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Weblog of Kaoru Watanabe, NY based Flute/Fue player

Year End Review

Fumi Tanakadate

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Hello friends and family,

I haven't been keeping up with my website and my mailings these last few months but it's not for lack of things to announce. I’ve had a very intense year, both professionally and personally and keeping up with these posts sort of fell to the wayside. I’m just returning from Boston where I had my last public show of the year, so I thought I’d take a look back at some performance highlights of 2018.

The year started with a bang: a couple of performances in ice-skating rinks brilliantly conceptualized by Alicia Hall Moran, that featured saxophonist Maria Grand and myself, concerts with the great tap dancer Kumagai Kazunori, two new ensemble debuts: trio with Mazz Swift and Satoshi Takeishi and Dreams (music for 5 strings, fue and Japanese percussion), premieres of two of my compositions for orchestra with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra at the Sydney Opera House and the release of Wes Anderson's Isle of Dogs for which I did music.  

In the spring, I had a bunch of duo performances with Fumi Tanakadate, a disciple of mine who has really developed into her own as a musician. I shared a triple bill with two genius musicians Claire Chase and Susie Ibarra, had a show in SF with Mark de Clive-Lowe, did various projects with folks like Brazilian percussionist Rogerio Boccato, Korean wind player Gamin, percussionist Keita Ogawa, tabla and drumset player Sameer Gupta, pianist and accordionist Shoko Nagai, a bunch of Silkroad Ensemble stuff with the Parker Quartet, oud player Hadi Eldebek, Sheng player Wu Tong, and percussionist Shane Shanahan, as well as performances with multi instrumentalist Elena Moon-Park and dancer Miki Orihara

Over the summer and fall, I begin working with flamenco master Eva Yerbabuena, her top-tier musicians and the amazing vocalist Sato Anna from Amami Oshima. Eva had me over in Spain for a few different concerts and we will continue the project into next year. Also, I had more shows with the Silkroad Ensemble, including a performance in Houston's Rothko Church, a collaboration with Shakespeare & Co, a project in Beirut and another chance to perform one of my compositions with orchestra, this time with the Boston Conservatory Orchestra in the venerable Boston Symphony Hall, along with Irish harpist Maeve Gilchrist and tabla player Sandeep Das. Other collaborators of the last half a year include saxophonist and high-school friend Jacob Duncan, one of my mentors Adam Rudolph and his Go:Organic OrchestraBrooklyn Raga Massive, and a new group of Harris Eisenstadt's at the Stone.

Finally, over the last weekend, the Silkroad Ensemble had performances in Arkansas and Massachusetts. The Silkroad Ensemble has a rotating cast of performers and this particular show had Kinan AzmehEdward Perez (another friend from high-school), Shaw Pong LiuWu-Man (who I'll be performing with here and there with next year), Joe GramelyMike Block and Yo-Yo Ma.

In the first few months of 2019, I have a bunch of performances that I’m really looking forward to, more work in France and Spain with Eva Yerbabuena, a new project with Sameer Gupta and kathak dancer Parul Shah, some of my own performances in Ft. Collins, a performance with Wu Man at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, along with other shows with various groups in Philadelphia, Texas, Taipei and Tokyo

I’m constantly humbled by the opportunity to work with such incredible musicians and am full of gratitude for all those that make my life and career possible. 

Happy Holidays to all and I look forward to seeing friends new and old in the coming weeks and in the New Year!

Sincerely,
Kaoru