Solo Acoustic Wizards – Cornelius Boots (shakuhachi) & John Garner (violin)

Solo acoustic double bill with shakuhachi grandmaster Cornelius Boots and chimerical violinist John Garner.

New music, Ancient sounds: a dynamic presentation of a grandmaster of the bamboo flute of Japanese Zen Buddhism and an iconoclastic violinist, each with their own deep training and experience in both modern music and spiritual cultivation facets of their instruments. Shakuhachi has captivated both of these lifelong musickers into its world of nature, meditation, technical limitations, and expressive possibilities.

Pennsylvania resident and certified Grandmaster (dai shihan) Cornelius Boots presents the living tradition of shakuhachi. His concert-meditation program features traditional Buddhist devotional repertoire (or “honkyoku”) alongside original compositions in his distinctive nature blues house style, and arrangements of John Coltrane, Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Lee theme music. This music is a transmission of the power and vitality of the breath as it both emerges from and connects us to Nature. The old monastic Natural bore (jinashi) and larger, low-pitched flutes (bass or alto) flutes are featured on this program: they provide a strong connection – for both the player and the listener – to a deeper, almost primeval past: echoes from the ancient days of the Earth.

A tireless experimenter, versed in multiple traditions, John Garner has forged a radically unique voice as a violinist, combining a quicksilver and innovative technique with a freewheeling improvisational aesthetic. He is a senior lecturer in jazz at Leeds Conservatoire, a tutor at the Centre for Advanced Training (Glasshouse International Centre for Music), and an artist with MishMash Productions’ pioneering Musicians-in-Residence programme. A graduate of the Royal College of Music and Guildhall School of Music & Drama, John is now a Clara Whittaker Music PhD scholar at Newcastle University, where his creative practice research considers the ethics of musical practice, specifically as understood through the lens of Buddhist teachings and philosophy; how various aspects of that practice are transformed thereby; and how these learnings are enacted through our ways of being as musicians in community and beyond.