Kaoru Watanabe

Kaoru Watanabe





Kaoru Watanabe

  • $30 Assigned Rows 1-2
  • $20 Assigned Rows 3-5
  • $15 General Admission
  • $5 Student
  • Kaoru Watanabe, composer/multi-instrument
  • Fumi Tanakadate, taiko/shinobue & piano

Kaoru Watanabe

Kaoru Watanabe is a Brooklyn based composer and musician, specializing in the Japanese taiko drum and shinobue flutes. He has spent decades artfully blending the sounds of Japanese instruments with those from around the world, collaborating with such artists as National Living Treasure Bando Tamasaburo, Jason Moran, So Percussion, Adam Rudolph, Kenny Endo, Stefon Harris, Kiyohiko Semba, Alicia Hall Moran, Tamango, calligrapher Kakinuma Koji, visual artist Simone Leigh, and director Martin Scorsese, and was a featured guest on Yo-Yo Ma's Grammy Award-winning album Sing Me Home.

After graduating from Manhattan School of Music with a BA in jazz flute and saxophone, Watanabe moved to Japan and joined the world-renowned taiko performing arts ensemble Kodo, the first non-Japanese to do so. He spent close to a decade performing with Kodo as well as acting as artistic director of their world music festival Earth Celebration, where he curated works with such esteemed guests as Zakir Hussain, Giovanni Hidalgo, Carlos Nunez and Yosuke Yamashita.

In the decade since leaving Japan to return to New York City, Watanabe has focused on elevating the quality, sophistication, and depth of his music by collaborating with high-caliber artists of various disciplines and cultures, and by stripping his performances down to essential components and fastidiously avoiding the flashy, pseudo-ritualistic and superfluous elements that are commonly found in taiko shows.

Watanabe has performed his compositions at such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, Kabukiza and in Minamiza, has performed in all 47 prefectures in Japan as well as across the North, Central and South Americas, Europe, Asia and Australia.

As a passionate educator, Kaoru has taught courses at Princeton University, Wesleyan University, Colby and Dickinson Colleges and has been a faculty member at Tanglewood Music Festival and the Silk Road Project's Global Musician Workshop at DePauw University. Kaoru is an instructor for kaDON, an online taiko and fue resource presented by preeminent taiko maker Miyamoto Unosuke Shoten of Tokyo.