cool Culture provides New York City children and their families access to arts and culture as a way to increase literacy and learning in early childhood, and to prepare children to succeed in school. Each year, Cool Culture partners with 90 museums and cultural institutions and 400 early childhood programs and public schools to provide over 55,000 low-income families with free, unlimited access to the city’s museums.

Living the Classical Life
Living the Classical Life is a US-based non-profit that produces an ongoing series of filmed interviews and intimate performances. Hosted by Zsolt Bognár, Living the Classical Life explores the world of classical music through conversations with its practitioners. The Omomuki grant contributed to the filming of interviews with French concert pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet and American soprano Nadine Sierra.

Asian Cultural Council
Asian Cultural Council supports transformative cultural exchange by awarding grants to artists, scholars, and arts and humanities professionals, as well as organizations and educational institutions from the United States and Asia for research, study, and creative work in the United States and Asia and within the countries of Asia.

Japan Society
Japan Society is a leading U.S. organization committed to deepening understanding between the United States and Japan in a global context. Now in its second century, the Society serves audiences across the United States and abroad through innovative programs in arts and culture, public policy, business, language and education.

Portland Japanese Garden
The Portland Japanese Garden maintains and administers an authentic, world-class Japanese garden in the city of Portland, Oregon, and offers educational, cultural, artistic, horticultural, environmental, and charitable activities. The Omomuki grant funds in part the Garden’s 2018 music program, which brings together musicians from Japan and the U.S.

2017 Recipients

Shawn Head & Eric Charnofsky

Shawn Head is shakuhachi flutist and composer whose goal is to popularize the shakuhachi in both traditional Japanese and modern Western forms. He is the youngest non-Japanese shakuhachi flutist to receive a Shihan (Master’s Certification). He earned his undergraduate degree at the Cleveland Institute of Music, and has studied with shakuhachi masters including Michael Chikuzen Gould and Kaoru Kakizakai. His compositions, which combine Japanese traditional music with a distinct western compositional style, have been commissioned by organizations including Performers and Artist for Nuclear Disarmament to mark the 70th anniversary of the Nagasaki and Hiroshima nuclear bombings.

Eric Charnofsky is a pianist and composer who holds degrees from California State University and The Juilliard School. He currently teaches keyboard ensemble at Case Western Reserve University. Mr. Charnofsky served on the faculty in the pre-college division of the Juilliard School, and was an Associate Faculty member for eight summers at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara.

The Omomuki grant will commission Mr. Charnofsky to compose, and Mr. Head to record and perform, an original work for shakuhachi flute.

Dr. Ray Iwazumi & Toshiki Usui

Dr. Ray Iwazumi is a Japanese-American violinist, composer, writer, and teacher. He completed his B.M., M.M., and D.M.A., degrees, and was awarded the Richard French Prize, at The Juilliard School; and completed two Masters degrees in violin and chamber music at the Brussels Royal Conservatory. His research on Eugène Ysaÿe’s Six Sonates pour violon seul, Op. 27 is highly regarded, and his performances of the same critically acclaimed. He is currently on the faculty at The Juilliard School.

Toshiki Usui is a Japanese pianist who studied at Tokyo University for Fine Arts and Salzburg Mozarteum. He made his international debut after winning the Cantu International Competition in Italy. He tours extensively throughout Europe, the U.S., Central America, the Middle East, and Asia, as well as for charity concerts under the aegis of the U.N.

The Omomuki grant funded a public salon concert with Mssrs. Iwazumi and Usui in New York City in November of 2017.

Seymour Bernstein

Seymour Bernstein is an American pianist, composer, teacher, and army veteran. He has performed in Asia, Europe, and throughout the Americas, and is the recipient of numerous awards including First Prize and Prix Jacques Durand at Fontainebleau, two Martha Baird Rockefeller grants, and four State Department grants. He is the author of four books, including With Your Own Two Hands, and the subject of the 2015 documentary film Seymour: An Introduction. Mr. Bernstein is one of the most sought-after clinicians in this country, and maintains a private studio in New York City. He is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Music and Music Education at New York University. The Omomuki grant funded a public recital and reception of one of Mr. Bernstein’s students, the British pianist Clair Hiles.

