Homepage of Composer Koji Nakano

                                                        

 
                          
                           Music of Koji Nakano

      

                

                                               SoundCloud

                                                                “A haunting work” -New York Times

Full of compelling ideas and imaginative instrumental writing" -Washington Post

News 

Koji has been commissioned by the Jebediah Foundation to compose Time Song V: Mandala for the 
San Francisco Contemporary Music Players.  SFCMP will give the world premiere during the concert season of 2014/2015. 

Koji will be a Guest Composer for the China-ASEAN Music Festival at Guangxi Arts Institute in China from May 25 to 30, 2014.  

Koji will be a Visiting Scholar and Adjunct Associate Professor at universities in Taiwan from April 30 to May 25, 2014

Koji will be the Guest Composer for the Miami New Music ISCM Festival at Florida International University in Miami, USA, from April 18 to 19, 2014

Koji will be Artist in Residence at Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts  in Wyoming for from March 3 to 28, 2013.

Koji received the 2013 ASCAPlus Award.  

Soprano Stacey Fraser  will give the world premiere of  "Worldscape" III for soprano, jakhe and pre-recorded sounds at the 2013 Music and Performing Arts International Festival at Burapha University on November 21, 2013.
 
Koji was the Guest Composer for the 2013 Taipei International New Music Festival, where his music was performed including the world premiere of "Worldscap III" for soprano, pipa and pre-recorded sounds.
 
Koji has been selected as one of  2013 Taiwan Fellowship recipients supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taiwan. 

Koji was invited to teach World Music Composition for 2 weeks at University of California, Santa Cruz on February 2013.

Ein_Klang Records released CD    
 "Lotusblume" including Koji's Ancient Songs for solo soprano and Arigato for soprano and piano.

Koji was the featured composer for the 2012 Arts Converge Exhibition at Northern Illinois University, where he gave a series of lectures and portrait concert. 
 
Del Sol String Quartet gave the US Premiere of Koji's Time Song III:Reincarnation "The Birth of a Spirit" (String Quartet Version) at the Smithsonian Freer Gallery of Art in Washington DC on February 19, 2011.
 
Koji is the recipient of The 2010 White Flowers Residncy at Yaddo.
 
Koji was a Guest Composer for the Nong Festival at Korean National University of the Arts from September 6-7, 2010.
 
Unspoken Voices-Unbroken Spirits for Audio Visual work (film by Tiffany Doesken) with Thai Classical Singers and Piphat Ensemble will be installed during the 2010 ISCM World New Music Days in Sydney, Australia from April 30 to May 9, 2010.
 
Koji received a MetLife Creative Connetions Grant from Meet the Composer.  The grant will support his participation in the Pacific Rim Music Festival as a guest composer from April 21 to 25, 2010.
   
Koji guest lectured at the  University of Texas at Austin, Chapman University, and Sheridan College in March, 2010.

Koji received a commission from the 2010 Pacific Rim Music Festival at the University of
California, Santa Cruz to compose a new piece for daegeum, violin and cello.     

Koji was chosen as a finalist in music composition of the 2009 Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellowship. The MCC has recognized 50 Massachusetts artists for creating work of exceptional quality in a range of disciplines. The MCC's Artist Fellowship Program will award $10,000 unrestricted grants to 33 artists, and distinguish 17 others as finalists with $1,000 grants which were selected from more than 1,200 applicants.
 
Koji participated in the composers forum in Mittersill, Austria as Composer in Residence from September 10-19, 2009.

Koji received a 2009 MetLife Creative Connections Grant from Meet The Composer.   The grant will support his participation for events at California State University, San Bernardino, where he was Composer in Residence at the Music Department from May 29 to June 2, 2009.

In 2008, Koji became the first composer to receive the S&R Washington Award Grand Prize from the S&R Foundation.  As the Grand Prize recipient, Koji received a cash prize of $10.000 during the award ceremony in Washington DC on May 17, 2009. 

       Photo by Kurt Hörbst
 
                                                             Photo by Maria Angela Cancado
                                     
Biography
 
Award-winning Japanese composer, Koji Nakano became the first composer to receive the S&R Washington Award Grand Prize in 2008.  Since then, Nakano has been recognized as one of the major voices among Asian composers of his generation.  His work reflects the relationship between beauty, form and imperfection through the formality of music.  As a composer and an educator, his musical activities have included community service and outreach to help bridge Western and non-Western musical cultures.  His recent work strives to merge several musical traditions and also make reference to theatre, philosophy, rituals and spirituality in a series of compositions entitled Time Song.  
   
