MU: A World Premiere

The magical journey of a lonely young hero and a Japanese mermaid
Written by BRENDA WONG AOKI • Composed by MARK IZU
Choreography by Kimi Okada • Costumes by Beaver Bauer

“fantastic… so many layers… charming” –Mike Ross, Krannert Center
MU created by Brenda Wong Aoki, Mark Izu, Kimi Okada; costumes by Beaver Bauer
“music, dance, and spoken word… a truly imaginative journey”
Kajsa Thuresson-Frary, McCallum Theatre



Brenda and Mark began creating work together in 1979.  As a young girl of Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, and Scottish descent, Brenda felt she never really fit in anywhere. Today, as one of the nation’s foremost solo writers/performers, she has become a pioneer of Hapa/Mestizo culture; her face is truly what California and the world is becoming. Mark is an Emmy Award-winning composer and jazz musician, credited in the Grove Dictionary of Music for pioneering the genre of Asian Jazz. His music is inspired by 22 years of study with the late great Gagaku master, Togi Sueobu.
In 1995, Brenda and Mark founded First Voice, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to create, present, and pass on the music and stories of people living between worlds, with a deep respect for the stories of all people whose life experiences are interwoven like threads in a tapestry.
They continue to perform national and internationally at such venues as The Kennedy Center (Washington D.C.), The Adelaide International Festival (Australia), The Hong Kong Cultural Centre, The Esplanade (Singapore), Sapporo University (Japan), The Krannert Center for the Performing Arts (Illinois), and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco).


 Major Support Provided By

& Individual Donors


Donate to First Voice

Founded by Brenda Wong Aoki and Mark Izu in 1995, the mission of the non-profit First Voice is to create and develop the stories and music of people living between worlds. Critical to this mission is "personal experience" or "voice" as essential to authentic pan-world culture.


Contact Us

Phone: 415-221-0601
Email: aokizu @
Address: 43 Parsons St., San Francisco, CA, 94118

Now Booking Solo, Duet, and Ensemble Performances

Click here to watch video clips of Brenda Wong Aoki and Mark Izu's work