The Prague Shakuhachi Summer School took place from August 18-21. Participants came from Czech republic, England, Holland and Ireland. The teachers were Christopher Yohmei Blasdel, Vlastislav Matousek and Kees Kort.

The summer school venue was close to the centre of Prague. Evening concerts took
place in a local church and literary cafe. One of the evening concerts featured collaborations between poets James Ragan and Petr Berkovec and shakuhachi players. The first half contained performances by Vlastislak Matousek and Marek Matvija accompaning the poetry of Petr Berkovec. In the second half Christoper Yohmei Blasdel accompanied James Ragan.

There was an evening concert devoted to honkyoku and another to contemporary music. These were held in a church with excellent acoustics in the old town.

The summer school included workshops on honkyoku, morning yoga classes and presentations. The pieces taught included Tamuke, Hifumi hachigaeshi and Kyorei. David Bidlo and I did a presentation on shakuhachi acoustics.

The city of Prague provided excellent opportunities for sight-seeing. Meals and accommodation were also quite affordable.

Many thanks to Marek and Vlastislav for an amazing summer school. I think everyone will be back for more next year.

The Second European Shakuhachi Society Summer School 2007 welcomed over fifty participants from Europe and Japan. It was held in the town of Munster in the Alsace region in France. The town is famous for the nestling of cranes in the rooftops.

The venue at Kleebach was perfect for workshops. Pieces taught included honkyoku from various schools (including KSK and Tozan), sankyoku and shinkyoku. I presented a workshop on Irish music on shakuhachi.

There was a concert each evening. The first evening concert was an open mic session at Hotel de Ville. Then there were two teachers’ concerts and the final participants’ concert.

The surrounding hills and closeness to nature made this summer school special.

For me, the highlights were the classes taught and performances by Furuya-sensei and Kakizakai-sensei, two of Yokoyama’s leading pupils.

The summer school would not have taken place without the work of Veronique Piron and Jim Franklin. The teachers and performers included Furuya Teruo, Kakizakai Kaoru, Veronique Piron, Jim Franklin, Watanabe Haruko, Sozan Chiaki Kariya (assisted by Jean Francois Lagrost), Onishi Mizuka, Andreas Gutzwiller and Daniel Lifermann.

This event was evidence of the popularity of the shakuhachi in Europe. We look forward to more pan-European shakuhachi events next year. Many thanks to Albert for the photos. Find out more about the European Shakuhachi Society.

Shakuhachi Zen blog

August 27, 2007

Check back for blogs on the European Shakuhachi Summer School and Prague Shakuhachi Summer School.