Bruce Huebner / Curtis Patterson | TEDxTokyo 2013
Bruce Huebner’s shakuhachi sound is unbounded by musical convention, flowing from freeform to jazz to Japanese traditional music to Celtic to Western classical. His concert resume includes appearances with Vancouver’s VICO Orchestra and performances at the Toronto Jazz Festival, New York Blue Note and Kyoto Concert Hall. In 2008, as half of the duo Curt and Bruce (with Curtis Patterson on koto), he joined in the Sakura Zensen Tour in Japan featuring transcendent vocalist Susan Osborn. Curt and Bruce have released two CDs, Going Home (2007) and Tracings (2009). Bruce and Curt’s musical and personal roots in Tohoku—particularly Fukushima, where they developed as performers and composed much of their music, including The Fukushima Suite—led the pair and other musicians to give over sixty concerts in the disaster area and throughout Japan. Bruce has dedicated his life to conveying the transcendent value of the shakuhachi.
Curtis Patterson earned a master’s license from the Sawai Koto Institute—studying under Tadao Sawai himself—and is the first non-Japanese national to graduate from NHK’s training program for young performers of traditional Japanese instruments. A member of the Sawai Tadao Koto Ensemble, Soemon and US–based Koto Phase, Curtis has also performed with actress Keiko Matsuzaka and popular singer-songwriter Kei Ogura, among others, and was the musical director for the 2005 documentary Magnificent Obsession: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Buildings and Legacy in Japan. Curtis produced a solo CD, Oto No Wa—Circles, in 2002. He regularly jams with shakuhachi player Bruce Huebner as part of the duo Curt and Bruce, which has put out two CDs to date. They play their original compositions and arrangements at venues in North America and all over Japan—most recently to aid their beloved but battered Tohoku.