“So, you are like…a Woodwind Wizard!”
House     member of Limbomaniacs, Buckethead’s Giant Robot

“Very beautiful and inspiring.”
-Chris Adler      drummer of Lamb of God

“I have never so clearly felt the pure internal power of unamplified sound. Cornelius’ flutes are a revelation of the inner life of breath and an antidote to a world gone mad and breathless. “
– Nils Frykdahl      member of Faun Fables, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Idiot Flesh, Free Salamander Exhibit


Cornelius has been a great inspiration and guide through the world of shakuhachi, Taimu, and deep breathing. I came to him knowing very little about the instruments and have spent the last few years enjoyably cross-training on several different-sized flutes. I’ve learned a lot about music, breath, and being from Cornelius and his flute instruction. I’d recommend him to anyone interested in learning about these flutes, and themselves, from the ground up.”
Evan     multi-instrumentalist and programmer


“It was immediately clear to me that Cornelius’ approach to studying a non-western instrument such as the shakuhachi encompassed a wide spectrum.  He has shown complete respect for the tradition with commitment and dedication.  Furthermore, he has been exploring the breadth and depth of sound—which is at the root of the Zen shakuhachi tradition—without letting himself be limited by that tradition.  It is apparent to me that he is moving forward and expanding his connection with the universe through his relationship with the instrument: I have witnessed him explore the roots of shakuhachi with thoroughness and attention to detail.  His personality is engaging and friendly, showing eagerness to provide help to others while instilling confidence through patient interaction.  I feel completely comfortable having him supervise and instruct my students at camps, as well as having him perform with me onstage.”

Michael Chikuzen Gould, shakuhachi dai shihan (grandmaster)
[shakuhachi teacher and Zen mentor since 2001 ]


“I find it is a privilege to be studying under the supervision of a true artist, an incredible technician, and a tireless pedagogue. His love of the instrument and his musical erudition shine through everything he does. In his teaching, he is responsive to every situation in the moment: building on whatever presents itself, Cornelius skillfully guides you from where you are to a place a little deeper, a little further and a little wider in your relationship to the flute. A naturally supportive presence, he also knows when and how to be challenging. His innate playfulness illuminates the room whenever one falls prey to the demons of seriousness, demons often seen circling around the demanding practice of shakuhachi.

Cornelius has the fearlessness, the openness, the freedom and the dedication of all those who tread the path of “natural zen”, from Hanshan to Ikkyū to Watazumi. His relationship to the flute goes deeper than that of a player and their instrument. The instrument is woven to the very fabric of his life and I imagine one would be hard pressed to find someone who has a more intimate, embodied knowledge of the Zen side of shakuhachi. From the art of tea drinking to the practice of Qi Gong, it sometimes feels like his whole life is organized around and integrated as a whole through the grace of the flute.

If you’re interested in music, Cornelius is your man. If you’re interested in Zen, Cornelius is your man. If you’re interested in both, then look no further: you found everything you were looking for, and probably more.”

Aédàn [author, poet, teacher and shakuhachi student since 2014]


“I can honestly say that Cornelius Boots is one of the most intelligent, ambitious, and skilled bass clarinet teachers that I have met in my 40-plus years as a musician.  Cornelius is a tenacious, determined, and straightforward individual who is knowledgeable in all facets and types of music.  He has a true zest for life and music, which he exhibits by his vast musical interests and extraordinary performance and composition skills.

He has natural leadership abilities, a mature approach to his responsibilities, and maintains a clear sense of purpose in helping one reach their performance goals. Cornelius enthusiastically presents challenging music to his students and makes it fun to learn: he prepares, gives expert guidance, shares his superior knowledge, and exudes a strong sense of confidence with a charming personality.

I can attest to what one can learn from studying under Cornelius and can honestly say that it has by far exceeded my expectations.  Since taking lessons from Cornelius I have been afforded the opportunity to play solos with multiple community bands and have formed my own clarinet choir.”

Karyn Weber, founder of Clarinet Fusion Clarinet Choir and bass clarinetist for Contra Costa Wind Symphony
[advanced bass clarinet student 2007-11]


“Without a doubt, Boots has helped to shape the person that I am today, for which I cannot convey an expression of gratitude adequate enough through words.  In truth, he has taught me so much more than how to play the saxophone.  Rather, he is probably single-handedly responsible for my entire appreciation of music—a gift that will stay and influence me for the rest of my life.  Music to me has not just become a matter of getting the notes right, but instead it has become a form of personal expression, an inspiration to randomly burst into song, an 11pm means to conclude a long day, a tranquil outlet from reality, a part of my character.”

Curtis Fong    currently an undergraduate student at Stanford University
[alto and soprano saxophone student 2004-2011]


“Cornelius has a truly impressive set of skills.  On the one hand, he is a virtuosic clarinetist and bass clarinetist, with remarkable technical facility (which he carries over into his work on saxophones, flutes, and shakuhachi).  He has also deeply explored the fundamentals of wind playing and can both troubleshoot areas that need work and present concise explanations, to beginning and advanced players alike.  In addition, he can move fluidly from performance to improvisation to composition in an impressive variety of styles.”

Jeff Anderle    faculty, San Francisco Conservatory of Music; co-director, Switchboard Music Festival; member of Edmund Welles, Redshift, Sqwonk, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Paul Dresher Electro/Acoustic Band, Magik*Magik orchestra