2019 7-week Session Schedule Updated!

08.25 - Ha-pyou-kai | Student Recital
08.30 - Eitetsu Hayashi Workshop mofe info
09.29 - New session starts *sign up here*
11.24 - KWTC End-of-Year Concert @ ShapeShifter Lab

The next beginner session starts on September 29th, 2019!  The session has 7 classes (each class is 2-hour long) with a recital performance on the last day. Fee for the entire session is $215. Find out more about our classes here!

THE KAORU WATANABE TAIKO CENTER preserves, teaches, and promotes various styles of Japanese contemporary and traditional music, with a focus on the shinobue bamboo flutes and Japanese percussion, including the taiko drum. Part of this mission includes fostering a community of practitioners, scholars and admirers of Japanese performing arts.


Kaoru Watanabe is a Brooklyn based composer and musician, specializing in the Japanese percussion and shinobue flutes. He has spent decades artfully blending the sounds of Japanese instruments with those from around the world, collaborating with such artists as National Living Treasure Bando Tamasaburo, Jason Moran, So Percussion, Adam Rudolph, Kenny Endo, Stefon Harris, Kiyohiko Semba, Alicia Hall Moran, Tamango, calligrapher Kakinuma Koji, visual artist Simone Leigh, and director Martin Scorsese, and was a featured guest on Yo-Yo Ma's Grammy Award-winning album Sing Me Home.

After graduating from Manhattan School of Music with a BA in jazz flute and saxophone, Watanabe moved to Japan and joined the world-renowned taiko performing arts ensemble Kodo, the first non-Japanese to do so. He spent close to a decade performing with Kodo as well as acting as artistic director of their world music festival Earth Celebration, where he curated works with such esteemed guests as Zakir Hussain, Giovanni Hidalgo, Carlos Nunez and Yosuke Yamashita.

Watanabe has performed his compositions at such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, Kabukiza and in Minamiza, has performed in all 47 prefectures in Japan as well as across the North, Central and South Americas, Europe, Asia and Australia.

As a passionate educator, Kaoru has taught courses at Princeton University, Wesleyan University, Colby and Dickinson Colleges and has been a faculty member at Tanglewood Music Festival and the Silk Road Project's Global Musician Workshop at DePauw University. Kaoru is an instructor for kaDON, an online Japanese flute and percussion resource presented by preeminent taiko maker Miyamoto Unosuke Shoten of Tokyo.