Yd Kurahashi

Yoshio Kurahashi started studying the shakuhachi as a child, with his father, the first director of Muju-An shakuhachi school in Kyoto. Later he studied with Homei Matsumura, the renowned Kinko-style shakuhachi player in Nara, Japan. He gave his first recital in 1976 for which he received the Osaka Cultural Award. In 1980 he became the second director of the Muju-An school. He has toured extensively since 1981 ,giving performances in the US, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, China and Israel. Yoshio is director of the Kyoto Hogaku group and the Kyoto Sankyoku Association. Beginning in 1995 he has been teaching intensive annual classes in shakuhachi in Boston, New York and Boulder.

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Riley Lee began studying shakuhachi in Japan in 1971. In 1980, he became the first non-Japanese dai shihan (大師範; literally ‘big teacher’ ). He was also the first non-Japanese to play wadaiko (和太鼓; Japanese drums) professionally (from 1974) as a founding member of Ondekoza (now Kodo).

Riley moved from Honolulu, Hawait to Sydney in 1986 with Patricia and their twin daughters. Riley’s PhD in ethnomusicology is from Sydney University. He has 60+ commercial recordings; his first (1980) is still available on Smithsonian-Folkways. Riley co-founded the Australian Shakuhachi Society with Patricia in 1996. Ian Cleworth and Riley co-founded Sydney-based Taikoz in 1997.

Riley was the Executive Director, Artistic Director and major sponsor of the World Shakuhachi Festival held in Sydney in 2008. This highly acclaimed international event was organised primarily by some of the faculty of the Rockies Shakuhachi Camp. That year, the Camp was held in Sydney and was called “WSF08 Rockies Down Under.”

In 2016, Riley taught a semester at Princeton University, and performed in six states in USA, in Canada, Switzerland, and throughout Australia. He ends 2016 in India, performing in six cities over three weeks with Taikoz and Sydney-based dance troupe Lingalayum.

Riley has often said that his favourite event on his busy touring schedule has always been the Rockies Camp. He looks forward to seeing you there in 2017.


David Kansuke Wheeler

Musician and musicologist, David visited Japan in 1977 as an exchange student and entered the tutelage of shakuhachi master Junsuke Kawase III. In 1981, he returned to Japan on a Japanese Education Ministry scholarship to do graduate study at the Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music, where he recieved his M. A. in musicology in 1985. Since 1982, David has been performing, teaching, lecturing, and writing about the shakuhachi and Japanese music both in Japan and around the world, and has made numerous performance appearances on Japanese television and radio. While he specializes in the classical traditions of Sankyoku ensemble and Kinko-ryu Honkyoku, his performance activities cover the full range of music today; everything from Japanese to Western, from classical to the avant garde. David was a visiting Japanese music lecturer and shakuhachi instructor at the College of Music at the University of Colorado, where he co-organized and prepared the World Shakuhachi Festival 1998 (July 5-11) at CU Boulder, and also lectures and instructs students at Naropa University. He lives in Boulder, Colorado, and teaches, lectures and performs around the US, in Japan and elsewhere.

Kaoru Kakizakai

Kaoru Kakizakai is an internationally renowned player and teacher of the shakuhachi, a traditional vertical bamboo flute of Japan.Kakizakai studied under and recorded with Yokoyama Katsuya. He graduated from the NHK Traditional Music Conservatory and is a past winner of the Kumamoto All Japan Hougaku competition. Kakizakai has performed widely in Japan and abroad, notably as shakuhachi soloist in Toru Takemitsu's November Steps with the NHK Symphony Orchestra. As of 2006, he is a research fellow at the Tokyo College of Music. He is also full-time instructor for the International Shakuhachi Kenshukan and NHK Culture Centre, and President of the International Shakuhachi Kenshu-kan Chichibu School and Oizumigakuen School. He is a member of the regular faculty of the Shakuhachi Summer Camp of the Rockies in Colorado (USA).

Christopher Yohmei Blasdel


Christopher Yohmei Blasdel co-organized the World Shakuhachi Festival ’98 held in Boulder, Colorado and was a member of the executive committee for the World Shakuhachi Festival, Sydney, 2008. He co-founded the Prague Shakuhachi Festival in 2006 and was its senior advisor until 2015. In July, 2004, he was one of the featured musicians at the Sarawak Rainforest World Music Festival. Presently, Blasdel is an adjunct lecturer (Japanese music) at the University of Hawai’i, Mānoa and one of the founders and teachers of the Seiha Hōgaku Summer School. Blasdel holds a fourth-degree black belt in Aikido. www.yohmei.com


Yoko Hiraoka


Yoko Hiraoka is a senior master performer of Koto, Shamisen and Jiuta voice. Her professional performance career originated in Kyoto, Japan and spans almost 30 years. As a Jiuta singer she draws on literary sources as varied as the Kokin-waka shu and the Tales of Genji and Heike, performing classical pieces from the early 17th. Century onwards. Her repertoire includes Twentieth Century contemporary Japanese works for koto and shamisen.

She performs extensively in both countries at festivals, concerts, lectures-recitals, and in television and studio recordings. She has been a member of Kyoto Hogaku Group (an orchestra of traditional Japanese instruments) and Kyoto Sankyoku-kai in Japan. She also plays with the Kyoto-based Shikandaza Ensemble. Performances have included playing on the album Mandala by Kitaro, and performing at the International Shakuhachi Festival, Art Institute of Chicago, Bowdoin College, the Aspen Dance Festival and at other venues including Emory University, Portland Art Museum, the World Bank Headquarters in Washington, D.C. and major music festivals throughout the USA.

Ms. Hiraoka has taught world music ensemble at the University of Colorado and currently teaches students at Naropa University in Boulder. Her repertoire includes contemporary compositions and improvisations with Western instrumentalists.

Charles Peck 2014