Yodo Kurahashi II is one of Japan’s great Master Shakuhachi flute players.
He has been with this beautiful and evocative bamboo instrument for more than 40 years. His father, also a famous shakuhachi player, was his first teacher as a young boy and Kurahashi-sensei eventually became head of his father’s dojo: Mujuan dojo.
Born in Kyoto in 1949, Kurahashi first took up a shakuhachi at the age of ten, playing an old flute his father gave to him as a ‘practice’ flute (he still plays it!). He began studying under his father, specifically the old honkyoku zen Buddhist solo repertoire his father inherited from his teacher, Jin Nyodo. Eventually the young Yoshio was sent off to study the classical sankyoko ensemble music with Homei Matsumura, the reknowned kinko-ryu player who lives in Nara prefecture.
Growing up, as he did, in a household where traditional Japanese music was always played, and musicians continually visited, Kurahashi-sensei was attuned to the particular forms and rythms of the shakuhachi at an early age. His father, Yodo-sensei, was a well-known teacher and performer and his Mujuan dojo was a hub of shakuhachi activity in the Kyoto area.
At age 60 (2009), Yoshio Kurahashi took his father’s name in honor. He is now known as Yōdo Kurahashi II.
In a career spanning 30 years, Yodo sensei has garnered esteem and accolades from the four corners of the traditional Japanese music world. He is recognised both in Japan and in many countries abroad as a genteel ambassador of shakuhachi and Japanese hogaku traditional music in general. He regularly performs at major concert venues in the USA and his travels and teaching take him all over the world, as far as Israel, Malaysia, China, Thailand, Singapore and Canada. His recordings have won awards and he has appeared often on television in Japan. As a solo player, Yodo Kurahashi is deeply schooled in the ancient zen Buddhist ‘honkyoku’ solo music, which originated in the temples of old Japan as long ago as 700 years. His repertoire includes the classical ensemble music of the Edo period and newly written pieces for shakuhachi and other instruments such as Chinese pipa. He has also premiered and showcased some of the most exciting music written for shakuhachi this century.
Kurahashi regularly travels outside of Japan, actively promoting shakuhachi and teaching students of many nationalities around the world.
1949 Born Kyoto. and studied shakuhachi since childhood under Yodo Kurahashi (father), founder of the Mujuan Shakuhachi School; later under Homei Matsumura of Nara.
1975 Graduated Osaka City Uniuversity
1976 First recital Osaka; received the Osaka Cultural Festival Award.
1980 Became the second director of the Mujuan Shakuhachi School.
1981 Recital in New York, USA.
1982 Premiere of Hiten (A Flying Maiden) for Shakuhachi and Brass composed by Tetsunosuke Kushida, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
1983 Performed in Wuxi, China.
1984 Premiere of Figuration for Shakuhachi and Brass composed by Tetsunosuke Kushida, Kyoto.
1986 Lectures in Tel-Aviv Univ., Hebrew Univ. and Bar-Ilan Univ., and recitals in Jerusalem and Haifa, Israel.
1987 Performed in Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. Performed in the special cocert of Kyoto City Philharmonic Orchestra
1989 Inaugurated as the director of the Kyoto Sankyoku Association(-2000).
Performed in Queens College, Columbia Univ., Wesleyan Univ., Harvard Univ., Princeton Univ., Pennsylvania Univ. and Maryland Univ., USA
1990 Inaugurated as the director of the Kyoto Hogaku Group.
1991 Paticipated in The Art Festival KYO and performed Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat.
Inaugurated as the director of the Kyoto City Art and Culture Association(-1996).
1992 Performed in Beijing and Shanghai, China.
1994 Performed in Queens College and Harvard Univ., USA.
Paticipated in The Art Festival KYO and performed at Kurodani Temple
Instructed for the movie Lone Wolf and Cub, For the Small Hands, directed by Akira Inoue
1995 Performed in Queens College and Wesleyan Univ., USA.
Began annual shakuhachi intensive class in New York and Boulder, Colorado, USA.
1996 Began annual shakuhachi intensive class in Boston, Mass. USA.
Recital in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Premiere of Sugihara for Shakuhachi and Orchestra composed by Meir Mindel, Tel-Aviv, Israel.
