News – March 2024

New Workshops – April / May 2024

We have an exciting series of workshops exploring the voice within shakuhachi and Japanese cultural and musical tradition.

Upcoming workshops:

04. May Voice & Shakuhachi (Anne Norman)

Read more and register here.


Bamboo Autumn/Winter 2023

Next issue June 2024

ESS New Year Concert 2024!

FINLAND 2024! The ESS Summer School travels north this year!
The ESS is very excited to collaborate with the Finnish Shakuhachi Association to present to you Finland 2024. We are specially grateful to be able to welcome from Japan our special guest Tani Yasunori (谷保範), Iemoto Daihyō* Dai-Shihan of Ueda-ryū and member of JSPN (The Japan Shakuhachi Professional-players Network). This is the first time we have a Summer School with a major Ueda-ryū player as teacher. More guests teachers will be announced in the coming weeks. 

All this will be happening at the beautiful and stunningly situated Friendship Inn in Kruusila (half-way between Turku and Helsinki), where we will be surrounded by tranquil lakes and forests. The dates for this year’s summer school are 29 July to 1 August 2024. Accommodation and meals will be available at the Friendship Inn venue too, we are working closely with the Finnish Shakuhachi Association to secure the best deals for our members. More info to come soon!  Mark the dates for now.

Website in progress and information will be added in the coming weeks as it is confirmed:

Preliminary date for registration to open: 1st April 2024
ESS Summer School Finland 2024: Monday 29 July to Thursday 1 August 2024

With the support of the Scandinavia-Japan Sasakawa Foundation.

* representative of the iemoto

ESS New Year Concert 2024!

A big thanks to our audience and performers of the New Year Concert — thank you for sharing that moment together!

The ESS New Year Concert took place on Sunday 21 January 2024 and had the theme “Shakuhachi Animals”. Some comments from participants:

Thank You very much
Thank you everyone who played and thank you to the organisers!
Thank you. Furuya Sensei thank you!
Thanks to all the performers and organizers! Great show!
Thank you, great concert!
This concert was so amazing, breathtaking and wonderful. Touching me deeply. Thank you to everybody! Am looking forward to the next concerts!

You can find out more about the concert and read reactions from audience members on the ESS New Year’s Concert page.

Online Events Season 2023/24

We have announced an exciting series of online events and workshops for 2023-2024, including:

• 15 October – Introductory workshop for beginners (Riley Lee, Daniel Ryudo)
• 11-12 November – Beginner/Elementary workshops (Riley Lee, Daniel Ryudo, Véronique Piron, Elizabeth Reian Bennett)

• 21 January – ESS New Year Concert (free – book here)
• 11 February – StartingUp/Beginner workshops (Christopher Yohmei Blasdel and Kiku Day)
• 2-3 March – Intermediate/Advanced workshops (Akihito Obama, James Nyoraku Schlefer, Elizabeth Brown, Gunnar Jinmei Linder)
• A series of five events in April/May 2024 exploring voice and shakuhachi
– 13 April – Shōmyō Buddhist chant (Junko Ueda)
– 14 April – Singing honkyoku workshop (Teruo Furuya)
– 20 April – Voice in sankyoku workshop (Shino Arisawa, Miyama McQueen-Tokita)
– 27 April – Min’yō workshop (Kinzaburo Abe)
– 4 May – Vocalising shakuhachi (Anne Norman)
• 2 June – Shakuhachi & Improvisation (Ned Rothenberg, Detta Danford, Natasha Zielazinski)

To find out more about the schedules, teachers, and to register for the workshops, visit our dedicated page:

ESS Summer School in Balbriggan, 20-24 July 2023

With huge thanks to Phil Horan and his team in Ireland, this year’s ESS Summer School was a huge success. We left the beautiful island of Ireland full of inspiration, ideas, new pieces, memories of amazing performances by the teachers and students, and of course bellies full of Guiness!

Sakura Planting Ceremony at the ESS Summer School in Balbriggan 2023

Ambassador of Japan to Ireland Mr. Maruyama (third from left), next to CEO of the Irish Institute for Music and Dance, Michael Dawson (first from left) and Phil Soumei Horan (on right)
Playing Sakura in the rain – from left: Philip Soumei Horan, Ambassador of Japan to Ireland Mr. Maruyama, Kiku Day, Thorsten Knaub (ESS Chair), Araki Kodo VI and Riley Lee
The commemorative plaque and sakura tree

One of the most memorable events of the ESS Summer School 2023 was the planting of the sakura tree. The Ambassador of Japan to Ireland, Mr. Maruyama, made a special visit to the Irish Institute of Music and Song in Balbriggan to show his support for the Summer School. He attended the Gala Concert with performances by some of the teachers at the Summer School, and we then all went out to the garden of the IIMS grounds and took part in a tree-planting ceremony.

In the ceremony we all stood in the gentle rain as a few speeches were given, and then we collectively played Sakura Sakura, while the Ambassador took the spade and ceremonically planted a sakura tree in the garden of the IIMS together with a dedicated plaque to commemorate this special event.

The plaque features a beautiful engraving of a shakuhachi player and has the following inscription:

This Sakura tree, symbolising the spirit of the Japanese people which is closely associated with the culture of Japan has been planted by the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Ireland, Ambassador Maruyama Norio, to mark the occasion of the Irish Institute of Music & Song hosting the European Shakuhachi Summer School 19th to 24th July 2023