Called "A Master of the Shakuhachi" by the New York Times, James Nyoraku Schlefer is a leading performer and teacher of shakuhachi in New York City. He received the Jun-Shi-Han teaching license from Ronnie Nyogetsu Seldin in 1991 and the Shi-Han Master's Certificate in 1996. In Japan he has worked with Aoki Reibo, Yokoyama Katsuya, Yoshio Kurahashi, and Mitsuhashi Kifu. Schlefer performs regularly in New York City and other parts of the U.S., and has appeared as a soloist in Japan, Canada, and France. His first solo album Wind Heart was aboard the Russian Space Station MIR for over one year, while his second CD Solstice Spirit and his music were featured on NPR's All Things Considered. He is a featured soloist on the PBS drama Far East. He has appeared at Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan, Brooklyn and Philadelphia Museums, the Knitting Factory, the Juilliard School, and the Manhattan School of Music. He has composed several works for solo shakuhachi and shakuhachi ensemble and received a commissioning grant from the Mary Flagler Cary Trust for a new work for shakuhachi duo with dancers. Schlefer began his musical career as a Western flutist. He holds a master's degree in music from Queens College and lectures on music in the CUNY system.
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