B I O G R A P H Y Aoki Reibo

Born into a famous shakuhachi family, Aoki was already playing the instrument by the time he became aware of his surroundings. It seems that he was born to play shakuhachi. His father started teaching him formally at the age of six and he began his professional activities at the age of 16. At the age of 19, his father died and thereafter Aoki had to find his own way. Already by the time he was in his twenties, he was considered one of the top shakuhachi performers in Japan.

Aoki's music is perhaps most noted for a clarity which other performers just cannot imitate. His sharpness is the best there is. His tone color which displays unusual breadth with its strong contrast between the low and high registers has luster, passion and subtlty. And his performances have a purity, elegance and grace within which dwells a highly refined technique and an intensely polished spirit. It is not an issue of proper balance between sensitivity, intelligence and technique, but rather each of those is so highly conspicuous, and they meld together at an extraordinarily high dimension, at the very pinnacle of musical attainment.

Aoki learned shakuhachi from his father, Reibo Aoki I and became head of that lineage in 1975, becoming Reibo Aoki II. Head of the Reibo-kai Shakuhachi Guild, Aoki is an extremely strong, powerful player with a highly disciplined technique. His rich sound and stunning performances in both the classical Kinko style and contemporary music have become a standard in shakuhachi music. Aoki's performances of "Shika no Tone" in tandem with Goro Yamaguchi are considered definitive. The Teizo Matsumura composition "Shikyoku Ichiban" has become a standard of Modern Hougaku Genre where standards are few.

Aoki's first major tour abroad came in 1973, a forty day Japan Foundation sponsored tour of North America and Europe. Recently, in 1996 and 1997, Aoki traveled to China as a member of a friendship tour arranged by the Japanese Cultural Exchange Society.

His vast discography which includes the award-winning "Take Ippon - Aoki Reibo" on Crown Records continues to inspire shakuhachi enthusiasts as a source of 'authentic' sound.

Aoki is designated "Living National Treasure".

Website: http://www.komuso.com/people/Aoki_Reibo_II.html
email: show2@sannet.ne.jp