Peter Hill: A Shakuhachi Biography

Peter Hill first heard the shakuhachi in early 1988 while living on Taiwan, where he was studying Chinese philosophy and taijiquan. Within six months he had moved to Kyoto, Japan to begin its study. He soon met Kurahashi Yoshio, with whom he studied Kinko-ryu honkyoku, Jin Nyodo's scores of koten honkyoku, and the sankyoku, and minyo repertoires until 1991. He then spent a year in various parts of the Himalayas and Indonesia, travelling, trekking, and studying yoga and meditation. Upon his return to the US in 1993 he quit playing shakuhachi.

In 1995, he was invited to perform on a few occasions and thereby rediscovered his love of the instrument.

Thus began a five-year period of self study, following the haiku poet Basho's advice to "learn about bamboo from the bamboo" and studying the recordings of the great players, both Japanese and non-Japanese.

In 1999, during a brief visit to Japan, Peter was invited to spend a weekend with the reclusive master player Taniguchi Yoshinobu, who recognized his exceptional potential as a player and strongly urged him to return to Japan for an extended period to hone his technique in the doukyoku style of Watazumi Douso and Yokoyama Katsuya. He did, and spent 2001-2004 studying with Yokoyama sensei and one of his top students, Kakizakai Kaoru, in Tokyo and Chichibu.

In 2002 Peter was awarded first prize in the Shinjin-O Shakuhachi Konkuru (New King of Shakuhachi Competition) in Tokyo. Peter was the first foreign player to win this a prize, and attained the highest score ever awarded in this competition.

In the Spring of 2004 he was awarded a Shihan teaching license by Yokoyama sensei.

In the Fall of 2007 Yokoyama sensei awarded Peter the Dai Shihan.

Peter currently lives in Seattle, Washington where he is active as a shakuhachi teacher and performer.

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