(she/her/hers) is a third and fourth generation Japanese American cultural connector and creative producer based out of Denver, Colorado. She is the founder of the Japanese Arts Network (JA-NE) and Next Gen JA, a community of like-minded individuals in Colorado who have varying connections to Japan + Japanese American culture. This group gathers once a month in a casual setting to serve as a sounding board for one another's ideas, thoughts, questions, challenges, goals and aspirations. Next Gen JA supports local + national programs and organizations with their initiatives and endeavors, and envisions an inclusive community that challenges and re-defines what it means to be "JA".
After receiving her MFA in Performing Arts Management from Brooklyn College she worked as a project manager and dance producer for Joyce Theater Productions with whom she developed and toured new works by international artists including Wendy Whelan's (former Principal Dancer and current Associate Artistic Director at NYC Ballet ) Restless Creature with choreographers Kyle Abraham, Alejandro Cerrudo, Brian Brooks, and Joshua Beamish, with Daniil Simkin's (Principal Dancer, American Ballet Theatre) INTENSIO with Jorma Elo, Annabelle Lopez-Ochoa, Alexander Ekman, and Gregory Dolbashian, and coordinated touring for MalPaso Dance Company from Havana, Cuba. The Lone Tree Arts Center brought Courtney back to Colorado as Operations and Business Director for their presenting and producing theater.
Courtney is a professional taiko musician with over 25 years of experience, and has performed across the globe in Dubai, as well as in major cities throughout the United States. She has taught at Swallow Hill Music School and is a teaching artist for the Cleo Parker Robinson International Summer Dance Institute. She is a 2017 U.S. Japan Council Emerging Leaders Fellow, Steering Committee Representative, and the Operations and Programming Director for the Mountain Region. She is also a 2018 Association of Performing Arts Professionals Emerging Leaders Fellow, and a 2019 - 2020 Colorado Business for the Creative Arts Leadership Arts Fellow, and she serves on the boards of Mile High Japanese American Citizens League, and the Tri-State Denver Buddhist Temple.
Courtney is passionate about the melding of ideas, and the integration and interdependence of arts sectors, and is motivated by the impetus that an inclusive arts culture leads to a more productive and empathetic society.
(she/her/hers) is a Japanese American soprano actively performing in opera, musical theatre and concert work. This season she appears in recital with pianist Jessica Nilles and as soprano soloist in the Fauré Requiem (with Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Parish Choir at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception) and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 (with Aurora Symphony), as Ivy Garland in The Polar Express (at the Colorado Railroad Museum) and as a Japanese folk music performer Tiny Tots: Music of the World (Inside the Orchestra’s Winter Tour). Recent highlights include performances with Lyric Opera of Chicago (The King and I), LA Opera EduCom (Japanese American Internment opera The White Bird of Poston and Madama Butterfly selections), Cincinnati and Arizona Opera, Colorado Springs and Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra, and a summer in Germany as a “jump in” artist.
Margaret regularly performs across the state—from Walker Opera House in Ouray and Equinox Theatre in North Denver to Loveland Opera Theatre and Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts. With Opera Steamboat, she starred in Speed Dating, Tonight! and gave the regional premiere of the title role in Ricky Ian Gordon’s Orpheus and Euridice. Margaret was soprano soloist in Colorado Springs Philharmonic’s Peer Gynt and Aurora Symphony’s Malher Sym. No. 4 and appeared as Rosalia in Boulder Philharmonic’s semi-staged performances of West Side Story. She has presented multiple solo cabaret performances at Lone Tree Arts Center, including Shakespeare in Love with pianist Jeremy Reger and baritone Matthew Peterson and and Voyage à Paris with pianist Cody Guy Garrison and tenor Humberto Borboa. An Art Song Colorado resident artist, Margaret enjoys sharing both well- and lesser-known art song literature with Front Range audiences. Most recently with Art Song Colorado, Margaret and pianist Mallory Bernstein performed Alexander Liebermann’s set of prize-winning songs, Bagatelles chantées, for the 5th Annual Abundant Silence New Works Concert.
