Monty H. Levenson

Instrument/Discipline: Shakuhachi maker
Professional Name (å|ņš): Tai Hei Shakuhachi (Hanko: Ku Setsu)
Home Address: PO Box 294, Willits, CA 95490
Home Phone: 707-459-3402

Do you teach? No

Do you perform? No
Additional information:
Monty H. Levenson makes shakuhachi (Tai Hei Shakuhachi) and maintains workshops at his home in the hills of Mendocino County, California as well as in Japan in the small farming village of Kitagawa (Tokushima Prefecture) on Shikoku Island. Monty has been making shakuhachi continuously since 1970.

In 1984, Monty developed the precision cast bore technology which enabled him to create affordable, high-quality shakuhachi made of bamboo. Tai Hei Shakuhachi are now being used by traditional teachers in Japan for their students and professional musicians worldwide as their personal instruments. Monty Levenson has collaborated extensively with many prominent players and craftsmen in Japan.

In 2001, Monty developed the Shakulute, a completely new concept in woodwinds instruments. It replaces the side-blown headjoint of the western transverse flute with that of an end-blown shakuhachi headjoint to create an innovative new sound and style of music. This hybrid instrument allows the player to employ blowing styles and techniques distinctive to the traditional Japanese shakuhachi while using fingerings common to the western classical Boehm flute. The resulting sound is a unique blend of East and West that can be achieved on no other instrument. The Shakulute has gained enormous popularity amongst flute players around the world since its inception. Annual gatherings of Shakulute players have convened in Japan for the last eight years.

In 2004, Tai Hei Shakuhachi Publishing was officially launched with the aim of preserving and expanding access to information outside of Japan on shakuhachi craft work and the honkyoku tradition. Several playing guides, flute craft manuals, books on the origins and history of shakuhachi, as well as traditional and contemporary sheet music, CDs and DVDs are currently available.