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The International Shakuhachi Society

Cornelius Shinzen Boots


Boots, Cornelius Shinzen
Born 1974

Composer & Shakuhachi

Cornelius Boots (MM, Shihan) is a woodwind composer-performer, jinashi shakuhachi master, breathing ambassador and educator. Active internationally since 1990, Boots' love affair with reeds and bamboo began at age 9. His shakuhachi name is 深禅 (Shinzen) deep Zen and he is a licensed shihan (master) in the dynamic Zen lineage of Watazumido, the first student of Grandmaster Michael Chikuzen Gould to have earned a Shihan (2013). After a 30-year career of high-caliber jazz, classical, rock and experimental music activities on multiple woodwinds (including three music degrees from the Jacobs School of Music, BM Clarinet '97, BS Audio '97, MM Jazz Studies '99), Boots has positioned himself at the crossroads of personal expression and divine revelation. Influenced by forest ecology and wood elementals, he now only plays bamboo shakuhachi as a living art form evolving from the depths of contemplative Zen Taoist practice, specializing in jinashi and large-bore shakuhachi.

Audiences can expect Buddhist nature hymns, original blues compositions and rock anthems on standard & Taimu (bass) shakuhachi: bamboo gospel. Previously, Boots was the founder and leader of Edmund Welles: the bass clarinet quartet and Sabbaticus Rex (easy listening for dinosaurs). He has contributed to film scores and collaborative projects, released over 20 albums as a leader and created dozens of original scores and instructional materials for his private lesson studio, including in shakuhachi calligraphic notation, a series of 27 etudes (mukyoku 無曲) for Taimu shakuhachi. He has won composition awards (International Clarinet Association, 1st Place, 2013; International Songwriting Competition, 2nd Place, 2006) and received grants and commissions from Chamber Music America and The Doris Duke Foundation, San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music, Areon Flutes, Crescent Duo and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Boots has performed concerts in Japan, festivals in Switzerland, Italy, Prague, San Francisco and Chicago and given lecture-performances at Esalen, S.A.N.D., San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Cal Arts, UCLA, Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Sanshinji Temple, University of Memphis, University of Mississippi (Ole Miss), University of Southern Oregon and beyond.

His two recent albums, Mountain Hermit's Secret Wisdom (2013) and Holy Flute (Shakuhachi Unleashed Vol. I) (2017), reveal the yin and yang energies infusing his pioneering approach to this ancient bamboo meditation instrument, featuring virtuosic new solo compositions, rock, blues and metal cover song arrangements (Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Danzig, and more), and basic honkyoku 本曲 on large flutes recorded in a cave in Nevada County, California.

Cornelius is a Vandoren performing artist, a Mujitsu Shakuhachi and Chikuzen Studios affiliate, and a member of the International Shakuhachi Society, the World Flute Society, Chamber Music America, New Music USA and Save the Redwoods.



  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.

Bamboo Rising (Shakuhachi Unleashed, Vol. II) Bamboo Rising (Shakuhachi Unleashed, Vol. II)

The hot breath of Life––as Music. Solo classic rock shakuhachi. Virtuosic nature hymns & anthems. Offering up the breadth of big bamboo's breath-powered musicality. Continuing the Shakuhachi Unleashed Series that started with Holy Flute, Bamboo Rising presents a unique style of advanced, expressive solo shakuhachi performance: hermit blues, bamboo gospel. Original compositions and classic rock and metal arrangements--with the mojo intact. This album is dedicated to Son House.

Holy Flute Holy Flute

Hard rock and sacred nature music are brought together in the voice of the solo flute: the Japanese Zen shakuhachi. This bamboo flute is known for being evocative and provocative, ethereal, and very difficult to play. The breadth of its breath-powered musicality is brought to you in Holy Flute. This album combines the energy and structure of carefully chosen rock songs--originals and covers--with the inspiring, one-of-a-kind sounds of the shakuhachi.

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
Baby Bear Drinks TeaBamboo Rising (Shakuhachi Unleashed, Vol. II)
bambusa membranacea Sabbaticus Rex
Banshiki (Don't know which version)Mountain Hermit's Secret Wisdom
Behind the Wall of SleepHoly Flute
Blacken the Cursed SunHoly Flute
Chaos ReturnMukyoku: Compositions for Giant Zen Bamboo Flutes
chimonobambusa tumidissinoda Sabbaticus Rex II
Cosmographer's Daughter, TheMukyoku: Compositions for Giant Zen Bamboo Flutes
Creature with the Atom BrainBamboo Rising (Shakuhachi Unleashed, Vol. II)
Damaged SoulHoly Flute
DaraniMountain Hermit's Secret Wisdom
Demiurge Takes Form, TheMukyoku: Compositions for Giant Zen Bamboo Flutes
dendrocalamus Sabbaticus Rex
Devil Points, TheHoly Flute
DoppelgangerMukyoku: Compositions for Giant Zen Bamboo Flutes
EkohMountain Hermit's Secret Wisdom
FreebirdBamboo Rising (Shakuhachi Unleashed, Vol. II)
GenerusluHoly Flute
gigantochloa luteostriat Sabbaticus Rex
Green Swampy WaterBamboo Rising (Shakuhachi Unleashed, Vol. II)
Greening of Mount Subasio, TheBamboo Rising (Shakuhachi Unleashed, Vol. II)
Half of the BeastMukyoku: Compositions for Giant Zen Bamboo Flutes
Heaven and HellHoly Flute
Hung from the MoonBamboo Rising (Shakuhachi Unleashed, Vol. II)
Hymn to the She-Dragon of the DeepHoly Flute
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
No QuarterHoly Flute
Obscured by CloudsBamboo Rising (Shakuhachi Unleashed, Vol. II)
One Brown MouseBamboo Rising (Shakuhachi Unleashed, Vol. II)
Other, TheMukyoku: Compositions for Giant Zen Bamboo Flutes
Over the Hills and Far AwayBamboo Rising (Shakuhachi Unleashed, Vol. II)
oxynanthera Sabbaticus Rex
phyllostachys angusta Sabbaticus Rex
pseudoxytenanthera Sabbaticus Rex
PurgatoryHoly Flute
PurgatoryMukyoku: Compositions for Giant Zen Bamboo Flutes
Pythias DualisMukyoku: Compositions for Giant Zen Bamboo Flutes
Run to the HillsBamboo Rising (Shakuhachi Unleashed, Vol. II)
Shadow of the WindBamboo Rising (Shakuhachi Unleashed, Vol. II)
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
Snake Dreams of DragonBamboo Rising (Shakuhachi Unleashed, Vol. II)
Sycamore TreesBamboo Rising (Shakuhachi Unleashed, Vol. II)
Taste of NothingHoly Flute
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
Until You Call On the DarkHoly Flute
Wayward Meteor, TheBamboo Rising (Shakuhachi Unleashed, Vol. II)
Year of the Goat God of the FluteHoly Flute

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

Hymn to the She-Dragon of the Deep

Greening of Mount Subasio, The

Taste of Nothing

Baby Bear Drinks Tea


Year of the Goat God of the Flute

Devil Points, The

Snake Dreams of Dragon

Green Swampy Water

The International Shakuhachi Society - 2018