Kaoru Watanabe is a New York-based musician and North America’s leading practitioner of the shinobue (Japanese transverse flute). Kaoru began playing taiko at the age of 11 as a member of St. Louis Osuwa Taiko and went on to become the first non-Japanese national to become a performing member and artistic director of the iconic taiko group Kodo.
Kaoru has performed with such artists as Jason Moran, Imani Uzuri, Alicia Hall Moran, Adam Rudolph, Kiyohiko Semba and Japanese National Living Treasure Bando Tamasaburo. As a member of Kodo for almost a decade Kaoru has performed around the world in some of the most prestigious theaters. As a solo artist Kaoru has performed and taught across Europe, the South, Central and North Americas, Australia and Asia. Kaoru has also taught at formal academic institutions teaching courses on taiko and Japanese music at Princeton University, Wesleyan Universities and Dickinson College and Colby College. Kaoru’s fue are provided by master flute maker Ranjo.