Kaoru Watanabe


Photography by Max Whittaker

Composer and musician Kaoru Watanabe grounds his performance in traditional Japanese music while inhabiting a startling combination of musical worlds. He is renowned for his ability to collaborate with a diverse array of visionary international artists: Jason Moran, Yo-Yo Ma and Silkroad, Spanish flamenco dancer Eva Yerbabuena, visual artists Simone Leigh and Alyson Shotz, calligrapher Koji Kakinuma, Japanese National Living Treasure Bando Tamasaburo, vocalists Alicia Hall Moran and Imani Uzuri, tap dancers Tamango and Kazunori Kumagai, Galician bagpiper Carlos Nuñez, So Percussion, Semba Kiyohiko, Reigakusha, Brooklyn Raga Massive, Adam Rudolph and Go:Organic Orchestra, the Aizuri and Parker String Quartets and pipa virtuoso Wu Man. In 2018, Watanabe debuted as an orchestral soloist and composer with the Sydney Symphony at the Sydney Opera House. He is an advisor, composer and featured musician on the Oscar-nominated score of Wes Anderson’s film Isle of Dogs and was a guest artist on the Silkroad’s Grammy Award-winning album Sing Me Home.

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