Terry Nguyen, known as “tsugaruterry,” is a musician and educator specializing in minyo (folk) and traditional music of Japan as performed on the Tsugaru shamisen and taiko drums.
Terry’s introduction to taiko began in 2002 as a student at the University of California, Riverside (UCR) where she was a member of the UCR Taiko Ensemble led by Rev. Shuichi Thomas Kurai. Concurrently, she served as a director of the student organization Senryu Taiko. Terry studied and performed with Rev. Kurai throughout Southern California up until his passing in 2018.
Terry has received taiko training from world class instructors of Kodo (Sado Island, Japan) through numerous training opportunities in Japan including KASA/Mix and the Kodo Online Taiko School.
Terry is the co-founder and Executive Director of TaikoMix, a non-profit Asian American performing arts organization based in Riverside, CA.
Terry began playing the Tsugaru shamisen in 2006. Initially self-taught, in 2010 she started her training with instructor Mitsuru Sasaki of the Mitsuyoshi Sasaki School of Tsugaru shamisen (Ibaraki, Japan). Terry participated in the Alliance for California Traditional Arts (ACTA) Apprenticeship Program (2014) for studies in Tsugaru shamisen minyo traditions.
In 2018, Terry began studying with world-renowned Tsugaru shamisen composer-performer Hiromitsu Agatsuma (Tokyo, Japan).
Terry assumed directorship of the UCR Taiko Ensemble in 2017. She is a faculty member with the UCR Department of Music, and adjunct lecturer with the University of Redlands.
In addition to her work as a solo musician, Terry currently serves as the Artistic Director of The Wagaku Collective, an all-traditional Japanese musical instrument ensemble with which she plays Tsugaru shamisen and taiko.
Terry has received support from the Alliance for California Traditional Arts, The Arts Connection Network, Aurora Foundation, and Center for Cultural Innovation. In 2022, she was named to Yamaha Music USA’s list of “40 Under 40” celebrating excellence in music education.