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Kaoru Watanabe Taiko Center
Since August of 2008, the Kaoru Watanabe Taiko Center (KWTC) has been holding classes, workshops, student recitals and other events in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. Modern day taiko drumming is both a physical and musical art form - a performer must have a dancer's grace, an athlete's stamina and a musician's rhythm.
KWTC is founded by Kaoru Watanabe, a former member and artistic director of the world-renowned taiko ensemble KODO. Born in the US to Japanese parents, Kaoru is a graduate from Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan and the Manhattan School of Music and has performed and recorded with Stefon Harris and Jason Moran on Blue Note Records, among others. Kaoru was also a member of New York's Soh Daiko, the East Coast's oldest and most respected taiko group.
Kaoru lived in Japan for nearly a decade, engaging in the intensive study of Japanese music. In Tokyo he studied Noh Kan (flute used in Noh and Kabuki theater) with Hiroyuki Matsuda, and the fue (bamboo flute) music of Edo Matsuri Bayashi with Kiyosuke Kobayashi. Since moving back to New York City, Kaoru continues to make music on the fue, flute and taiko in a variety of settings, and to teach through the Kaoru Watanabe Taiko Center as well as such institutions as Princeton University, Wesleyan University and Colby College.