EVENT #5 2/3 MARCH 2024
Akihito Obama studied Kinko style shakuhachi and classical honkyoku (KSK) with Toshimitsu ISHIKAWA. A graduate of the NHK Japanese Music Training School, OBAMA also won the New Performers Competition in Tokyo and studied in New York on an Asian Cultural Council scholarship.
Obama was an invited performer at World Shakuhachi Festival London and Sydney. In addition to his solo performances centered on classical honkyoku, he performs in many groups for example The Shakuhachi 5 and LOTUS POSITION. He has performed in 37 different countries around the world.
Obama has produced 10 CDs, including one with his original compositions entitled ‘SUI’, and a honkyoku trilogy ‘The Light in the Silence’. He is a part-time faculty member at Gakushuin University.
GUNNAR JINMEI LINDER
Gunnar Jinmei Linder began studying shakuhachi in Japan in 1985 under the guidance of Yamaguchi Gorō (1933–99), leader of the guild Kinko-ryū Shakuhachi Chikumeisha and designated Living National Treasure.
In 1997 Linder obtained an MA degree as a soloist from the Conservatory of Traditional Music at Tokyo National University of the Arts and was awarded the traditional master title, shihan, and the name Jinmei from Yamaguchi Gorō the following year.
He worked professionally as a performer and shakuhachi teacher in Japan for 20 years before returning to his native Sweden. He now performs and teaches throughout Europe, with regular performances and workshops.
He is also Associate Professor in Japanese language and culture at Stockholm University, where his research focuses on pre-modern performing arts, particularly music from the 17th to the 19th century. In addition, Linder is also a part-time Associate Professor in shakuhachi at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. In 2016 he was awarded the Japanese Foreign Minister’s Commendation for his cultural and academic activities promoting Japanese culture.
JAMES NYORAKU SCHLEFER
James Nyoraku Schlefer is an American Grand Master of the shakuhachi and a teacher in the Kinko school following the lineage of Jin Nyodo. He received his Dai-Shi-Han certificate in 2001, and his second Shi-Han certificate in 2008, from the Mujuan Dojo in Kyoto. His teachers included Yoshio Kurahashi, Reibo Aoki, Katsuya Yokoyama, Kifu Mitsuhashi and Ronnie Nyogetsu Seldin.
As a composer, Nyoraku specializes in chamber and orchestral works combining Japanese and Western instruments. In 2015, he was recognized by Musical America Worldwide as one of their “30 Top Professionals and Key Influencers” for his work both as a composer and Artistic Director of Kyo-Shin-An Arts – a contemporary music organization dedicated to the integration of Japanese instruments into Western classical music.
Nyoraku first heard the shakuhachi over 40 years ago at a sankyoku concert in NYC’s famed Dakota Building. Following the performance, his first effort to draw sound from the instrument was met with total failure; sparking an eternal challenge. Nyoraku has maintained his own dojo in NYC since 1996. He taught shakuhachi at Columbia University for 10 years and is a professor of World Music at New York City College of Technology (CUNY.)
Elizabeth Brown leads a diverse musical life as a performer of shakuhachi, flute, and theremin and is also a composer.
A Juilliard graduate and Guggenheim Fellowship recipient, her music has been featured at World Shakuhachi Festivals in London, Kyoto, Prague, Sydney, and New York. She writes extensively for Japanese traditional instruments and is celebrated both here and in Japan for compositions combining eastern and western sensibilities.
Grand Prize winner in the Makino Yutaka Composition Competition and prizewinner in the Senzoku Gakuen Shakuhachi Composition Competition, her music has been performed in Japan by Pro Musica Nipponia, Reigakusha, Orchestra Asia, and Duo Yumeno.
Brown studied Kinko-ryū shakuhachi with Ralph Samuelson, Mizuno Koumei and Yamato Shudō.