Nakano has composed more than fifty works, including solo pieces, chamber works, symphonic movements, operas, and concerti for piano and violin.  His compositions have been premiered in USA, Canada, Australia, Holland, Austria, Belgium, Lithuania, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, and Cambodia.  His music has been also performed at such venues as Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, Jordan Hall, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Smithsonian Museum, Vilnius Congress Hall, Tokyo Wonder Site, and Taiwan National Concert Hall, as well as Tanglewood, Aspen, Bowdoin and Vancouver music festivals.
  

His music has been commissioned and performed by the Tapestry Opera, Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra, Taipei Chinese Orchestra, Del Sol String Quartet, Ensemble Reconsil Vienna, Borealis String Quartet, Helikon Ensemble, San Francisco New Music Players, pianist Ning An, soprano Stacey Fraser, pipa virtuoso Hsi-Jong Wang, among others.  His portrait concert has been presented at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, at Tenri Cultural Institute of New York, at Northern Illinois University, and at Georgia State University as part of the College Music Society’s Fifty-First National Conference

 
His previous projects include an orchestral piece, Ceremonial: Time Song commissioned by conductor Toshiaki Murakami and the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra, with support from the Japanese Embassy in Vilnius, Lithuania.  The work was premiered as part of a special concert celebrating The Friendship of Japan and EU Nations at Vilnius Congress Hall, Lithuania in the spring of 2005.  In that same year, the Helikon Ensemble performed his first chamber opera Brush and his sextet A Rock in the Way of a Floating Stream at the Vancouver East Cultural Center in association with the Vancouver Opera's Views of Japan.  In 2007, his Time Song II: Howling Through Time for female singer, flutist and percussionist was premiered at the Asia Society in NYC in the concert Four Generations of Asian Composers, where Nakano was honored to represent Japan as the youngest of four generations.  
 
In 2009, Ensemble Reconsil Vienna gave the world premiere of his Scattered Clouds/Dramatic Sky for flute, bass clarinet, viola and violoncello as part of KOFOMI ("Composers Forum in Mittersill") in Austria.  His Unspoken Voices-Unbroken Spirits for Audio Visual work in collaboration with filmmaker Tiffany Doesken opened the 2010 ISCM World New Music Days at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in Australia.  It was also installed at the Campbelltown Arts Centre during the 2010 ISCM World New Music Days.  

In 2010, Hyun Soo Kim and the members of the Del Sol String Quartet premiered his Time Song III: Reincarnation “The Birth of a Spirits" for daegeum, violin and violoncello at the 2010 Pacific Rim Music Festival.  The piece was subsequently performed by the students of Korean National University of the Arts as part of the Nong Festival in Seoul, Korea.  In the same year, Borealis String Quartet premiered the string quartet version of Time Song III: Reincarnation “The Birth of a Spirit” for the opening concert of Asian Young Musicians' Connection at the Performing Arts Center (Soochow University) in Taipei, Taiwan.  In the fall of 2010, his multi-media concert Music, Dance and Film: Innovation and Tradition in the Works of Koji Nakano was presented at the Eastern Centre of Art and Culture as part of the Annual Music and Performing Arts Festival at Burapha University in Bang Saen, Thailand.  

In 2011, Del Sol String Quartet gave the US premiere of Time Song III: Reincarnation “The Birth of a Spirit" at the Smithsonian Freer Gallery of Art and John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.  In the same year, his Scattered Clouds/Dramatic Sky for Audio Visual work with filmmaker Tiffany Doesken made an official selection to the New Filmmakers New York and the Athens International Film and Video Festival in 2011. In 2012, Chinese Taipei Orchestra gave the world premiere of Time Song IV: Diverse Voices commissioned by the TCO for its Annual Traditional Arts Festival.

In 2012, Taiwanese Pipa Virtuoso Hsi-Jong Wang commissioned Nakano to compose Worldscape for amplified pipa and pre-recorded sounds.  He premiered it in his recital as part of 2012 Kuandu Arts Festival at Taipei National University of the Arts in Taiwan. In the same year, Worldscape II for amplified jahke and pre-recorded sounds was premiered at 2012 Music and Performing Arts International Festival at Burapha University in Thailand.  He was the guest composer for the 2013 Taipei International New Music Festival in Taiwan, where his music had performed including the world premiere of Worldscape III for soprano, pipa and pre-recorded sounds.  


