Nowhere2020 – 1st ESS Online Festival

ESS is happy to officially announce its 2020 online festival!

In keeping with the tradition of the ESS Summer Schools, but bearing in mind the current pandemic situation, this will be an online event of 12 sessions over 4 days, each session 45 minutes in length, with a Robuki and Tricks and Tips session each morning prior to the first teaching session.

Dates: August 1-2, August 8-9, 2020

Special guest teacher from Japan: Kurahashi Yodo II

Non-European guest teachers: Riley Lee, Alcvin Ramos

European teachers: Véronique Piron, Gunnar Linder, Kiku Day, Jean-François Lagrost,
Fiore De Mattia, Thorsten Knaub, Marek Matvija, Jose Vargas.
(Some of these teachers may also have assistants in their sessions.)

Technology used: Zoom


Kurahashi Yodo II

Born and raised in Kyoto city, Kurahashi Yodo II is a performer of Kinko-ryū and koten honkyoku music. He has held koten honkyoku solo recitals in New York, Paris, Jerusalem and Beijing, among other places, and hosts regular courses entitled ‘Shakuhachi Intensive’ in 7 cities in the USA. He was the main organiser of the World Shakuhachi Festival 2012 in Kyoto.

Pieces: Kyorei (beginner), Mukaiji (intermediate). Both of these pieces are said to the oldest shakuhachi pieces. But nobody is sure who created them, or exactly when or where.


Riley Lee

Riley Lee began studying the shakuhachi in 1971 in Japan. In 1980, he became the first non-Japanese acknowledged as a shakuhachi dai shihan (grand master). His teachers were Hoshida Ichizan II, Sakai Chikuho II and Yokoyama Katsuya. He has BA (music) and MA (ethnomusicology) degrees from the University of Hawai’i and a PhD (musicology) from Sydney University. Riley has released over 60 albums, with over 70,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. Born in Texas (1951) and having grown up in Hawai’i, Riley and his young family moved to Australia in 1986. Riley and Patricia now reside permanently in Manly NSW, a suburb of Sydney

Piece: Fumai Inga (beginner/intermediate). Fumai Inga (不昧因果) is a contemporary honkyoku. The title is the Japanese pronunciation of four Chinese characters that literally mean ‘Not ignoring the law of cause and effect’. This phrase, together with the related phrase, ‘furaku inga’ (not falling under the law of cause and effect), plays a central role in the famous Zen Buddhist koan called Hyakujo’s Fox. In playing Fumai Inga, the breath-phrase, and the dynamics created by controlling the breath, are paramount.


Alcvin Ramos

Alcvin Ryūzen Ramos wa born and trained in Japan in the classical shakuhachi honkyoku (Dokyoku and Zensabo), as well as min’yō (Iccho-kai). He received his shihan license from Yokoyama Katsuya and Kakizakai Kaoru in Japan in 2001, and in 2008, he received the artist name “Ryūzen” from Taniguchi Yoshinobu. Alcvin lives on the Sunshine Coast of BC, Canada where he makes jinashi shakuhachi and shinobue, and teaches shakuhachi, shinobue, and Tsugaru shamisen. He leads the Shakuhachi Roots Pilgrimage every few years through Japan.

Piece: Daha (intermediate/advanced):This is a classic honkyoku piece in the Dokyoku/KSK tradition, expressing a dynamic unity of the opposites (yin and yang) through focused meditation.


Horacio Curti

Horacio Curti was educated in Japan where he received his shakuhachi shihan licence in 2004 in the Kokusai Shakuhachi Kenshukan, becoming the first shakuhachi master in Spain.

He has played as soloist for the Spanish National Orchestra and performed and taught extensively in Europe, Japan, North and South America. He has published two solo albums: Ichi and Home is now.
He is currently chairperson for the European Shakuhachi Society and associate professor at the Catalunya College of Music and coordinator of its Asian music program.

