The original music for shakuhachi (honkyoku) dates back several centuries and was played solo. This magnificent repertoire forms the core of the solo program. Pieces from different lineages and temples provide a variety of styles. On-stage commentary about the music includes historical context, what to listen for, and personal anecdotes drawn from Schlefer’s extensive travel in Japan. Contemporary works by Japanese and American composers can be part of the program. This repertoire spans the 20th Century, from the folk-like impressionism of the 1920’s, to the energetic rhythms of mid-century and the fresh new sounds of today.
James Schlefer plays a traditional Honkyoku piece.