Harold O’Neal

Harold O’Neal is a Tanzanian-American pianist and composer “whose style has been pegged by critics as straddling the line between jazz and classical music.” His 2011 album Marvelous Fantasy is a collection of original solo piano compositions influenced by the works of Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy and an homage to music of silent films. His work has been featured in the New York Times, on NPR’s All Things Considered and Fresh Air, and on PRI. The Omomuki grant funded a private concert in advance of the release of his most recent album of original piano compositions, Piano Cinema.

Paul V. Turner

Paul V. Turner is a Professor of Art, Emeritus, at Stanford University. His publications include works on the architects Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, Joseph Ramée, and the history of the American campus. The Omomuki grant funded a lecture by Professor Turner at The Museum of Modern Art in New York City, on Frank Lloyd Wright’s works in the San Francisco Bay area.

Douglas Brooks

Douglas Brooks is an American craftsman specializing in traditional wooden boats. Over the course of 17 trips to Japan, he traveled over 30,000 miles to seek out and interview Japan’s elderly master boatbuilders; he built boats with five of them, all in their seventies and eighties, between 1996 and 2010. For most of them, Brooks was their sole and last apprentice. The Omomuki grant funded a lecture by Mr. Brooks at the Japan Society in New York City, about his efforts to document Japanese wooden boatbuilding techniques.

Cool Culture

Cool Culture provides New York City children and their families access to arts and culture as a way to increase literacy and learning in early childhood, and to prepare children to succeed in school. Each year, Cool Culture partners with 90 museums and cultural institutions and 400 early childhood programs and public schools to provide over 50,000 low-income families with free, unlimited access to the city’s museums.

Lisa Downing

Lisa Downing is a three-time Emmy Award-nominated composer, pianist, and recording artist. She has released five albums of original piano composition, and has performed for audiences in the U.S., Spain, Argentina, and Germany. Her most recent release is Wisdom of My Shadow, which contains the track “Torii Gates,” in tribute to the people Hachinohe whose sacred Shinto shrine gates were lost in the 2011 tsunami, recovered two years later on the Oregon coast, and returned to Japan and re-erected in their original place in Okuki Bay in 2016. The Omomuki grant funded a performance of “Torii Gates” at the Portland, Oregon Japanese Garden for a visiting delegation of public officials and schoolchildren from Hachinohe.

Japan Society

Japan Society is the leading U.S. organization committed to deepening mutual understanding between the United States and Japan in a global context. Now in its second century, the Society serves audiences across the United States and abroad through innovative programs in arts and culture, public policy, business, language and education. Two Omomuki grants have funded in part the “Talks+” program, which examines issues and themes in modern Japanese art, culture and design, and the production of Moto Osada’s Four Nights of Dream chamber opera.

Living the Classical Life

Living the Classical Life is a US-based non-profit that produces an ongoing series of filmed interviews and intimate performances. Hosted by Zsolt Bognár, Living the Classical Life explores the world of classical music through conversations with its practitioners. The Omomuki grant contributed to the filming of interviews and performances with pianist Seymour Bernstein, cellist Alisa Weilerstein, composer John Corigliano, and mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato.

Portland Japanese Garden
The Portland Japanese Garden creates, maintains, and administers an authentic, world-class Japanese garden in the city of Portland, Oregon, and offers educational, cultural, artistic, horticultural, environmental, and charitable activities. It is considered to be one of two primary Japanese cultural institutions in North America, and recently launched its International Institute for Japanese Garden Arts and Culture.

Nicholas King

Pianist Nicholas King has an Artist Diploma from Oberlin Conservatory of Music and a Performance Diploma from The Royal Conservatory of Music – Glenn Gould School. He received the 2008 Jack Kent Cooke Award and the Jury’s Choice Award at the American Paderewski Competition. He won the Royal Conservatory of Music Glenn Gould School Concerto Competition, and was awarded the U.S. Congressional Medal of Recognition. He has performed at Walt Disney Concert Hall (2010), the Grand Hall of the Arthus House in Torun, Poland with the Torun Symphony Orchestra (2010), and Carnegie Hall (2012); and appeared on the Rosie O’Donnell Show and National Public Radio. The Omomuki grant provided Mr. King with rehearsal and performance space to prepare for his performance at the Southampton Cultural Center.