Workshops: Robuki / Tricks and tips


Véronique Piron

Véronique Piron, who comes from the west of France, is a shakuhachi performer-teacher in the style of Yokoyama Katsuya (KSK), who awarded her a shihan licence in 2002 in Tokyo whilst she was the recipient of a research grant. She participated in the creation of the ESS and aided in developing the teaching of the shakuhachi in Europe. As a licensed conservatoire teacher for traditional music, she has been introducing Japanese music to the French education system. Moving between tradition and creation, she has produced a solo programme, a classical trio with koto/shamisen, and meets with composers and musicians from diverse musical cultures. She has recently collaborated with the equestrian theater Zingaro (Paris) in Ex-Anima, and has produced several CDs.

Workshop: Piron will present her perspective on breathing techniques and exercises specifically relevant for shakuhachi.


Gunnar Jinmei Linder

Gunnar Jinmei Linder studied shakuhachi in Japan with Yamaguchi Gorō from 1985. He graduated from Tokyo Geidai in 1997 (MA), and received the name Jinmei together with the Shihan license in 1998. He completed a PhD in Japanology 2012, and received the Japanese Foreign Minister’s Commendation for important academic and cultural activities in 2016.

Piece: Ashi no Shirabe (beginner/intermediate). The word ashi denotes the common reed, thus Ashi no Shirabe is a song to this plant. It is supposed to have been incorporated as a prelude in the Kinko repertoire by Kinko III (1772–1816). Today it is treated as a separate piece, but may be used as a prelude to other honkykoku.


Suizan Lagrost

Suizan Lagrost is professor of art education near Paris. After a traditional curriculum of concert flute, then a DEA of Musicology at Paris-Sorbonne University, he began the shakuhachi in 2000 and obtained in 2014 the title of Dai-Shihan (grand master) from Tozan school.

Piece: Kogarashi (intermediate/advanced). Few of the pieces written by Nakao Tozan were commented on by him. The Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 devastated a large part of Tokyo and in particular the Shiba park, in which Nakao Tozan liked to walk. The cold wind blowing through the bare trees inspired him to compose Kogarashi, in which he expresses deep feelings such as melancholy or anger.


Kiku Day

Kiku Day grew up in Copenhagen, Denmark, the child of a Japanese mother and an American father. She abandoned studies in flute after hearing shakuhachi music. She then spent eleven years in Tokyo studying the Zensabō honkyoku repertoire with Okuda Atsuya. She performs traditional pieces, new music and improvisation. Day holds a PhD in ethnomusicology and works as lecturer and performer of shakuhachi. A founding member and formerly the chairperson of the European Shakuhachi Society, since her return to Europe she has dedicated her life to the dissemination of the shakuhachi. She was chairperson of the World Shakuhachi Festival 2018 Executive Committee.

Piece: Kudariha (beginner/intermediate) is a relatively unknown, short but beautiful and melodic piece from the Hakata Itchoken tradition, although it is no longer in the repertoire of the temple today. The piece is relatively  simple and stays mostly in kan. 


Fiore Seichiku De Mattia

Fiore Seichiku De Mattia has been a follower of Teruhisa Fukuda since 2006. He received his shihan-name Seichiku in 2009. He is very active in Italy, holding workshops and concerts.

The Hijiri Kai school, founded by Teruhisa Fukuda, explores the traditional repertoire, reviewing and composing Honkyoku music, expanding the field of expression by constant research on tone colours. Hijiri Kai combines avant-garde and tradition. In Europe, Hijiri Kai is led by Daniel Seisoku Lifermann, who studied initially with Iwamoto Yoshikazu and then with Fukuda-sensei, and received his daishin menjō in 2008. Lifermann will introduce the Hijiri Kai session.

Piece: Hijiri no Shirabe (‘Holy piece’, T. Fukuda) is representative of Hijiri Kai style. It expresses the feeling of gratitude, devotion, love and compassion towards all that guide on the spiritual path. It includes specific Hijiri Kai phrasing and techniques.


