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Important Upcoming Shakuhachi Concert

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PostPosted: 2014-10-04, 18:27    Post subject: Important Upcoming Shakuhachi Concert Reply with quote

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The Name of the Concert:

40th Anniversary Mujuan International Shakuhachi Concert

(The following Program notes are by Yodo Kurahashi II)

The Place of the Concert:

Meyer Auditorium, Freer Sackler Gallery of Art, Smithsonian, Washington DC.

The Date and the Time of the Concert:

Saturday, October 25th, 2014

Concert will start at 7:30 pm.

Admission: Free

The program of the concert is as follows;

40th Anniversary Mujuan International Shakuhachi Concert

40 years ago the Mujuan Shakuhachi Dojo was established in Kyoto, Japan, by Yodo Kurahashi I. At the same time, a young shakuhachi player Ronnie Nyogetsu Reishin Seldin, who had studied shakuhachi music under Yodo Kurahashi I for many years in Kyoto, established his Ki-Sui-An Shakuhachi Dojo in New York City. Mujuan and Ki-Sui-An have cooperated and competed each other as the brother dojos for 40 years. In 2004 Ronnie Nyogetsu Reishin Seldin and the Ki-Sui-An members successfully organized the great World Shakuhachi Festival in New York. And in 2012 Yodo Kurahashi II and Mujuan members also successfully organized the great World Shakuhachi Festival in Kyoto. Without a doubt Mujuan and Ki-Sui-An are the pioneers who popularized shakuhachi music to the world, especially to the United States.

James Nyoraku Schlefer established the Kyo-Shin-An Shakuhachi Dojo in Brooklyn, New York, Stan Kakudo Richardson established the Texas Mujuan Dojo in Dallas, Texas, and Phil Nyokai James established the New England Shakuhachi Society in Portland, Maine. They are so-called Second Generation Shakuhachi Masters who studied shakuhachi outside Japan. But they are very excellent masters and players, sometimes greater than the first generation people, and also pioneer comrades of the Mujuan Group.

The shakuhachi players of tonight’s concert are only masters of the Mujuan Group. They are pioneers who made the shakuhachi trails in the wide plain.

We invited three wonderful koto and sangen players for this concert as the guest artists. They are;

Ms Miyuki Yoshikami of Bethesda, MD,

Ms Yoko Hiraoka of Boulder, CO,

Ms Masayo Ishigure of New York, NY,

and Ms Junko Shigeta of Denver, CO.

All of them are elegantly beautiful ladies, but at the same time very tough pioneers.

Please enjoy our pioneers’ performances.


Yodo Kurahashi II has been with this beautiful and evocative bamboo instrument for more than 50 years. His father, Yodo Kurahashi I, also a famous shakuhachi player, was his first teacher as a young boy and he eventually became head of his father's dojo: Mujuan shakuhachi dojo.

In a career spanning 50 years, Yodo has garnered esteem and accolades from the four corners of the traditional Japanese music world. He is recognized both in Japan and in many countries abroad as a genteel ambassador of shakuhachi and Japanese hogaku traditional music in general. He regularly performs at major concert venues in the USA and his travels and teaching take him all over the world, as far as Israel, Malaysia, China, Thailand, Singapore, Canada, Bermuda, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland and Australia. His performances and recordings have won awards and as a solo player, Yodo is deeply schooled in the ancient zen Buddhist 'honkyoku' solo music. His repertoire includes the classical ensemble music of the Edo period and newly written pieces for shakuhachi and other instruments. He has also premiered and showcased some of the most exciting music written for shakuhachi this century.

Kurahashi regularly travels outside of Japan, actively promoting shakuhachi and teaching students of many nationalities around the world.


Ronnie Nyogetsu Reishin Seldin (b. Brooklyn, New York, 1947) is a noted shakuhachi player in USA.

He studied theology at the New School for Social Research, then went to Japan where he studied the shakuhachi under Yodo Kurahashi I and received his Grand-Master’s license and the shakuhachi name Nyogetsu in 1975. By 2001 he received his Grand Master's license and was given the name Reishin from Reibo Aoki II, the Japan’s living national treasure.

