A Japanese American koto performer based in Southern California, Reiko Obata began studying koto in 1980 under masters in the U.S. and Japan including Mde. Masazumi Mizuno in San Diego, Mde. Kayoko Wakita in Los Angeles and composer virtuoso Shinichi Yuize in Tokyo. Reiko has a master's degree in music from San Diego State University and a Japanese koto master's degree from the Seiha Conservatory of Japanese Music.Obata is a versatile and accomplished koto player, having performed with legendary jazz saxophonist Hollis Gentry III; San Diego Symphony cellist Mary Oda Szanto; shakuhachi composer John Neptune; bassists Bill Andrews and Marshall Hawkins; pianist composers David Ward-Steinman and Kamau Kenyatta; guitarists Fred Benedetti and Jimmy Patton; San Diego Symphony principal flutist Demarre McGill and jazz flutist Louisa West; drummers Kevin Koch (Fattburger), Russell Bizzett, San Diego Symphony percussionist Jonathan Szanto; harpist Melissa Morgan; and Latin harpist Miguel Lopez.
Performance venues include The Venetian - Las Vegas, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego Convention Center, Petco Park, San Diego Art Museum, Sea World, Wild Animal Park, Barona, Viejas and Pechanga Casinos, Warner Brothers Studio, La Costa Resort, Dizzy's, and the Temecula and Idyllwild Jazz Festivals. Reiko has performed for radio, film, and live theatre. Her music can be heard in Byron Barth's 2007 "The Art of Zen Shiatsu" DVD as well as Vivian Price's 2006 film "Transnational Tradeswomen." Obata performed koto, shamisen, and percussion in Dr. Marianne McDonald's play "...and then he met a woodcutter." She has been a featured performer at harp and folk festivals. She has taught World Music at San Diego Mesa College. Obata has recorded several CDs of her own compositions and arrangements as well as a jazz koto CD with her band East West. She recently released the first-ever English language koto instructional DVD "You Can Play Koto."