Masakazu Yoshizawa was born in Japan but educated in the Western musical tradition, receiving his degree from the Tokyo University of Fine Arts.|
An internationally and nationally known, multi-faceted musician, Yoshizawa is perhaps best known publically for his performances with various Japanese flutes (shakuhachi, shinobue, hichiriki, etc.). Besides playing traditional Japanese wind instruments, Yoshizawa was a woodwind specialist, performing on the clarinet, saxaphone, and other Western woodwinds.
Masa was a musician known for his wide range of interests and talents, playing Western woodwinds, the shakuhachi and other Japanese flutes, the tsutsumi through taiko drums, and a variety of keyboards and synthesizers.
Masa performed worldwide with musicians, orchestras, symphonies, and his own group, Kokin Gumi. His most recent work included: performing shakuhachi solos on the soundtrack of and playing the shamisen in the film, Memoirs of a Geisha; playing with YoYo Ma, Itzak Perlman, and
under the direction of John Williams at the 2006 Tanglewood music festival; being the featured performer at the Kennedy Center last fall; and taking Kokin Gumi to the new concert hall in his home prefecture of Furakawa in Japan in May.
A composer for orchestra as well as many Japanese musical forms, Yoshizawa has played on many movie soundtracks including, Jurassic Park, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III.
Yoshizawa has also worked and recorded with Osamu Kitajima, Carlos Nakai, the Crusaders, Berlin, Toshiko Akiyoshi, John Williams, and Henry Mancini, among others.
In addition to his professional performances as a musician, Masakazu Yoshizawa worked as a consultant to composers, arrangers and contractors on all Japanese instruments; gave shakuhachi lessons; and gave lectures on and demonstrations of Japanese musical instruments to schools, clubs, and other organizations.
Masakazu Yoshizawa died after a year long battle with stomach cancer. When he died he was one piece short of finishing the pieces planned for a CD being produced in his honor by Osamu Kitajima. That CD, entitled Shaku Gen (where gen means, genisis, root or beginning) will be released in 2009.