Miho Wada

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Miho Wada is a Japanese-born jazz musician from New Zealand. She plays flute and both alto and tenor saxophone, and is a founding member of Miho's Jazz Orchestra, which has toured internationally. She has been nicknamed "the flute ninja" for her fast playing style.

Early life[edit]

Born in Japan, Wada began taking piano lessons at the age of four.[1] In 1995, Wada's father – an enthusiastic fan of New Zealand rugby and yachting – decided to move the family to Burnside, Christchurch in New Zealand.[2] When Wada's parents hired a new piano teacher for her, their chosen instructor also happened to play flute, which was how Wada first took an interest in the instrument.[2]


After earning a Bachelor of Music degree, Wada moved to London, England, to pursue further study at the Trinity College of Music.[1]

In 2007, Wada was selected to attend a Swiss summer academy for classical flute held by virtuoso flautist Sir James Galway.[2] Despite being excited at the opportunity, Wada found herself feeling out of place among the other students at the academy, and afterwards began exploring jazz and world music venues.[2] Meeting a group of Cuban musicians, Wada eventually decided to travel to Cuba, where she found a new flute teacher:

"I had to relearn everything. After three months, I totally got it. It was all about the blood flow, the rhythm of the blood. It was about finding a way of playing the flute that was most natural to me. I found my passion as a musician and what made me happy."[2]

Wada has been nicknamed "the flute ninja" for her ability to play very fast music on the flute, a skill she attributes to her musical training in Cuba.[3] In addition to playing flute, she also plays alto and tenor saxophone.[4]

In 2009, Wada returned to New Zealand and settled down in Auckland.[2] Soon afterwards, she formed a punk-rock-ska band called Miho Wada and the Shit Fight, and the ensemble toured for the next couple of years.[4] In 2011, she formed the new six-person band Miho's Jazz Orchestra, and the group raised funds for Christchurch earthquake recovery work.[3] Miho's Jazz Orchestra has continued to perform steadily since then, touring New Zealand, Australia and Japan, and the group's musical style is described as "a combination of Afro-Cuban and J-pop, influenced by contemporary jazz".[3]


Miho's Jazz Orchestra[edit]

  • Para Tí (2011)
  • Wanderland (2012)
  • EXIT 621 (2013)
  • Mystery Banana (2014)
  • Memphis Dreamin' (2014)
  • Live at the Lab (2014)
  • Bumpy Road (2015)
  • New World Sympathy (2016)

Personal life[edit]

Wada is married to violinist Pascal Roggen, who plays as part of Miho's Jazz Orchestra.[5] In 2015, Wada gave birth to a son.[1]


  1. ^ a b c "Jazz musician Miho Wada loving motherhood". Stuff. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Miho Wada can't imagine life without a flute". Stuff. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  3. ^ a b c "A flute ninja and her orchestra". Stuff. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  4. ^ a b "Fun small town times for touring orchestra". gisborneherald.co.nz. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  5. ^ "Miho Wada: The Whole Mystery Fruit Bowl – NZ Musician". nzmusician.co.nz. Retrieved 26 September 2017.