Young Del Mar musician to play at Museum of Contemporary Art

Kayla Iwane's family left Japan to escape the effects of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. / Courtesy photos

By Kristina Houck

Kayla Iwane turned to music when she and her family had to flee Japan to escape the effects of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Now a part-time Del Mar resident and a senior at Idyllwild Arts Academy, the 18-year-old will perform alongside her classmates Feb. 2 at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.

“Music very much helped me,” said Kayla, who has played the violin for 13 years. “Every time I feel lost, music is the only thing that keeps me going.”

Born in Japan, Kayla was attending Interlochen Arts Academy boarding high school in Michigan when the Fukushima facility started releasing radioactive material in March 2011. To be closer to her family, she returned to Japan and enrolled in an arts school in her hometown of Wakayama.

Less than 400 miles away from the plant, the city wasn’t devastated from the nuclear accident. Nevertheless, Kayla’s mother, Cathy Iwane, found high levels of contamination in fish and trace elements of contamination in milk. Using a Geiger counter, a tool that measures ionizing radiation in the atmosphere, she tested her family’s food for a year before she and her husband decided it was time to relocate their family.

“It was affecting all the food, so we had to leave,” Kayla said. “It’s really sad because I lived in Japan for 16 years. All my friends are there. I came here without knowing anybody in San Diego. It was hard in the beginning.”

Kayla’s mother and 14-year-old sister, Alyssa, live in Del Mar. An activist for safety, Cathy Iwane fought the effort to restart the San Onofre nuclear power plant.

Kayla’s father still lives part-time in Japan, where his company is based. Kayla is one of 300 students enrolled at the boarding arts high school in Idyllwild.

“I love performing because of the adrenaline,” said Kayla, who enrolled as a junior at the academy in September 2012. She plans to attend a music conservatory after high school.

“I really like that feeling and reacting to the audience. I just love it. It’s my favorite thing to do.”

Featuring Kayla and her peers, the Idyllwild Arts Academy Orchestra is set to perform a selection of concert pieces, including “Romeo and Juliet” by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and “Prelude and Scherzo” by Dmitri Shostakovich during a free concert on Feb. 2.

The event will take place from 2-4 p.m. in the Sherwood Auditorium at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, 700 Prospect St. in La Jolla.

“It’s my first time performing in San Diego,” Kayla said. “I’m very excited! It will be fun.”

For more information, call 951-659-2171 Ext. 2343 or visit

Related posts:

  1. Personal experience with a nuclear disaster inspires Del Mar resident’s work as an activist for safety
  2. Young Carmel Valley musician Nathan Santana finding his voice
  3. Accomplished musician and CCA graduate Chase Morrin to perform at music education benefit
  4. Two films about autism to screen at Museum of Contemporary Art
  5. Pianist surprises students

Short URL:

Posted by Staff on Jan 10, 2014. Filed under A & E, Music. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply



Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6



  • La Jolla Library welcomes new chief Shaun Briley
    For La Jolla Riford Library’s new head librarian, Shaun Briley, books have been a part of his life and career, in some form or another, every step of the way. […]
  • Tangerine trees, marmalade skies for Beatles-inspired Patrons of the Prado gala in Balboa Park, San Diego
    “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” was the theme of the Patrons of the Prado gala on July 12, 2014 in Balboa Park, San Diego. Beatles-inspired music came from Wayne Foster Entertainment. Sandy Redman and Jeanne Jones served as event chairs. 2014’s beneficiaries are the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, San Diego Museum of Art and The Old Globe Theatre. […]
  • La Jolla’s Best Bets for events July 31- Aug. 7
    Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA) offers a crash course in starting a photography collection 6 p.m. Thursday Aug. 7. at the Ligne Roset Showroom, 7726 Girard Ave. MOPA assistant curator Chantel Paul and director of jdc Fine Art Jennifer DeCarlo will share professional insights. […]




  • It’s no stretch for Rancho Santa Fe yoga instructor to ‘give back’
    As one of North County’s most prolific yoga instructors, Stacy McCarthy doesn’t just teach yoga, she lives the yoga lifestyle. Selfless service, or seva in Sanskrit, is an important concept of yoga — one that the Rancho Santa Fe resident practices daily. “When we give and we give from the heart, there’s nothing more gratifying than that,” McCarthy said. […]
  • Rancho Santa Fe resident’s Gen 7 wines earn top honors
    Rancho Santa Fe resident Tim Bacino’s Gen 7 Wines is on a hot streak, his varietals winning several awards this summer in California wine competitions. […]
  • Torrey Pines High School baseball alum Taylor Murphy excelling in pro ball
    It was during a breakout senior year at Torrey Pines High that Taylor Murphy first popped up on the radar of professional scouts. Shortly after graduation, Murphy was selected by the San Diego Padres in the 40th round of the June 2011 amateur draft. He declined, honoring a commitment to the University of the Pacific. Three years later, Murphy got another sho […]