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A senior performer and musicologist, David Wheeler lived in Japan for over twenty years studying and performing the shakuhachi (Japan's vertical bamboo flute) with Japan's finest traditional ensembles.
In Tokyo in 1977, he commenced study with renowned master Junsuke Kawase III, head of the Chikuyu-sha school of Kinko Style classical shakuhachi performance.
Wheeler received his MA in musicology from Tokyo University of Fine Arts in 1985. He has benefited from studying and playing with the majority of the great shakuhachi masters of the latter half of the 20th century, including late living national treasure Goro Yamaguchi, living national treasure
Duo Sõkyõ are an exemplary USA-based Japanese performance ensemble of senior musicians, performing the classical music of Edo and Meiji-era Japan, as well as 20th Century and contemporary Japanese compositions. Their repertoire is performed on the traditional instruments of koto, shamisen, shakuhachi and biwa, with the singing voice. Between them they have more than fifty years of professional performance history internationally, with numerous concert engagements here in North America and in Japan.
Reibo Aoki II, Katsuya Yokoyama and Kodo Araki V as well as Kawase. Wheeler's professional career started in Tokyo, and has since taken him all over Japan and around the world. He is highly respected by his Japanese peers for his mastery of the classical shakuhachi genres of both solo and ensemble (with Japanese string instruments) and for his work in crossing musical and artistic barriers both within and outside of the Japanese traditional performing arts world. He now teaches and performs from a base in the United States.
Since moving to the U.S in 1993, she has performed extensively at festivals, concerts, lecture-recitals, and on television/radio and studio recordings. Her performances have included performing at International Shakuhachi Festivals, the Art Institute of Chicago, Portland Art Museum, University of Illinois, Smith College, Bowdoin College, Emory University, DePauw University, Colby College, Northwestern University, and major music festivals throughout the USA such as the Lotus Festival and the Kansas City Japan Festival.
Ms. Hiraoka taught world music ensemble at the University of Colorado in 1997-98 and has been teaching students at Naropa University in Boulder since 1995.
Yoko Hiraoka is a senior master performer of Koto, Shamisen and Jiuta voice. She is a native of Kyoto, Japan and studied for many years classical koto music and Kyushu-ryu Jiuta shamisen with Yoshiko Saito and modern koto music with Shigehiro Shimada in Kyoto. She also studied with Mamoru Ono, founder of Somei Ongakukai in Tokyo. Her professional performance career originated in Japan and spans almost 30 years. She has been a member of Kyoto Hogaku Group (an orchestra of traditional Japanese instruments), Kyoto Sankyoku-kai and Shikandaza Ensemble in Japan. Her repertoire includes contemporary compositions and improvisations. She often collaborates with Jazz musicians and other contemporary musicians, and has played on the album Mandala by Kitaro.