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Michael Doherty

Michael Andrew Doherty is a life-long musician and composer, a writer and philosopher, instrument maker and bonsai gardener. Since 2008 his musical focus has been on the Japanese bamboo flute called shakuhachi in terms of composition, performance, as well as instrument-building.

His three shakuhachi teachers (Okuda Atsuya, Yokoyama Katsuya and Taniguchi Yoshinobu) all lived in Japan extensively and learned shakuhachi from the venerable masters. Thus, the Dokyoku and Zensabo performance styles are deeply ingrained shakuhachi sensibilities. In addition to these and other Japanese aesthetic confluences, his shakuhachi performance and compositions are also informed by a long personal history in experimentation and listening precipitated by the American Modernist composers John Cage and Morton Feldman, as well as the Acoustic Ecology/phonography and Wandelweiser movements.

Michael’s compositions have been studied and reviewed, internationally (Ethnomusicology Forum (2017), Paris Transatlantic (2005) and New Music Box (2005)), and his theatrical sound design has also won awards in his native Denver, Colorado.  Largely, a self-taught musician, outside of shakuhachi, he has had potent interactions that heavily influenced his compositions in the personages of Dr. Robert Cavarra (CSU, Fort Collins), Ben Johnston, and Udo Kasemets.

Michael teaches shakuhachi and crafts jinashi shakuhachi, and creates cyanotype prints, from his home studio, Blue Cloud Mountain, in Palmer Lake, Col

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  • Composition and performance: Butterfly's Wings. Composition for shakuhachi. 2016.

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