Shinobue Flute, Taiko Drums
Kaoru Watanabe is a Brooklyn-based composer and musician who specializes in the Japanese shinobue flutes and taiko drums. Watanabe creates music that is at once personal, philosophical, meditative and virtuosic, that reflects his extensive background in Japanese traditional musics, American jazz and his devotion to cross-cultural musical collaboration.
Watanabe was a performer and artistic director of the internationally acclaimed Japanese taiko performing arts ensemble Kodo for close to a decade and who, as a soloist, has worked with a diverse array of artists, from as National Living Treasure Bando Tamasaburo, jazz pianist Jason Moran and flamenco dancer Eva Yerbabuena. Watanabe was a guest artist on Yo-Yo Ma's Grammy Award-winning album Sing Me Home, the featured taiko drummer and a composer for Wes Anderson's film Isle of Dogs and was an orchestral soloist and composer with the Sydney Symphony at the Sydney Opera House.
Watanabe has performed his compositions at such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center and Kabukiza, 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, Watanabe has taught at Princeton and Wesleyan Universities and at the Tanglewood Music Festival. Watanabe also has a studio in Brooklyn that holds regular classes as well as hosts workshops by international master musicians and dancers.
Watanabe is supported by preeminent taiko maker Miyamoto Unosuke Shoten of Tokyo and master shinobue flute maker Ranjo of Chiba Prefecture.