Marek Kimei Matvija

Marek Kimei Matvija is a nattori shihan of the Kifu Kai school. This school was established and is led by Kifū Mitsuhashi. It brings together Myōan, Kinko, and modern repertoires that Mitsuhashi-sensei received from his teachers Okamoto Chikugai, Sasaki Sōfū, Korikawa Naoki and Sagara Yasuyuki. One of the school’s specifics is that it requires the students to learn playing techniques specific to each genre and region (i.e. not unifying the techniques into a single playing style).

Piece: Chōshi (beginner) is in many ways an introductory piece. It foreshadows many tuning and playing techniques. It is also the initial piece that is played by practitioners of suizen at a meeting.
In Kifū-Kai, this is the first piece studied from the myōan koten honkyoku repertoire. The workshop will focus in-depth on elementary playing techniques such as tsu-re, ha-ro, meri-komi and others.


Thorsten Knaub

Knaub first discovered the shakuhachi when encountering two Japanese musicians in India in 1990. Being  fascinated by its sound, sonic versatility and its seemingly simple construction, he started to research the construction of the instrument in the following years. Recently he spent time in Japan with the master maker Miura Ryuho, expelling in greater depth various jiari making techniques.

Workshop: Jiari Shakuhachi Making: Utaguchi – edge of sound. A pratical guide.
The session will look at the making of the utaguchi insert, covering aspects of basic processes involved, tools used and adjustments affecting pitch, volume or sound colour. It is aimed at anyone who wants to make or repair shakuhachi or is simply curious about an aspect of the construction of their instrument.


Jose Seizan Vargas

Jose Seizan Vargas is a guitarist and shakuhachi player and teacher. He is also a shakuhachi maker. He likes shakuhachi very much.

Lecture: Bamboo and Shakuhachi.
Bamboos are very interesting perennial grasses. There are more than 1400 species, subdivided into 115 genera. Some of the giant bamboos have a very mysterious flowering cycle, and are the fastest-growing plants in the world. The lecture will introduce some facts about the plant and the species usable for shakuhachi, and will focus on the issues related to shakuhachi making: selection, harvesting, cleaning and trimming the roots, aburanuki (taking the oil out), drying and tame (straightening). Pictures and videos of the processes to prepare the bamboo for shakuhachi making will be shown.



(all times Central European Summer Time)

10h00 – 10h30:  Robuki, tip of the day (Horacio Curti)
11h00 – 11h45:  Kurahashi Yodo II : Kyorei (Mujuan)
13h00 – 13h45:  Véronique Piron: Breathing
14h15 – 15h00:  Gunnar Linder: Ashi no Shirabe (Kinko/Chikumeisha)

10h00 – 10h30:  Robuki, tip of the day (Nina Haarer)
11h00 – 11h45:  Kiku Day: Kudari Ha (Zensabo)
13h00 – 13h45:  Jean-François Lagrost: Kogarashi (Tozan)
14h15 – 15h00:  Alcvin Ramos: Daha (KSK)

10h00 – 10h30:  Robuki, tip of the day (Daniel Lifermann)
11h00 – 11h45:  Kurahashi Yodo II: Mukaiji (Mujuan)

13h00 – 13h45:  Thorsten Knaub: Jiari Making: Utaguchi – edge of sound. A pratical guide
14h15 – 15h00:  Fiore Seichiku De Mattia: Hijiri no Shirabe (Hijirikai)

15h30 – 16h30 ESS members’ AGM (Annual General Meeting) 

10h00 – 10h30:  Robuki, tip of the day (Horacio Curti)
11h00 – 11h45:  Riley Lee: Fumai Inga (R. Lee, 2013)
13h00 – 13h45:  Marek Matvija: Chōshi (Kifukai)
14h15 – 15h00:  Jose Vargas: Bamboo and Shakuhachi



€60 for non-ESS members
€50 for ESS members

If you are not already an ESS member, please visit the ESS membership page to join.

Registration is now closed.

Before the event, you will receive an e-mail with the links/Zoom invitations to the sessions.

Scores will be available for download about a week before the event; you will receive an e-mail with the link.

Cancellation is possible until 24 July 2020; a cancellation fee of €10 will be charged. From 25 July 2020, no cancellation or refund is possible.


Please refer to the ESS Contacts page to get in touch!