Meisho Tosha, Music Director of the Shumei Taiko Ensemble and the Ensemble’s Resident Composer, was born in Ningyo-cho, Tokyo, in 1941. A Grand Master of the Japanese wooden flute known as the "yokobue," he has earned international renown for his work while playing for audiences in the Orient and throughout Europe and North America. Among his most memorable concert appearances were the first World Flute Festival, in Minneapolis, and the second World Flute Festival, in New York. He was the first artist of traditional Japanese music to play at the Suntory Gala Concert, Japan, a festival usually devoted solely to western music. Although traditional music is his forte, he is adventurous enough as a musician to have played with American sax and piano jazz artists in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. In Rome, he dedicated a concert to Pope John Paul II. And he played at the Weil Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York with his son, Hideaki Nakagawa.

While in Florence, Italy, he was so moved by Leonardo da Vinci’s life and work that he composed musical impressions of the Renaissance artist, scientist, and inventor that were later released on a CD entitled "Da Vinci’s Flute" (distributed by the Nippon Columbia Co., Ltd.).

Since becoming the Shumei Taiko Ensemble’s Music Director in 1988, Tosha has written most of the Ensemble’s music. It was under his generous guidance that the Ensemble’s unique musical direction was set. A distinctive performance style evolved and the Ensemble’s signature balance of drums and flutes was perfected. Much of the music that Tosha composes takes its spirit from nature, from the voices and sounds of the mountains, waters, and skies. What he aims to create is a distillate of nature’s essence. This demands that the musicians in the Ensemble express equally both the breadth and the delicacy of nature. Similar to the Ensemble’s juxtaposition of flute and drum, nature is both forceful and subtle. And it is the balance of this duality that the musicians must express.

To Tosha, the Ensemble’s approach to taiko as "a service to God," means not that the music mimic or slavishly imitate, but rather that it take its place in a world that is still being created; it must itself be creative and fresh. His goal is to break through the walls built between art and life. It is this idea that he attempts to instill in the taiko musicians that make music with him.