Kaoru Watanabe, taiko and Japanese flute

Kaoru Watanabe playing Taiko drums

Kaoru Watanabe is a Brooklyn based composer and musician, specializing in the Japanese taiko drum and shinobue flutes. He has spent decades artfully blending the sounds of Japanese instruments with those from around the world, collaborating with such artists as National Living Treasure Bando Tamasaburo, Jason Moran, So Percussion, Adam Rudolph, Kenny Endo, Stefon Harris, Kiyohiko Semba, Alicia Hall Moran, Tamango, calligrapher Kakinuma Koji, visual artist Simone Leigh, and director Martin Scorsese, and was a featured guest on Yo-Yo Ma's Grammy Award-winning album Sing Me Home.

In the decade since leaving Japan to return to New York City, Watanabe has focused on elevating the quality, sophistication, and depth of his music by collaborating with high- caliber artists of various disciplines and cultures, and by stripping his performances down to essential components and fastidiously avoiding the flashy, pseudo-ritualistic and superfluous elements that are commonly found in taiko shows.