2016 Recipients

Liz Story

Liz Story is an American pianist and composer. In the 1980s, Story emerged as a prominent figure in new age music while frequently touring the United States, and as a recording artist at Windham Hill Records and RCA Novus Records. She is one of the foremost pioneers of contemporary solo piano. Her music style defies traditional description, and her works cross many musical genres. She has published twelve albums of solo piano work for Windham Hill, RCA and DMI, and has received three Grammy nominations. The Omomuki grant funded a free performance by Ms. Story for clients of GMHC, a leading provider of HIV/AIDS prevention, care and advocacy in New York City.


Tara Hardy

Tara Hardy is a Montreal-based illustrator and graphic artist. Her work frequently incorporates vintage iconography and collage, and treats issues including environmental conservation, human rights, and animal welfare. Her work has appeared regularly in The New Yorker and The Globe and Mail.

Lisa Downing

Lisa Downing is a two-time Emmy Award-nominated composer, pianist, and recording artist. She has released five albums of original piano composition, and has performed for audiences in the U.S., Spain, Argentina, and Germany. Her most recent release is Wisdom of My Shadow, which contains the track “Torii Gates,” in tribute to the people Hachinohe whose sacred Shinto shrine gates were lost in the 2011 tsunami, recovered two years later on the Oregon coast, and returned to Japan and re-erected in their original place in Okuki Bay in 2016. The Omomuki grant funded the publication of her CD in Japanese, and its distribution to those involved with the return of the Torii to Japan and to those in Okuki Bay affected by the 2011 tsunami.

Living the Classical Life

Living the Classical Life is a US-based non-profit that produces an ongoing series of filmed interviews and intimate performances. Hosted by Zsolt Bognár, Living the Classical Life explores the world of classical music through conversations with its practitioners. The Omomuki grant contributed to the filming of interviews and performances with pianist Caroline Oltmanns and opera singer Deborah Voigt.

Nakane Shiro

Nakane Shiro is President of Nakane Associates, a garden research center and landscape consultancy in Kyoto. Founded by his father, the traditional Japanese landscape designer Nakane Kinsaku, the company is renowned for restoring historic gardens in Japan as well as creating new gardens for clients around the world. The Omomuki grant funded Mr. Nakane’s April 2016 lecture on Japanese garden design at the Japan Society in New York City.

Japan Society

Japan Society is the leading U.S. organization committed to deepening mutual understanding between the United States and Japan in a global context. Now in its second century, the Society serves audiences across the United States and abroad through innovative programs in arts and culture, public policy, business, language and education. The Omomuki grant funded in part the Japan Society’s “Talks+” program, which examines issues and themes in modern Japanese art, culture and design.

Asian Cultural Council

Asian Cultural Council supports transformative cultural exchange by awarding grants to artists, scholars, and arts and humanities professionals, as well as organizations and educational institutions from the United States and Asia for research, study, and creative work in the United States and Asia and within the countries of Asia. The Omomuki grant funds in part the Asian Cultural Council’s Individual Grants program.

Portland Japanese Garden
The Portland Japanese Garden creates, maintains, and administers an authentic, world-class Japanese garden in the city of Portland, Oregon, and offers educational, cultural, artistic, horticultural, environmental, and charitable activities. It is considered to be one of two primary Japanese cultural institutions in North America, and recently launched its International Institute for Japanese Garden Arts and Culture. Omomuki provided funding for the Garden’s Kasagi Project to coordinate the return of Shinto religious artifacts washed ashore in Oregon from Japan as a result of the 2011 Tohoku Tsunami.

