Shakuhachi News

Shakuhachi Retreat in Vermont with Ralph Samuelson and Yoko Hiroako April 25 - 26, 2015

Hey folks, It’s a long, cold winter.  Come welcome springtime in beautiful Vermont, with beautiful Japanese music! I highly recommend you attend!

Ralph Samuelson (shakuhachi) and Yoko Hiraoka (shamisen, koto) will lead a music study retreat in West Halifax, Vermont (near Brattleboro) on April 25 and 26. 
Ralph and Yoko will also be performing in concert at the Latchis Theater in Brattleboro on the evening of April 25. The weekend will focus on ensemble music for shakuhachi with koto and shamisen, but will also include some attention to the honkyoku of the Kinko Ryu.  Shakuhachi students from everywhere are invited to participate.
The classical chamber music of Japan known as sankyoku is a music of rich beauty and depth. Typically set to sung poetic text, it is characterized by the interweaving and elaboration of melodic line, subtle and elegant ornamentation, microtonal pitch nuance, an emphasis on tone color, and a kind of flexible breath rhythm. The workshop will explore these elements of the music and the manner in which the different parts of the ensemble—shamisen, koto, song, and shakuhachi—come together while each expresses its own unique voice and character.
2 Days of Music Study
-Saturday, April 25, 10 AM-3 PM. The focus will be on small-group study of one or two individual pieces from the classical repertoire. Students will be divided into groups according to playing experience; study pieces will be selected once the level of participation has been clarified.
-Saturday, April 25, 7 PM.  Concert. “Music across Borders: Sounds of Japan”, at the Latchis Theater in Brattleboro. The program features traditional and contemporary pieces, and a new work created especially for Yoko and Ralph by acclaimed composer Elizabeth Brown.
-Sunday, April 26, 10 AM-4 PM.  This day will have 2 simultaneous tracks: group study with Ralph focusing on details of Kinko Ryu shakuhachi technique and expression, and lessons with Yoko on an ensemble piece of one’s choosing (or to be chosen by the teachers if so requested).

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Shakuhachi Making Workshops

Hi all, I’ve very excited about two shakuhachi workshops that are coming up. One on September 16th will be at the Japan Society in New York City taught by my teacher Kinya Sogawa. I am assisting in this workshop. There are two spaces left.  Kinya will also be teaching two other workshops - Playing Honkyoku Music (Sept 15) and Composing with the Shakuhachi (Sept 22). Additionally, he will be performing at Roulette in Brooklyn on Sept 23, playing solo honkyoku and new works composed by Ned Rothenburg and Elizabeth Brown. Performing with Kinya will be Ralph Samuelson and Ned. The other workshop will be at Zen Mountain Monastery on July 19 - 22. I will lead a weekend retreat where participants will make their own shakuhachi flute on the first day. Day two will begin with an introduction to the basic concept of mindful breathing that is required for shakuhachi playing. The rest of the day will be spent exploring one of the oldest Honkyoku pieces of music played by the Komuso Monks known as Kyorei. This ancient piece embodies the experience of playing the flute as both a meditation tool and musical instrument. Participants will receive a copy of the music notation written in Japanese kanji characters and will be able to read it by the end of the day. I really like the title for their workshop - The Craft of Pure Sound. See here for more info:

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Blowing Meri and Kari on the Shakuhachi

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Zen saying for Perry.