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James Nyoraku Schlefer   PDF  Print  E-mail 

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. His music has been featured on NPR's All Things Considered.

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.

James and Margot Reisinger
at Minho Sound Studios

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.

He 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. albums.

CDs with James Nyoraku Schlefer
at Costa Verde Production
Inner Realm

Inner Realm - Relaxation, Healing , Meditation, Inner Balance
Music For Inner Balance series

Discover with Margot Reisinger your very own source of healing and meditation.

Light of Asia

Light of Asia - World music, Asia , Meditation, Ethnic Fusion
Music For Inner Balance series

The light of Spirituality - shining through the perfection of Japanese Zen gardens, the purity of snowclad Himalayan mountain peaks and the wisdom of the Tao...

Qi Chi Ki

Qi Chi Ki - World music, Asia - by Existence
A meditative voyage to the Far East, exploring the source of vital energy and concentration
Buddha and Bonsai Vol.5

Buddha and Bonsai Vol.4 by Margot Reisinger
The power of silence - pure meditation music
Buddha and Bonsai Vol.4

Buddha and Bonsai Vol.4 by Margot Reisinger
A feeling of Zen and the sacredness of life in health and inner balance - pure meditation music

Receiving Shi-Han license from Yodo Kurahashi II

Solo albums and recordings available at
In the Moment
Flare Up
Solstice Spirit
Wind Heart

James and Margot Reisinger at Minho Sound Studios

James Nyoraku Schlefer in the traditional
Japanese manner of shakuhachi playing



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