Po-Lin Tung
Mr. Tung is a London-based dancer. He spent four years in the Dance Department of Taipei National University of the Arts. Since then he has performed in Taiwan, the US, and Mexico with Fang Yi Sheu and Artists, the Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet, Tania Perez Salas Dance Company, Ballet Inc., Zest Collective Contemporary Performing Arts, and Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company. The Omomuki Foundation provided Mr. Tung with a travel grant to The Netherlands and England to take dance classes and audition for European dance companies. Mr. Tung is currently a dancer with Wayne McGregor | Random Dance.

Nicholas King

Pianist Nicholas King has an Artist Diploma from Oberlin Conservatory of Music and a Performance Diploma from The Royal Conservatory of Music – Glenn Gould School. He received the 2008 Jack Kent Cooke Award and the Jury’s Choice Award at the American Paderewski Competition. He won the Royal Conservatory of Music Glenn Gould School Concerto Competition, and was awarded the U.S. Congressional Medal of Recognition. He has performed at Walt Disney Concert Hall (2010), the Grand Hall of the Arthus House in Torun, Poland with the Torun Symphony Orchestra (2010), and Carnegie Hall (2012); and appeared on the Rosie O’Donnell Show and National Public Radio. The Omomuki grant provided Mr. King with rehearsal and performance space to prepare for his audition to the Juilliard School’s graduate program, where he has since been accepted and is currently studying.

Art of Giving Back

The mission of Art of Giving Back is to provide young people with exposure to classical music; assist young students interested in pursing classical music as a profession; and help recent graduates of classical music degree programs find valuable performance and networking opportunities. The Omomuki grant funds in part the organization’s efforts to help classical music students and recent graduates find performance opportunities.

2015 Recipients

Asian Cultural Council

Asian Cultural Council supports transformative cultural exchange by awarding grants to artists, scholars, and arts and humanities professionals, as well as organizations and educational institutions from the United States and Asia for research, study, and creative work in the United States and Asia and within the countries of Asia.

Liz Story

Liz Story is an American pianist and composer. She has published twelve albums of solo piano work for Windham Hill, RCA and DMI, and has received three Grammy nominations. Story was classically trained and studied classical piano at Hunter College and Juilliard in New York City, and jazz piano with Sanford Gold and Dick Grove.

Living the Classical Life

Living the Classical Life is a US-based non-profit that produces an ongoing series of filmed interviews and intimate performances. Hosted by Zsolt Bognár, Living the Classical Life explores the world of classical music through conversations with its practitioners.

Po-Lin Tung
PoLinMr. Tung is a New York-based dancer. He spent four years in the Dance Department of Taipei National University of the Arts. Since then he has performed in Taiwan, the US, and Mexico with Fang Yi Sheu and Artists, the Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet, Tania Perez Salas Dance Company, Ballet Inc., and Zest Collective Contemporary Performing Arts. He joined Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company in September of 2015. Omomuki provided travel funds that assisted Mr. Tung in training with Tania Perez Salas Dance Company and performing with them at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and at the Los Angeles Music Center in June 2015.

Portland Japanese Garden
The Portland Japanese Garden creates, maintains, and administers an authentic, world-class Japanese garden in the city of Portland, Oregon, and offers educational, cultural, artistic, horticultural, environmental, and charitable activities. It is considered to be one of two primary Japanese cultural institutions in North America, and recently launched its International Institute for Japanese Garden Arts and Culture. Omomuki provided funding for the Garden’s Kasagi Project to coordinate the return of Shinto religious artifacts washed ashore in Oregon from Japan as a result of the 2011 Tohoku Tsunami.

Kirk Bauer
BauerMr. Bauer received a Master of Fine Arts in Photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York City and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from The University of Texas. Says Mr. Bauer, “I think ‘contemporary impressionism’ best describes my work. My art is a combination of image-making using traditional printmaking techniques with digital imaging technology. My primary media is images created with ink applied to brushed aluminum. The ink is thick, textural and opaque in some areas while transparent with a metallic sheen showing through in other areas. The image is created with a combination of hand-drawn lines and computer generated lines.” Omomuki co-sponsored a reception featuring Mr. Bauer’s work in New York City.