Initially trained as a concert pianist, Elliot Kallen has performed music all of his life. After a stint in the world of rock and blues, a chance encounter in 2000 led him to the shakuhachi, a traditional, end-blown bamboo flute from Japan.
After many years of intense study and performance, Mr. 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). He is a student of David Kansuke Wheeler in Colorado and also studies with Kansuke’s teacher, Junsuke Kawase III in Japan. Elliot was honored to be chosen to perform for Kawase-sensei’s 70th birthday celebration at the National Theater in Tokyo.
Elliot plays shakuhachi in a wide variety of contexts. Although known primarily as a soloist, he also performs traditional Japanese music with koto and shamisen and ventures into exploratory sounds of the avant-garde. A founding member of TenTen Taiko, Mr. Kallen performs, teaches, and gives lectures on Japanese classical music and the shakuhachi from his home base in Northern California.