New York based multi-instrumentalist Masaru Koga, or Mas, as most would call him, developed his worldview at an early age. Soon after his birth in Chiba Japan, his family relocated to the US due to his father’s work, and he spent this adolescent years moving around multiple times. By the time he graduated high school, he had lived in three countries and nine different cities. Mas took an interest in music as a young child, especially in jazz. At 11 years old he started learning the trumpet and joined the school band. After another move to Munich, he had a chance to borrow an alto saxophone—and that changed his life. At 15, he began teaching himself with a magazine cutout of a fingering chart and CDs and cassettes of his favorite music. With an international upbringing, it was fitting that he found himself at San Jose State University in the Improvised Music Studies department, where he intensively studied and explored musical tradition from around the world. Fueled with a passion for cross-cultural experience, Mas started to incorporate the Japanese shakuhachi into his music, and began his apprenticeship with master shakuhachi artist Masayuki Koga. Mas’s sound encompasses the many cultural traditions he’s been touched by, and the worldview developed though diverse life experiences. He aims to create music that respects traditions and goes beyond styles and idioms to ultimately help diminish all forms of social boundaries. For The Dragon Painter, Mas will play saxophone, shakuhachi, and shaku-lute. He will be joined by Erika Oba on piano and flute, Lewis Patzner on cello, and Frank Bockius on percussion.