He is the founder and director of the Ki-Sui-An Shakuhachi Dojo which is the USA branch of Mujuan Shakuhachi Dojo. Ki-Sui-An is the first and the largest professional shakuhachi school in USA. Ronnie has taught shakuhachi regularly in New York City, Philadelphia, Rochester, Buffalo, and Washington DC, and leads regular intensive shakuhachi retreats at Zen monasteries in upstate New York. He is a real pioneer of the shakuhachi world in USA.

He performed on the soundtrack for the Oscar-nominated "A Family Gathering" (1989) and also appears on the Grammy Award-nominated "The Planet Sleeps."


James Nyoraku Schlefer occupies a special place in New York City’s cultural life, composing and performing music that bridges Western and Japanese styles.

He received the Dai-Shi-Han (Grand Master) certificate from Ronnie Nyogetsu Reishin Seldin of the Ki-Sui-An Shakuhachi Dojo in New York in 2001, one of only a handful of non-Japanese to receive this high level award.

In 2008, he received his second Shi-Han certificate from Yodo Kurahashi II of Mujuan Shakuhachi Dojo in Kyoto.

In Japan, Schlefer has worked with Reibo Aoki II, Katsuya Yokoyama, Yoshinobu Taniguchi, and Kifu Mitsuhashi.

He holds a Master's degree in Western flute and musicology from Queens College and currently teaches shakuhachi class at Columbia University and music history courses at the City University of New York. He has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Tanglewood, BAM, the Metropolitan Museum, at colleges and universities throughout the US and has toured in Japan, Indonesia, Brazil and counties in Europe. Schlefer has four solo recordings, Wind Heart (which travelled 120,000,000 miles aboard the Space Station MIR) Solstice Spirit (1998), Flare Up (2002), and In The Moment (2008). His music has been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered. Schlefer’s latest recording Spring Sounds, Spring Seas was released in June 2012 and features his original music for shakuhachi and orchestra.

He is head of the Kyo-Shin-An teaching studio in New York City. He has published books of traditional notation and written two etude books for shakuhachi technical development. As a composer, he has written many pieces for Japanese instruments including a shakuhachi concerto, a quintet for shakuhachi and string quartet, and numerous pieces for traditional Japanese instruments


Stan Kakudo Richardson was born in Coventry, England in 1952. He began his interest and study of music at age five with the recorder and soon progressed to violin and viola. At age eight he was composing classical music and had completed a string quartet by age eleven. Stan was also an avid singer and became head choir boy in his local church. He sang often at the famous Coventry Cathedral and was present at some notable premiers including the first performance of Benjamin Britten's Noah's Ark.

Stan became interested in ethnic music from the spiritual traditions of Japan and China and in 1972 began study of the shakuhachi. He has studied with Ronnie Nyogetsu Reishin Seldin in New York and some of Japan 's greatest masters including Yodo Kurahashi II in Kyoto .

Stan is currently head of Mujuan Shakuhachi Dojo in Texas, a branch of his teacher's school based in Kyoto. He received his Shihan or Masters teaching license and the shakuhachi name Kakudo from Yodo Kurahashi II. He has many students from around Texas and his teaching emphasizes the ancient meditation music of the Zen tradition.


Phil Nyokai James is a professional shakuhachi teacher and performer as well as avant-garde composer. Born in New York in 1954, he studied shakuhachi with Ronnie Nyogetsu Reishin Seldin and Yodo Kurahashi II. After receiving his master's license (Shihan), he began teaching and performing throughout the United States. His shakuhachi dojo is centered in Portland, Maine.

His performances often juxtapose traditional Japanese meditative pieces (honkyoku) with electronic noise music. He frequently works with postmodern choreographers and butoh dancers.

He is a head master of the New England Shakuhachi Society.


1. Mukaiji (Flute Sound from the Foggy Ocean).

Solo for shakuhachi. Classic. Composer unknown.

By Yodo Kurahashi.

Its legendary origin tells of a Zen monk who meditated on top of Mt. Asakuma in Ise Province. While he slept, he heard a mysterious and marvelous flute melody floating through the ocean fog and into his dream. Upon awaking, the beautiful melody lingered allowing him to reproduce it.

