Marek Matvija

Marek Matvija is a Czech player on the shakuhachi, a bamboo flute of Japanese origin. He studies the traditional music of the shakuhachi with Mitsuhashi Kifu. Marek is also a passionate performer of free improvised and contemporary music. He is a member of the Topos Kolektiv, ensemble for site-specific improvised music. He is a director and co-founder of the Prague Shakuhachi Festival and a founding member of NEIRO Association for Expanding Arts. Marek Matvija has graduated at the Film School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (FAMU) and has performed throughout Czech Republic and in Slovakia, Portugal, Hungary, USA and Japan.,,


Marek was introduced to the shakuhachi when he was seventeen through zazen practice. On one occasion, he met Japanese Buddhist monk Iechika Ejun who played spiritual music from koten honkyoku repertoire. Consequently, it was through Ejun that he got his first flute, cut from a PVC pipe, and also his first instruction.

Later, Ejun introduced him to a man who would, for many years, become his teacher, Vlastislav Matoušek, Czech ethnomusicologist and composer. As his student, he continued to study spiritual music of the shakuhachi and it was through Vlastislav Matoušek that Marek discovered the breathtaking world of contemporary and Avant-Garde music and its closeness to traditional Japanese music.

In 2006, Vlastislav Matoušek, Christopher Yohmei Blasdel and Marek Matvija co-founded the first festival of Japanese and contemporary music in Czech Republic and Europe. Prague Shakuhachi Festival in few years became the crucial event of the quickly growing European shakuhachi scene. Marek is supervising the program, especially its new media compounds.
Every year, the festival welcomes artists from Japan and elsewhere, new compositions are being premiered and multi-genre projects are created. In 2012 Prague successfully applied to organize World Shakuhachi Festival 2016 – the most important event of Japanese music held every four years.

In 2009, Marek went on a one month internship in Tokyo with master of Chikumeisha shakuhachi Christopher Yohmei Blasdel. In 2012, he traveled for three weeks across Japan during which he met numerous shakuhachi masters from Kyushu and southern Honshu. Thus, he had a first-hand experience of nuances of different styles and regions. More importantly, he could experience different personal approaches towards music, sound and silence.

In 2013, he spent several months on an internship with a Portuguese guitar player Marcelo Dos Reis in Lisbon, where he also delved into improvised music and appeared in few concerts. The same year, he finished undergraduate course at FAMU (Film and Television School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague), where he continues to pursue master degree at the Centre for Audiovisual Studies. His shakuhachi teacher is renowned Japanese virtuoso, Mitsuhashi Kifu, also teacher of Vlastislav Matoušek.