James Nyoraku Schlefer occupies a special place in [New York City’s] cultural life, composing and performing music that bridges Western and Japanese styles.
— The New Yorker

James Nyoraku 如楽 Schlefer received the Dai-Shi-Han (Grand Master) certificate in 2001, one of only a handful of non-Japanese to receive this high level award. In 2008, he received his second Shi-Han certificate from Mujuan Dojo, in Kyoto. In Japan, Schlefer has worked with Reibo Aoki, Katsuya Yokoyama, Yoshio Kurahashi, Yoshinobu Taniguchi, and Kifu Mitsuhashi. His first teacher was Ronnie Nyogetsu Seldin. He holds a Master's degree in Western flute and musicology from Queens College and currently teaches shakuhachi class at Columbia University and music history courses at the City University of New York. He has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Tanglewood, BAM, the Metropolitan Museum, at colleges and universities throughout the US and has toured in Japan, Indonesia, Brazil and counties in Europe. Schlefer has four solo recordings, Wind Heart(which travelled 120,000,000 miles aboard the Space Station MIR) Solstice Spirit (1998), Flare Up (2002), and In The Moment (2008). His music has been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered. Schlefer’s latest recording Spring Sounds, Spring Seas was released in June 2012 and features his original music for shakuhachi and orchestra.

Schlefer first heard the shakuhachi in 1979, while working towards his Master’s degree in musicology. This was at a musical soiree in New York’s famed Dakota building, hosted by one of the professors at the CUNY Graduate Center. There was a sankyoku ensemble of shakuhachi, koto and shamisen, and following the recital, Schlefer was offered the opportunity to play the bamboo flute. The effort was met with total failure and taking that as a mandate, he began his now three-decade long pursuit.

Schlefer performs traditional and modern music with other Japanese instruments, including the shamisen and the koto. An exceptional solo artist, his appearances include lectures about the origin, history, and development of Japanese music. Schlefer has been a soloist in several orchestral settings including the New York City Opera, Karl Jenkins’ Requiem, and others.

He has performed and lectured at Duke University (in two, week-long artist residencies), and at the Juilliard School, Manhattan and Eastman Schools of Music, Vassar, Haverford, Brown, Moravian, Colby, Colby-Sawyer, Williams and Hunter Colleges, and at music festivals in the US, South America, Asia and Europe.

Nyoraku Sensei is head of the Kyo Shin An teaching studio in New York City. He has written two etude books for shakuhachi technical development.

As a composer, Schlefer has written many pieces for Japanese instruments including a shakuhachi concerto, a quintet for shakuhachi and string quartet, and numerous pieces for traditional Japanese instruments.

尺八 ジェームス如楽シュレファー ニューヨークを拠点に尺八奏者、作曲家として活躍するジェームス如楽シュレファーは、ニューヨーク・タイムス紙において、「尺八のマスター」と絶賛される。2001年、「大師範」の免状を取得。2008年、京都の無住庵道場から二つ目の師範の免状を授与される。ロニー如月セルディンに尺八の手ほどきを受け、以来、青木鈴慕、横山勝也、倉橋義雄、谷口嘉信、三橋貴風の各氏に師事。ニューヨーク市、クイーン ズ・カレッジにてフルートと音楽学の修士課程を修了。現在、コロンビア大学で尺八、そしてニューヨーク市立大学で音楽史の教鞭を取る。現在まで、カーネギー・ホール、リンカーン・センター、ケネディ・センター、タングルウッドの小澤ホール、BAM(ブルックリン・アカデミー・オブ・ミュージック)、メトロポリタン美術館を始め、ジュリアード音楽院、マンハッタン音楽学校、イーストマン音楽学校など、全米各地の大学で演奏活動を行う。これまで4枚のソロ・アルバムをリリース、NPR(ナショナル・パブリック・ラジオ)の「オール・シングス・コンシダード」で紹介される。尺八のソリストとして、ニューヨーク・シティー・オペラ・オーケストラ、英国ストラトフォードのオーケストラ・オブ・ザ・ スワン等と共演。北米、南米、アジア、ヨーロッパ各地の音楽祭等で演奏、ワークショップを行う。日本楽器の表記法に関する書籍、 及び尺八練習曲を二冊執筆・出版。作曲家として、弦楽四重奏団と尺八の為の五重奏曲、尺八協奏 曲等、和楽器の為の作品を数多く手がける。「虚心庵アーツ」創設者、代表。