┬ęTodd Rosenberg
Select Press Quotes

"[Kojiro Umezaki] is a brilliant artist who improvises, composes and works with electronic media.  He's both an unbelievable musician, performer, as well as a presenter, teacher and creator." - Yo-Yo Ma

"A virtuosic, deeply expressive shakuhachi player and composer" - The New York Times

"...simply mesmerizing." - World Music Central

"A showy and spectacular master of the shakuhachi" - Los Angeles Times

"Umezaki brings the shakuhachi into today's music." - All Music Guide

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Old Site

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Born to a Japanese father and Danish mother, Kojiro Umezaki grew up in Tokyo and is a performer of the shakuhachi, a composer of electro-acoustic works, and a technologist with interests in developing portable and mobile interactive music systems for live performance.
He performs regularly with the Grammy-nominated Silk Road Ensemble with whom he appears on the recordings Beyond the Horizon (Sony BMG, 2005), New Impossibilities (Sony BMG, 2007), Off the Map (World Village, 2009), and A Playlist Without Borders (Sony Masterworks, 2013). Other notable recordings of his work have been released on Brooklyn Rider's Dominant Curve (In A Circle, 2010); Yo-Yo Ma's Appassionato (Sony BMG, 2007) and Songs of Joy and Peace (Sony BMG, 2008); Beat in Fractions' Beat Infraction (Healthy Boys, 2007); and The Silk Road: A Musical Caravan (Smithsonian Folkways, 2002). Recent commissioned compositions and producer credits include those for Brooklyn Rider (2009), Joseph Gramley (2009, 2010), Huun Huur Tu (Ancestors Call, 2010), and the Silk Road Ensemble (2012).
As Assistant Professor of Music at the University of California, Irvine, he is a core faculty member of the Integrated Composition, Improvisation, and Technology (ICIT) group where his research focuses on forms of hybrid music at the intersection of tradition and technology and intercultural musical practices across the historic Silk Road regions and beyond.
The shakuhachi is made from the base of a bamboo stalk with holes drilled into the center and the sides. The instrument is played by blowing air across the beveled edge at the top end while covering and uncovering the holes with fingertips.
The shakuhachi has been used in Japanese Zen Buddhist meditation since the 15th century. The sounds produced by the instrument range from soft whispers to strong piercing tones. They are intended to reflect sounds in nature, such as birdcalls, wind and water. Today the shakuhachi is also often played in jazz, orchestral and popular music ensembles.