Artist Kaoru

Kaoru Watanabe lived in Japan for nearly a decade, engaging in the intensive study of Japanese music. In Tokyo he studied Noh Kan (flute used in Noh and Kabuki theater) with Hiroyuki Matsuda, and the fue (bamboo flute) music of Edo Matsuri Bayashi with Kiyosuke Kobayashi. In 1998 Kaoru became an apprentice with the drumming ensemble Kodo, a world-renowned group that is largely responsible for bringing taiko to an international audience. Kaoru eventually became a performing member of Kodo, with whom he drummed, danced, sang and played his fue across the globe, and in 2005 became Artistic Director of Earth Celebration, Kodo’s annual world music festival held on Sado Island every summer. Since moving back to New York City, Kaoru continues to make music on the fue, flute and taiko in a variety of settings, and to teach through the Kaoru Watanabe Taiko Center as well as such institutions as Princeton University, Wesleyan University and Colby College.