Peter Hill started his musical studies at age seven with the piano.
At 17 he was encouraged by his teacher to pursue a career as a concert
pianist, but chose to attend university instead. An interest in
Daoist philosophy lead him to study the Chinese language, and after
finishing college he went to China and Taiwan for two years, where
he studied the Daoist classics Laozi and Zhuangzi. It was while
living on Taiwan, in 1988, that he first heard shakuhachi, and within
six months he had moved to Kyoto, where he began studying with Kurahashi
Yoshio. After three years he returned to the United States, where
he worked as an environmental activist, shiatsu practitioner, and
herbalist. He stopped playing shakuhachi regularly during this time,
but after stunning audiences into silence during more than one of
his occasional performances he decided to begin playing again. In
1998 he performed at the shakuhachi festival in Boulder, CO. In
1999 he met Taniguchi Yoshinobu, who strongly encouraged him to
learn the Doukyoku style of playing of Watazumi Douso and Yokoyama
Katsuya, and in 2001 he returned to Japan, where he has been studying
with Yokoyama sensei and Kakizakai Kaoru.
In August 2002 Peter won the "New King of
Shakuhachi" competition in Tokyo, becoming the first non-Japanese
player to do so, and attaining the highest score in the history
of the competition. He also performed at the concurrent 2002 Tokyo
shakuhachi festival. Although not well-known outside Japan, Peter's
powerful sound and passionate renditions of the honkyoku repertoire
are highly regarded among Japanese players, and have won him high
praise from his teachers as well as other Japanese shakuhachi masters
such as Taniguchi Yoshinobu, Ishikawa Toshimitsu, and Sugawara Kuniyoshi.
Peter was recently awarded his "shihan" teaching degree
by Yokoyama Katsuya, and is planning to release his first CD in
the summer of 2004, when he returns to the West to begin his career
as a shakuhachi teacher and performer.