1st Mujuan Recital in New York and Boulder, Colorado, USA
1997 Premiere of Bamboo Princess composed by Randall Snyder, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA.
1998 Premiere of Fantasy for Kaguya-Hime composed by Hifumi Shimoyama, Carnegie Hall, New York, USA.
2nd Mujuan Recital in Santa Fe, New Mexico and Boulder, Colorado, USA
Invited to The World Shakuhachi Festival in Boulder 1998.
1999 Began annual shakuhachi intensive class in San Francisco, California. USA.
Inaugurated as the director of the Kyoto Myoan-ji Kyochiku Zenji Hosan-kai Association.
Released CD Kyoto Spirit.
Received the Kyoto City Art/Culture Association Award.
Began the series funny essays for the monthly Japanese magazine Hogaku Journal(-2000).
New Age Magazine(USA) named Kyoto Spirit the “Best Serene Music CD of the year 1999.”
2000 Began annual shakuhachi intensive class in Dallas, Texas, USA.
Formed a trio WYT with a pipa player Wu Man and cellist Andor Toth. First WYT recital: Chicago, USA. ôPerformed in Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto, Canada, with a pipa player Liu Fang and cellist Yegor Dyashkov. ôReleased CD Autumn Dusk with a pipa player Wu Man.
2001 Began annual shakuhachi intensive class in Montreal, Canada.
Began the series funny essays again for the monthly Japanese magazine Hogaku Journal(-2002).
Performed at the opening ceremony of World Table Tennis Championships and East Asian Games in Osaka.
Performed with a koto player Yoko Hiraoka in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. ôRecital at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
2002 Recital at Nebraska University, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA.
Performed with a pipa player Gao Hong, a flutist James Newton and a sitar player Shubhendra Rao in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.
2003 Recital in Hamilton, Bermuda.
Performed at the opening ceremony of 3rd World Water Forum in Osaka.
2004 Recital at Smith College, Northampton, and lectured at Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts, USA.
Participated in The World Shakuhachi Festival in New York 2004 as an executive.
Recital at The University of Maryland, USA.
2005 Joint Recital with a koto player Ayako Kurahashi at The University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, USA.
Joint Recital with a koto player Ayako Kurahashi in Houston and in Dallas, Texas, USA.
2006 Joint Recital with a koto player Yoko Itatani Hirano in Ottawa, Canada.
Joint Recital with a zheng/pipa player Liu Fang in Gent, Belgium.
2007 Joint Recital with a zheng/pipa player Liu Fang in The Hague, Amsterdam, Utrecht, Rottherdam and Almere, The Netherlands.
Joint Recital with a koto/sangen player Ayako Kurahashi and a koto player Miyuki Yoshikami in Bethesda and at Towson University in Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
Joint Recital with a koto/sangen player Ayako Kurahashi and a koto player Miyuki Yoshikami at The Museum of Natural History, Washington DC, USA, organized by The Smithonian Institution.
Joint Recital with a sangen player Ayako Kurahashi and a koto player Yoko Itatani Hirano at The University of the Pacific, Stockton, California, USA.
2008 Recital at Maison des Cultures du Monde, Paris, France.
Released CD by INEDIT, Paris, France. ôParticipated in The World Shakuhachi Festival in Sydney 2008 as an executive, Australia. ôRecital in Haifa, Israel.
Performed Sugihara for Shakuhachi and Orchestra, Ashkelon, Israel.
Joint Recital with a sangen player Shigehiro Shimada and a koto player Ayako Kurahashi in Gent, Belgium, and in Kloosterzande, The Netherlands.
Performed with a pipa player Liu Fang, South African musician Pops Mohamed and Iranian percussionist Ziya Tabassian in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
2009 Joint Recital with Shomyo Shichiseikai of Kyoto in Antwerp Belgium, Amsterdam and Utrecht The Netherlands.
Invited to The European Shakuhachi Summer School as an instructor, Leiden, The Netherlands.
Took a name Yodo Kurahashi the Second. ôMujuan Celebration Shakuhachi Recital in Kyoto.
2010 Recital in New York, USA.
Recital at Naropa University, Boulder, Colorado, USA. ôRecital in Hamilton, Bermuda.
Composed and performed music for the movie “Lost Mind in Spring”, directed by Yoichi Takabayashi, to be released in 2011.
Joint Recital with a koto player Ayako Kurahashi in Hautes-Laurentides, Quebec, Canada.
Re-inaugurated as the director of the Kyoto Sankyoku Association.