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Cornelius Shinzen Boots


Boots, Cornelius Shinzen
Born 1974

Composer & Shakuhachi

Cornelius Shinzen Boots is an award-winning composer and performs internationally. He is a bass clarinet performance specialist, a Zen shakuhachi and Taimu bamboo flute expert, and a devotee of the Respirational Arts. He has music degrees from Indiana University (BM Clarinet Performance, BS Audio Recording, MM Jazz Studies), and is the first student of Grandmaster Michael Chikuzen Gould to have earned a Shihan (master teaching license) and was given the shakuhachi name 深禅 "Shinzen" (depth Zen or deep Zen). In addition to teaching, Cornelius has recorded and written, in shakuhachi calligraphic notation, a series of 27 etudes (mukyoku) for Taimu shakuhachi. He plays all types of flutes, but specializes in jinashi and large-bore shakuhachi.

He currently performs shakuhachi in a variety of contexts: with Sabbaticus Rex, an elemental sound-structuring ensemble featuring shakuhachi, overtone gongs and Bazantar; with the Hermetic Bamboo Flute Method, a solo, improvised, chance operations performance; and "standard" solo with a mixed repertoire of Buddhist honkyoku (Meian and dokyoku), mukyoku (original compositions for Taimu) and original compositions and arrangements, including "renegade nature music": arrangements of blues, rock and metal songs with nature-themed titles (including songs from Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd and Lamb of God.) Sabbaticus Rex has released two albums, the "Best of Mukyoku" album features solo Taimu, and an upcoming release features meditation music on large flutes recorded in a cave in Nevada County, California.

Since 1996 he has led and written virtuosic “heavy chamber music” for Edmund Welles, the world’s only original bass clarinet quartet, for which he has composed and arranged over 60 pieces, and with which he has released four albums and an instructional CD ROM. The quartet had featured recitals at Clarinetfests in 2013, 2011 and 2008, Switchboard Music Festivals 2008 and 2009, received a Chamber Music America New Works grant in 2004, and has shared the stage with Medeski, Martin and Wood, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum and Extra Action Marching Band.

He currently records and instructs on flutes, saxophones and clarinets throughout the Bay Area and can be heard on albums by The Kehoe Nation, Faun Fables, Lasher Keen and others. He has presented classes at San Francisco Conservatory, Cal Arts, and UCLA, and has been teaching privately since 1997. In 2012, he was commissioned to compose Chthonic Flute Suite for Areon Flutes, and was featured on film scores: Cicada Princess, Visions of Mustang, and Beard Club. His composition Invisible Orthodoxy for Bb clarinet and tape won first prize in the 2013 International Clarinet Association Composition Competition and was premiered by Stephan Vermeersch in Assisi, Italy.

Cornelius is a Vandoren performing artist and a Mujitsu Shakuhachi affiliate.



  Sabbaticus Rex Sabbaticus Rex

Album by Sabbaticus Rex. This is sound, but not music. It is primordial easy-listening for dinosaurs: slowly shifting elemental improvisations from fat flutes and big gongs. Two full length discs, completely acoustic: shakuhachi, taimu shakuhachi, and gongs.

Mountain Hermit's Secret Wisdom Mountain Hermit's Secret Wisdom

Bass Zen bamboo flutes recorded in a cave. Shakuhachi flute. Contemplative nature music inspired by Zen and Taoist philosophy, breath cultivation and the texture of the living moment. Disc includes files of notation, photos, artwork, and extended notes.

Mukyoku: Compositions for Giant Zen Bamboo Flutes Mukyoku: Compositions for Giant Zen Bamboo Flutes

Renegade Nature Music. These large-bore, raw bamboo flutes evoke the breathy sound of sacred mysteries and create a connection to primordial states of consciousness: the trees singing, the mud chanting, the cave yawning, the sage wandering.

Sabbaticus Rex II Sabbaticus Rex II

Album by Sabbaticus Rex. Walking the razor's edge between the mystical and the scientific, sabbaticus rex II archives the live creation of spontaneous sound structures from bass bamboo shakuhachi flutes, overtone gongs, and the one-and-only Bazantar.

Tracks Recorded

AH & OM take the StageMukyoku: Compositions for Giant Zen Bamboo Flutes
arundinaria tecta Sabbaticus Rex II
bambusa membranacea Sabbaticus Rex
Banshiki (Don't know which version)Mountain Hermit's Secret Wisdom
Chaos ReturnMukyoku: Compositions for Giant Zen Bamboo Flutes
chimonobambusa tumidissinoda Sabbaticus Rex II
Cosmographer's Daughter, TheMukyoku: Compositions for Giant Zen Bamboo Flutes
DaraniMountain Hermit's Secret Wisdom
Demiurge Takes Form, TheMukyoku: Compositions for Giant Zen Bamboo Flutes
dendrocalamus Sabbaticus Rex
DoppelgangerMukyoku: Compositions for Giant Zen Bamboo Flutes
EkohMountain Hermit's Secret Wisdom
gigantochloa luteostriat Sabbaticus Rex
Half of the BeastMukyoku: Compositions for Giant Zen Bamboo Flutes
In Which the Sound Comtemplates You...Mountain Hermit's Secret Wisdom
indocalamus tessalatus Sabbaticus Rex
Mysteries of Harmony and Focus, TheMukyoku: Compositions for Giant Zen Bamboo Flutes
Other, TheMukyoku: Compositions for Giant Zen Bamboo Flutes
oxynanthera Sabbaticus Rex
phyllostachys angusta Sabbaticus Rex
pseudoxytenanthera Sabbaticus Rex
PurgatoryMukyoku: Compositions for Giant Zen Bamboo Flutes
Pythias DualisMukyoku: Compositions for Giant Zen Bamboo Flutes
ShakthamunkiMukyoku: Compositions for Giant Zen Bamboo Flutes
shibataea kumasaca Sabbaticus Rex
ShingetsuMountain Hermit's Secret Wisdom
Shunyata (Boots)Mountain Hermit's Secret Wisdom
Sleeping DragonMountain Hermit's Secret Wisdom
tetragonocalamus angulatusSabbaticus Rex II
Theme of the MendicantMukyoku: Compositions for Giant Zen Bamboo Flutes
thyrsostachys siamensis Sabbaticus Rex
Tree & the Maiden, TheMukyoku: Compositions for Giant Zen Bamboo Flutes

Composed or Arranged

Shakuhachi Compositions
YearTitleKanjiAlternate Title
AH & OM take the Stage

Chaos Return

Cosmographer's Daughter, The

Demiurge Takes Form, The


Half of the Beast

In Which the Sound Comtemplates You...

Mysteries of Harmony and Focus, The

Other, The


Pythias Dualis


Shunyata (Boots)

Sleeping Dragon

Theme of the Mendicant

Tree & the Maiden, The

The International Shakuhachi Society - 2017