Margaret has appeared in multiple productions with Loveland Opera Theatre, including: Yum Yum in The Mikado; Mimì in La bohème; soprano soloist in an operetta pastiche accompanying the classic Marx Brothers film, A Night at the Opera; and in numerous Holiday Concerts, Opera Jukebox Galas and promotional performances. Also in Northern Colorado, Margaret has been a frequent soloist at Arias at Avo’s (Opera Fort Collins Guild) and at Candlelight Dinner Theatre (She Loves Me, Miracle on 42nd Street, Singin’ in the Rain).
Margaret performs as a touring artist with Central City Opera and was recently appointed Education Coordinator in the Education Department of Central City Opera. She has appeared as Guest Soloist with Inside the Orchestra’s Winter Tour, Denver Municipal Band’s Summer Concerts in the Park series and Irish Dance Theatre’s The Simple Gift Christmas tour. She enjoys the opportunity to lead and represent other singers and has served as co-manager of Opera on Tap Colorado, AGMA Delegate for Arizona Opera Chorus and as an AGMA Representative for the Western Regional Interview Panel. Currently, she is an acting Diversity Advocate for Denver Immersive Opera and an advisor to the Centennial Celebration of The Allied Arts, Inc.
An avid ensemble singer, Margaret currently serves as a section leader at St. Paul in Denver and for The Renaissance Project in Boulder and has been a regular guest at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception and Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Parish. Previously, she held professional positions with Ars Nova Singers in Boulder and VAE: Cincinnati, as well as in music worship ensembles across the country and the opera choruses of Cincinnati Opera, Arizona Opera, Dayton Opera and Opera Colorado.
Margaret holds a doctorate in vocal performance with cognate studies in Japanese aesthetics and music from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Currently serving as Cultural Consultant and a roster artist for Japanese Arts Network, Margaret was Cultural Consultant for Central City Opera’s 2019 production of Madama Butterfly. She performed and presented on the Vocal Chamber Music of Japanese fusion composer Minoru Miki at conferences on Music and East Asian Studies, published an article on Japanese Lyric Diction in the NATS Journal of Singing and offered a Japanese diction intensive at Ithaca College.
MARGARET OZAKI GRAVES
(she/her/hers) is a recognized vocalist, arts consultant, and a cultural organizer, who is known as a mover and shaker re-defining what community engagement and conversations around equity in the arts look like. As the Program Manager of Theater at the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA), she manages the National Theater Project (NTP), a grant program that supports the creation and touring of devised ensemble theater work. Meena organized and led “Beyond Orientalism: The Boston Forum” in October 2017 and is a co-founder and steering committee member of Boston’s first API (Asian Pacific Islander) Arts Network.
Meena has worked in the performing arts community as facilitator, grant panelist, educator, speaker, and consultant with organizations such as Network of Ensemble Theaters (NET), MAP Fund, CreateWell Fund, Somerville Arts Council, Women of Color in the Arts (WOCA), El Sistema in Acarigua, Showa Boston, Japanese Arts Network, and many others. Meena is actively engaged in a national community of practice for anti-oppression work in the arts and is excited to be part of artEquity’s 2019 facilitator training cohort.
As an artist, Meena has performed with Opera Providence, MassOpera, Boston Opera Collaborative, New England Orchestra among others. She currently performs with Voci Angelica Trio, an international band that creates a musical fusion of world folk and classical music that transcends political and geographic borders.
Meena currently serves as a board member of Arts Connect International (ACI), an organization that partners with emerging and seasoned arts leaders to collectively build equity, access, and inclusion through transformational leadership development. She is a proud member of WOCA, former mentee in their 2017 cohort of the Leadership Through Mentorship Program, and a former fellow of the 2018 Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) Emerging Leadership Institute. Meena holds a Masters in Vocal Performance from New England Conservatory and a Masters in Arts Administration from Boston University.