banjo artist and composer

University of Kentucky College of Fine Arts

Distinguished Alumni Award 2002


As I faced designing Tim’s award, I knew of his deep blue-grass and jazz roots and of his more recent classical music study that  led to a doctoral composition, Concerto for 5-String Banjo and Orchestra, and that his marriage to a Japanese woman had both greatly influenced his life’s work and inspired several performance tours of Japan.  Throughout the process, I wanted to incorporate something of her influence in the piece but, try as I might, I could find no way to recognize Myuki’s role that felt organic.  When time ran out, I was forced to just let it go.

Only later, at the award ceremony, did I learn from Myuki herself that she and her Japanese heritage

had indeed been incorporated into the work, when she shared with me

that an ancient Japanese musical instrument, the shamesen, opens in this way.

       The text style is a compressed angular Italic of my own devising written with a pointed pen

in motions replicating those of strumming a banjo.


Tim’s music is available from


©ann alaia woods 2008