TAO: Drum Heart coming to Orchestra Hall


On Saturday, March 31st, expect to hear, and feel, the pulse-pounding drums coming from Orchestra Hall: The newest production from TAO, the internationally-acclaimed percussion ensemble will be performance.

TAO: Drum Heart is a high-energy showcase of performances that puts the ancient art of Japanese drumming in the brightest of spotlights.

Courtesy of TAO

The ensemble was formed in 1993, and, after over ten years of touring in Japan, TAO rose to international prominence in 2004 after debuting at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. They were the festivals’ top grossing box office hit. Then, in 2010 TAO was invited to perform at the Vancouver Winter Olympics.  Later that year TAO performed its first North American tour where they sold out more than 50 concerts across 44 cities.

The production features both male and female Taiko drummers, and combines highly physical, large-scale drumming while completing precision choreography. The dynamic modern costumes and innovative visuals onstage enhance the movement of the performances and the deep sounds of the drums.

Their performances have invigorated and transfixed audiences all across the country. The Chicago Tribune called Drum Heart, a show of “extraordinarily talented percussion artists, and seductive, alluring performers.”

Courtesy of TAO

The ensemble has performed in 500 cities in more than 24 countries worldwide, drawing over seven million spectators. For this achievement, and for its hundreds of shows each year in Japan, TAO received the 6th Japan Tourism Agency Commissioner’s Award from Japan Tourism Agency and Outstanding Cultural Contribution from Oita Prefecture.

An example of the what the show entails can be found by watching the video above.


  • “Taiko” is the general term for the type of drumming featured in TAO: Drum Heart; in Japanese, the word literally means “fat drum.”
  • Since their first appearance in 2004, Drum Heart has played in more than 22 countries and 400 cities around the world, with 7 million spectators to date.
  • After performing at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, the show sold out every show of its first North American tour.