Yoshio Kurahashi started studying the shakuhachi as a child, with his father Yôdô Kurahashi I, 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.
Kurahashi 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. He also single-handedly put on World Shakuhachi Festival 2012 in Kyoto, and of course Shakuhachi Camp went to Kyoto that summer.
Riley Lee began studying shakuhachi in Japan in 1971. In 1980, he became the first non-Japanese dai shihan (lit. ‘great teacher’). He was also the first non-Japanese to play wadaiko (Japanese drums) professionally (from 1974) as a founding member of Ondekoza (now Kodo).
Riley moved from Honolulu, Hawaii to Sydney in 1986 with his wife 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.
He was the Executive Director, Artistic Director and major sponsor of World Shakuhachi Festival 2008, held in Sydney. This highly acclaimed international event was organised primarily by some of the faculty of the Rockies Shakuhachi Camp. That year, Shakuhachi Camp was held in Sydney and was called “Shakuhachi Summer Camp of the Rockies Down Under.”
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 2018.
Musician and musicologist, David visited Japan in 1977 as an exchange student and entered the tutelage of shakuhachi master Junsuke Kawase III (Junsuke I). He received his MA in musicology from Tokyo National 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. Wheeler 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 at CU Boulder, and also lectures and instructs students at Naropa University. In 2008, he received the performance name Kansuke II. He lives in Boulder, Colorado, and teaches, lectures and performs around the US, in Japan and elsewhere.
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 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 is a senior master performer of Koto, Shamisen and Jiuta voice. Her professional performance career originated in Kyoto, Japan and spans over 30 years. As a Jiuta singer she performs classical pieces from as early as the 17th century. Her repertoire also includes contemporary Japanese works for koto and shamisen.
She performs extensively in both countries at festivals, concerts, lectures-recitals, and in television and studio recordings. Hiraoka also plays with the Kyoto-based Shikandaza Ensemble and played on the album Mandala’ by Kitaro, as well as performing at the Boulder World Shakuhachi Festival, and colleges, univeristies and music festivals throughout the USA.
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.