Initially trained as a concert pianist, Elliot Kallen migrated into the world of rock and jazz, playing keyboards for many bands and on many stages. A chance encounter led him to the shakuhachi, a traditional, end-blown bamboo flute from Japan.
For decades, Elliot has lived and breathed shakuhachi, intensely training, studying and performing in the United States and Japan. In 2018 Elliot was given his Shihan (master teacher license) and performance name, Kanshin, by David Kansuke Wheeler of Boulder, CO, and Chikuyusha, the largest shakuhachi teaching organization of its kind in Japan. Elliot Kanshin Kallen is now prominent in a lineage that has its roots in the music of the Komuso, the itinerant Zen monks who used the shakuhachi as a tool for meditation during Japan’s Edo Period (1605-1865).
Mr. Kallen continues to study with David Kansuke Wheeler and with Kansuke’s teacher, Junsuke Kawase III, the third-generation head of Chikuyusha. He was honored to be chosen to perform for Kawase-sensei’s 70th birthday celebration at the National Theater in Tokyo.
Elliot Kanshin Kallen performs, teaches, and gives lectures on Japanese classical music and the shakuhachi from his home base in Northern California. He plays shakuhachi in a wide variety of contexts, from traditional Japanese music with koto and shamisen, to the exploratory sounds of the avant-garde. He is a founding member of TenTen Taiko, performing throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Mr. Kallen is the current President of the International Shakuhachi Society (see www.komuso.com).