Sri Taro Terahara (bansuri – Japan)

Taro Terahara is one of the leading musicians in the thriving and highly competitive Indian classical music scene in Japan. Born in Chiba-ken, in 1968 to teacher parents Taro Terahara was passionate about music from a very early age. Seeing his potential, his parents encouraged him in many ways to help him gain the experiences and skills he would need in his musical future. His path to the bansuri began with a stable seven years of the trumpet, moved to the Indonesian gamelan and the Japanese flute until finally he came into contact with Indian classical music the age of 23. It was the music of the world-renowned master of bansuri, Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia, that awakened Mr. Terahara to the certainty that “the voice of the bansuri was calling” to him. From that moment on his fervent journey along the onerous path to mastering the great Indian bansuri began.

In 1992 he became a student of the long-time disciple of Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia, Mr. Hiroshi Nakagawa. That very year Mr. Terahara was hit by a life-threatening illness from which he was remarkably able to recover over the next year. This close encounter with death however sharply brought him to the realization of the precariousness of life and the necessity that he focus his attention solely on the one thing he most yearned for; to master the bansuri. He immediately quit graduate school to devote himself entirely to the practice of Indian classical music and shortly went to India to study directly under the revered Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia and continued in this way for the following four years.

In 1996 he became a disciple of the late Pt. Nikhil Bannerjee’s acclaimed student, Sri Amit Roy in Japan. Sri Amit Roy guided and refined Mr. Terahara’s musical talents with dedication and passion, carefully instilling the deep and meaningful soul of the music of his lineage. Mr. Terahara’s combined inner resolve and innate musical talent made him a fast and intuitive learner, so much so that in 2005 Sri Amit Roy recommended he record his first solo CD “Air” in Kolkata to the accompaniment of the great tabla maestro, Pt. Anindo Chatterjee.

Taro Terahara has performed Indian classical music in India and throughout Japan. His performances are charged and compel the listener along a journey beginning with the peaceful and contemplative non-rhythmical alaap leading them through step by step towards the exhilaratingly fast-paced rhythmical finale of the jhala. His great command of sur (tuning) and lay (timing) combined with his capacity to compose innovative taans and tihais on the spur of the moment lends his music the true quality of brilliance. Mr. Terahara’s music, like that of his teacher Sri Amit Roy, is tempered by a beautiful humility and devotion to the mood and spirit of the raga guaranteeing to engage the mind and deeply touch the heart.

Taro Terahara currently teaches bansuri and Indian classical vocal to over 50 students around Japan. The extensive curiosity in music instilled at an early age by Mr. Terahara’s parents has grown and manifested within him a highly and multi talented musical individual. Mr. Terahara’s passion for teaching traditional Indian classical music reaches out beyond teaching solely Indian instrument playing students to teaching Indian composition to students of virtually any musical instrument, such as the violin and the bass. Although his central passion is clear, he has proven his versatility and skill, traversing beyond genre, through numerous collaborative performances ranging from Odissi dance, Arabian and Chinese music to jazz, with remarkable results.

Taro Terahara as a student in the long line of Maihar gharana is a unique and deep individual whose music crosses boundaries and blends souls. It is no chance that this young man came across the music of the bansuri in 1991. His vocation is to bring the beauty and expansion of Indian classical music to parts of the world that have yet to hear it, joining individuals and nations as one.

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