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The International Shakuhachi Society

Dr James Franklin

Franklin, Dr James
Born 1959


Dr James Franklin, born in Australia, started playing piano at the age of 9; later, he studied classical Western music at the University of Sydney and trained as a composer. He lived in Europe for several years, where he became involved with electronic music as well as acoustic composition. On returning to Australia, he met shakuhachi grand master Riley Lee, and in 1988, Lee and Franklin recorded a first album together; the start of a series of fruitful collaborations, including recordings, commissioned compositions, and concerts. Following this, Franklin decided to learn shakuhachi himself, and commenced studying with Lee. In 1996, Franklin continued his shakuhachi studies with Katsuya Yokoyama, and in December 1996, received the title of Shihan from him.

Born in Sydney in 1959, Dr James Franklin holds the degrees of Bachelor of Music (with Honours) and Master of Music from the University of Sydney, and a Phd. He has studied with Peter Sculthorpe, Milko Keleman and Ton de Leeuw. Franklin has himself taught at the University of Sydney, and at the University of Western Sydney's Nepean Campus. He is also a performer on shakuhachi.

Franklin has received a number of awards for his compositions, including the Makinson Prize in 1980, the 1981 Donald Peart Memorial Award, and the Young Composers' Orchestral Award in 1982. In 1990 his score for the multi-media piece Japanischer Garten received the award for Best Original Soundtrack at the 4th Munich International Multi-Media Festival. The entire work was awarded first prize in the art/entertainment category, and was selected to represent Europe at the International Multi-Media Festival in Dallas, USA in 1991. Franklin has been the recipient of commissions from such performers and groups as Riley Lee, Chin Kham Yoke, Ulrike Flaig, Human Veins Dance Theatre, Kinetic Energy Performing Arts, and Southern Crossings. He now divides his time between Australia and Europe.




Abundance Abundance

Abundance is an acoustic collaboration between two talented multi–instrumentalists in which they attempt to blend influences of all the cultures whose music they have encountered and studied during the course of their careers.

Butsuga Butsuga

Recorded on location in a Japanese garden, a place where the harmony of the natural world becomes self–evident, the music was conceived and presented as a journey through the garden both in space and time.

Hearing Stillness

Traditional Honkyoku

Moon Road to Dawn Moon Road to Dawn

Moon Road to Dawn, expresses itself through fluid interchange of tonal structures, timbral devices and performing techniques, focusing largely on the non–Western instruments, but also incorporating clarinet and saxophone.

Water Spirits - Honoka Water Spirits - Honoka

Water Spirits resulted from the same period of intense collaboration between Satsuki Odamura and James Ashley Franklin as the dawning of Honoka. The titles of each track, as well as that of the recording itself, reflect the feeling which underlies all the music: the sounds, sights and textures of water, found in different landscapes and manifestations, from streams in the mountains to noble coastlines.

Tracks Recorded

KirisameWater Spirits - Honoka
Lonely HeadlandsWater Spirits - Honoka
Mountain StreamWater Spirits - Honoka

Composed or Arranged

Shakuhachi Compositions
YearTitleKanjiAlternate Title

Dewdrop Pearls

Misty Rain

Lonely Headlands

Mountain Stream

Three Portals

Song of the Mist

The International Shakuhachi Society - 2018