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Masayuki Koga, Shakuhachi Master (Musical Performance), CC 3/7

A wonderful autumn night, fresh and bright;
Over the echo of music and drums from a distant village
The single clear tone of a shakuhachi brings a flood of tears—
Startling me from a deep, melancholy dream.

—Ikkyu
Friday, March 7, 2014
7:30 - 8:30 pm
City Center dining room

The shakuhachi came to Japan from China in the 7th century. By the 13th century there was an offshoot of the Rinzai school called Fuke-shu, whose priests as their main meditative practice would play the shakuhachi. This was called suizen (blowing zen). There was a large repertoire of musical solo meditation pieces built up and these are collectively known as honkyoku. During this period only monks were allowed to play, and the shakuhachi was considered a sacred instrument. Eventually it started to be heard at the court in Kyoto, where a repertoire of ensemble pieces (sankyoku) was created, and after the dissolution of Fuke-shu during the Meiji era the ordinary people of Japan were able to use it for folksongs (Minyo) and western music (Gaikyoku). Masayuki Koga will play a variety of pieces from various styles to give the listeners a musical tour of the world of the "zen flute."

$10 suggested donation. (No one turned away for lack of funds.)

Sample recording


Masayuki Koga is a master shakuhachi player and teacher. Born in Omuta City, Japan, he studied Kinko shakuhachi with his father, Kiichi Koga, and Tozan school with Kazan Sakai in Tokyo. In 1967, he became the youngest member of the award-winning Ensemble Nipponia, and he continued to work with them for the following four years. Having moved to the US in 1973, he founded the Japanese Music Institute of America in 1981. He has taught in the San Francisco Bay Area, at the Naropa Institute and at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. Along with his ensemble group Essence, he has performed at Cal Arts, Lincoln Center, Stanford University and in most major cities of Japan, Germany and Canada.