2. Jimbo Sanya.

Solo for shakuhachi. Classic. Arranged by Masanosuke Jimbo and Jisen Hotta, 1889

By Ronnie Nyogetsu Reishin Seldin (on the 2.4 Shakuhachi).

The original piece Sanya was played by the Buddhist monks of Echigo Myoan-ji temple in Niigata prefecture.

Some people say that Sanya means Three Valleys and others say it comes from an ancient Sanskrit Buddhist word. In truth, its real meaning remains unknown.

3. Koku (Empty Sky).

Solo for shakuhachi. Classic. Composer unknown.

By Phil Nyokai James.

It is said this piece is one of the three oldest shakuhachi pieces. Almost all of classic shakuhachi pieces do not have any historical documents but have only legendary stories. But Koku does not have even a story. The melody of this piece describes nothing. This is completely abstract music. Empty and Nothing are the most important words in the shakuhachi world.

4. Tsuru no Sugomori (Nesting of a Crane), Fukushima Rempoken Version.

Solo for shakuhachi. Classic. Composer unknown.

By Stan Kakudo Richardson.

There are more than 10 different shakuhachi compositions with this name. This Tsuru no Sugomori was created and handed down in Rempoken Temple of Fukushima City, Fukushima Province. This piece describes the life cycle of cranes. The tsuru fly from the north, find a safe nesting site and have chicks. When the fledglings re grown, they leave the nest. The tsuru thank both of Heaven and Earth.


5. Shikyoku Ichiban (Poeme I pour Shakuhachi et Koto).

Duet for koto and shakuhachi. Composed by Teizo Matsumura (1929-2007),1970.

Yodo Kurahashi on shakuhachi.

A guest artist Junko Shigeta on koto.

The composer, Matsumura, used only the classical and traditional melodies and patterns both of koto and shakuhachi for this piece. The koto melody of this piece sounds like the melody of famous Rokudan which was composed in 17th century. The shakuhachi melody sounds like classic Kinko-Ryu Honkyoku piece. But the whole impression of this piece is not classical. There are very full of the images of the future in this piece. This piece was composed for the Panasonic’s Pavilion of the EXPO 70 in Osaka.

5. Jogen no Kyoku (Half Moon).

Duet for koto and shakuhachi. Composed by Tadao Sawai (1937-1997),1979.

James Nyoraku Schlefer on shakuhachi.

A guest artist Masayo Ishigure on koto.

The composer, Sawai, tried to imagine the primitive feelings of the ancient people for the Moon. The half Moon looks like a stringed musical instrument. The music performed by the Moon is sometimes sweet, sometimes cool and always uncertain.

Tonight’s guest artist Masayo Ishigure, who will perform this piece today, is one of the most superior students of this composer.

6. Yaegoromo (Seasonal Songs about Dresses)

Sankyoku ensemble, composed by Ishikawa Koto around 1820.

Yodo Kurahashi and Ronnie Nyogetsu Reishin Seldin on shakuhachi.

A guest artist Yoko Hiraoka on sangen.

A guest artist Miyuki Yoshikami on koto.

Yaegoromo was originally composed for the Sangen by Ishikawa Koto in Kyoto. This composition was later transcribed for the Koto by the great Koto-player Yaezaki Kengyo (d. 1848) and then arranged as Sankyoku (trio for Koto, Sangen and Shakuhachi) Ensemble.

The five songs, which are based on Japanese poems of 31 syllables (in each of which the syllables appear in the classical order 5-7-5, 7-7), have been brought together under the title Yaegoromo and deal with the moods of the four seasons, each of which is expressed in relation to a certain type of dress.

The poems have been taken from the famous anthology "Hyakunin isshu" (One poem by each of a hundred poets) by Teika Fujiwara (1162-1241).

The primary musical form is divided into five parts corresponding to the number of poems:

1)Mae-uta - introductory song

2)Tegoto - instrumental interlude

3)Naka-uta - central group of songs

4)Tegoto - instrumental interlude

5)Ato-uta - concluding song
"The magic's in the Music, and the Music's in me" - The Loving Spoonful
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