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The International Shakuhachi Society

James Nyoraku 如楽 Schlefer

如楽

Schlefer, James Nyoraku 如楽
Born 1956/08/31

Shakuhachi & Composer
james@nyoraku.com
http://www.nyoraku.com/

James Nyoraku Schlefer is a leading performer and teacher of shakuhachi in New York City. Called “A Master of the Shakuhachi” by The New York Times, he received the Dai-Shi-Han (Grand Master) certificate in 2001, one of only a handful of non-Japanese to receive this high level award. In 2008, he received his second Shi-Han certificate from Mujuan Dojo, in Kyoto. In Japan, Schlefer has worked with Reibo Aoki, Katsuya Yokoyama, Yoshio Kurahashi, Yoshinobu Taniguchi, and Kifu Mitsuhashi. His first teacher was Ronnie Nyogetsu Seldin. He holds a Master's degree in Western flute and musicology from Queens College and currently teaches music history courses at the City University of New York. He has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Tanglewood’s Ozawa Hall, BAM, the Metropolitan Museum, and at colleges and universities throughout the US. Schlefer has four solo recordings, Wind Heart (which travelled 120,000,000 miles aboard the Space Station MIR) Solstice Spirit (1998), Flare Up (2002), and In The Moment (2008). His music has been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered.

Beginning in Fall 2011 he is the shakuhachi teacher for the Hogaku/Gagaku program at Columbia University in New York City.

Schlefer first heard the shakuhachi in 1979, while working towards his Master’s degree in musicology. This was at a musical soiree in New York’s famed Dakota building, hosted by one of the professors at the CUNY Graduate Center. There was a sankyoku ensemble of shakuhachi, koto and shamisen, and following the recital, Schlefer was offered the opportunity to play the bamboo flute. The effort was met with total failure and taking that as a mandate, he began his now three-decade long pursuit.

Schlefer is a member of the Japanese music group Ensemble East, which performs traditional and modern music for Japanese instruments, including the shamisen and the koto. An exceptional solo artist, his appearances include lectures about the origin, history, and development of Japanese music. Schlefer has been a soloist in several orchestral settings including the New York City Opera, Karl Jenkins’ Requiem, and others. He has performed and lectured at Duke University (in two, week-long artist residencies), and at the Juilliard School, Manhattan and Eastman Schools of Music, Vassar, Haverford, Brown, Union, Moravian, Colby, Colby-Sawyer, Williams and Hunter Colleges, and at music festivals in the US, South America, Asia and Europe.


Nyoraku Sensei is head of the Kyo-Shin-An teaching studio in New York City. He has published books of traditional notation and written two etude books for shakuhachi technical development. As a composer, Schlefer has written many pieces for Japanese instruments including a shakuhachi concerto, a quintet for shakuhachi and string quartet, and numerous pieces for traditional Japanese instruments.

Teachers

Students

Albums

Buddha and Bonsai Buddha and Bonsai

New Age album with prominent shakuhachi solos throughout.

Flare Up Flare Up

IN THE MOMENT IN THE MOMENT

Classic Honkyoku

Light of Asia Light of Asia

New Age recording with shakuhachi solos throughout.

Solstice Spirit Solstice Spirit

Several honkyoku, a composition by Fukuda Rando, and two of Nyoraku's own including an extended suite for an orchestra of 18 variously-sized shakuhachi.

SPRING SOUNDS, SPRING SEAS SPRING SOUNDS, SPRING SEAS

Original Compositions by: JAMES NYORAKU SCHLEFER: "Haru No Umi Redux", "Shakuhachi Concerto" DARON HAGEN: "Koto Concerto: Genji" JAMES NYORAKU SCHLEFER shakuhachi YUMI KUROSAWA 20-string koto
 ORCHESTRA OF THE SWAN KENNETH WOODS conductor DAVID CURTIS conductor

Wind Heart Wind Heart

Honkyoku and modern music for the shakuhachi.

Tracks Recorded

ShakuhachiAlbum
Amazing GracePrayer for the Missing, A
Azuma no Kyoku (Kinko Ryu)Solstice Spirit
BanjiFlare Up
Esashi OiwakeWind Heart
Flare UpFlare Up
IchijoFlare Up
Kokû (Nezasa Ha)Flare Up
Kumoi JishiWind Heart
Matsukaze (Nezasa Ha)Solstice Spirit
Miyama HigurashiSolstice Spirit
Night PondWind Heart
OmaeWind Heart
Reibo (Echigo)Wind Heart
San'ya (Brooklyn)Flare Up
San'ya (Echigo - Betsuden)Wind Heart
San'ya (Echigo)Wind Heart
San'ya (Jinbo)Flare Up
Solstice SpiritPrayer for the Missing, A
Solstice SpiritSolstice Spirit
Solstice SpiritSolstice Spirit
Solstice SpiritSolstice Spirit
Solstice SpiritSolstice Spirit
Solstice SpiritSolstice Spirit
Solstice SpiritSolstice Spirit
Solstice SpiritSolstice Spirit
Solstice SpiritSolstice Spirit
Solstice SpiritSolstice Spirit
Solstice SpiritSolstice Spirit
Tabibito no UtaWind Heart
Tsuru no Sugomori (Don't know which version)Solstice Spirit
Tsuru no Sugomori (Futaiken)Flare Up
Variations on Amazing GraceSolstice Spirit

Composed or Arranged

Shakuhachi Compositions
YearTitleKanjiAlternate Title
1996
Variations on Amazing Grace

1997
Solstice Spirit

1997
Timeless Moment

1999
San'ya (Brooklyn)

2002
Flare Up

2004
Duo No. 1 for Shakuhachi and Koto

2006
Duo No. 2 for Shakuhachi and Shamisen

2006
Quintet for Shakuhachi and String Quartet

2007
Duo No. 3 for Shakuhachi and 20-string Koto

2007
SHAKUHACHI DUETS

2008
THE PRACTICAL SHAKUHACHI
Etudes for Technical Development
2009
Concerto for Shakuhachi and Chamber Orchestra

2010
Haru no Umi Redux
Shakuhachi, Koto, String Orchestra
2010
OASHISU - Shakuhachi, Koto, Cello, Percussion

2011
A Smile on the Buddha Calm
Shakuhachi, Piano, Violin, Cello
2011
Sankyoku No. 1
Shakuhachi, Koto, Cello
2011
Take Rei竹鈴
Shakhachi and Crotales


The International Shakuhachi Society - 2017