Cornelius BOOTS

Forest Knolls, USA


Cornelius BOOTS (MM, shihan) is a woodwind performance pioneer, renowned composer-performer, educator and licensed shakuhachi master in the dynamic Zen lineage of WATAZUMI-DO. His love affair with reeds and bamboo began at age 9 when he was also an avid fan of rock, funk, and early rap as well as a national roller skating champion (1st place, Primary Boys Figures, 1983).  Through an ongoing series of both sanctioned and subversive behaviours, BOOTS accidentally forged one of the most unique paths in woodwind history. The robot bass clarinet, heavy chamber music and Bamboo Gospel are all BOOTS’ discoveries of original, creative explorations and artistic dedication.

A top student of Grandmaster Michael Chikuzen GOULD, Cornelius received his shihan in 2013; his shakuhachi name is 深禅 (Shinzen) deep Zen. After a 30-year career of high-caliber jazz, classical, rock and experimental music activities on multiple woodwinds (including three music degrees from the prestigious Jacobs School of Music, BM Clarinet ’97, BS Audio ’97, MM Jazz Studies ’99), BOOTS has now positioned himself at the crossroads of personal expression and divine revelation and plays only bamboo (jinashi) shakuhachi and its baritone brother, Taimu.

BOOTS was the founder and leader of Edmund WELLES: the bass clarinet quartet, and Sabbaticus Rex. He has contributed to film scores and collaborative projects, released over 20 albums as a leader and created dozens of original scores and instructional materials, including a series of 27 etudes (mukyoku 無曲) for Taimu shakuhachi and the albums ‘Mountain Hermit’s Secret Wisdom’ (2013), ‘Holy Flute (Shakuhachi Unleashed Vol. I)’ (2017), and ‘Bamboo Rising: Shakuhachi Unleashed Vol. II’ (2018).

BOOTS has won two composition awards and received several grants and commissions since 2005. He has performed concerts in Japan, festivals in Switzerland, Italy, Prague, San Francisco and Chicago and given lecture-performances at Esalen, S.A.N.D., San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Cal Arts, UCLA, Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Sanshinji Temple and beyond.

Cornelius is a Vandoren performing artist, a Mujitsu Shakuhachi and Chikuzen Studios affiliate, and a member of the International Shakuhachi Society, the World Flute Society, Chamber Music America, New Music USA and Save the Redwoods.