Shawn Renzoh Head

Secretary | Grant Coordinator

Internationally performed composer, master shakuhachi performer, and lecturer Shawn Renzoh Head continues to transcend boarders through his music; mixing Japanese traditional music with a distinct western compositional style. Having studied with some of the world’s foremost shakuhachi masters, Michael Chikuzen Gould and Kaoru Kakizakai, Shawn has become the youngest non-Japanese to receive a Shihan (Master’s Certification) in shakuhachi.  In addition to his studies in traditional Japanese music, Shawn earned his undergraduate degree at the Cleveland Institute of Music where he studied with composers Keith Fitch and Steven Kohn.


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As a performer Shawn has made it his goal to popularize the shakuhachi both in its traditional form and a modern western. Over the past two years, he has performed on over 200 concerts featuring the shakuhachi as well as doing outreach to all parts of the community and collage lectures.  

Since the beginning of 2015 Shawn has been appearing as a guest lecturer for Japanese music, culture, aesthetic, and religion, along with western composition, and improvisation. He has presented at Case Western Reserve University, the Cleveland Institute of Music, OTAJ (Ohio Teachers'Association of Japanese), Cleveland One World Festival, Ball State University, and was appointed as faculty at the Benefic Chamber Music Camp by artistic director Anna Vayman.

Shawn Head's performance of shakuhachi music during our recent Classical Revolution Cleveland show was truly stunning. His technical and musical command of the instrument were stunning, and the repertoire performed was captivating. It was the first time CRC has incorporated music from that genre in our shows, and it was eye-opening…

- Ariel Clayton Kara