Nakano has been Composer in Residence for the California State University at San Bernardino, Royal University of Fine Arts in Cambodia, Burapha University in Thailand, Japanese Spring Festival at the United Nations International School Theater (New York City), and KOFOMI ("Composers Forum in Mittersill") in Austria.  He also served as one of resident composers at the 4th Annual Thailand International Composition Festival in Bangsaen, Thailand in 2008.  During May in 2010, Nakano was a Visiting Composer in Residence at the University of Western Sydney in Australia, where his Looking at a Dancing Apsara through Rectangular Prisms, an Audio Visual work in collaboration with Tiffany Doesken, was premiered as part of the Interactive Creative Forum. 


Nakano has guest lectured at the University of California at Berkeley, the University of California at Davis, the University of Texas at Austin, Chapman University, Creighton University, Sweet Briar College, Sheridan College, the University of Western Sydney, Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Korean National University of the Arts, National Taiwan University of Arts, Taipei Municipal University of Education, National Chiao Tung University, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Hong Kong Institute of Education, Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music in Singapore, SEGi College in Malaysia, and Royal University of Fine Arts in Cambodia, as well as at Chulalongkorn, Mahidol, Rangsit, Silpakorn and Payap Universities in Thailand. In 2012, Nakano was the featured composer for “The Arts Converge: Contemporary Art and Asian Musical Traditions” at Northern Illinois University, where his portrait concert was presented at the School of Music Recital Hall.  

 

In addition to being the recipient of 2008 S&R Washington Award Grand Prize from the S&R Foundation, Nakano has also received composition awards, grants and fellowships from the Massachusetts Cultural Council (2)Asian Cultural Council, Japan Society of Boston, Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs, National Gugak Center in Korea, Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Taiwan National Science Council, Tanglewood Music Center, Meet The Composer (3), ASCAP (14), American Music Center (5),  University of California at San Diego, California State University at San Bernardino (3), New England Conservatory, New School University, Composers Conference at Wellesley College, Ernest Bloch Music Festival, as well as fellowships for residency from Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Center in ItalyMacDowell Colony, Yaddo (2), Millay Colony for the Arts (3), Djerassi Resident Artists Program, Ucross FoundationRagdale FoundationBrush Creek Foundation for the Arts, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (2), Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts (2), and Atlantic Center for the Arts (2).  

Nakano is the first recipient of the Toru Takemitsu Award in Composition from the Japan Society of Boston awarded annually to the most talented young composer in Boston area.  In 2008, he became the first composer to receive the S&R Washington Award Grand Prize from the S&R Foundation, which is awarded to the most talented young artist (in the fields of fine arts, music, drama, dance, photography and film), for his/her contributions to U.S.- Japanese relation.  The past distinguished grand prize awardees include soprano Maki Mori (2000), pianist Yu Kosuge (2002), violinists Yosuke Kawasaki (2004), Sayaka Shoji (2006), and Tamaki Kawakubo (2007). 

As a guide to his musical compositions, Dr. Stacey Fraser, Associate Professor of Music at the California State University at San Bernardino, has written a paper entitled, Confluence of Musical Cultures in Time Song II, in which she examined the incorporation of a variety of Japanese vocal and instrumental techniques into western musical languages.  The paper was first presented as a lecture/recital by Dr. Fraser as part of the Music of Japan Today 2007 Symposium at the University of Maryland at Baltimore County and was featured again during the College Music Society’s Fiftieth National Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah in November 2007.  There was also an essay version of the paper, which was published by Cambridge Scholar Publishing in the UK as part of a book centered on the proceedings of the Music of Japan Today Symposium.
 
Nakano received his Bachelor Degree in composition with distinction, and Master's Degree in composition with academic honors and distinction, Pi Kappa Lambda, from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where he studied with Lee Hyla and John Harbison.  At NEC, he was a scholarship student and was the winner of composition competitions for the Honors Brass Quintet in 1998 and the Commencement Composition in 1997 and 1999.  From 2002-2003, he studied with Dutch composer Louis Andriessen in Amsterdam and at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague as the Japanese Government Overseas Study Program Artist.  In 2006, Nakano received his Ph.D. in composition from the University of California at San Diego, where he studied with Chinary Ung under the Gluck Composition Fellowship.
 
Nakano currently creates various cross-cultural works in collaboration with Western and Asian traditional and contemporary musicians, ensembles, dancers and filmmakers.  His upcoming projects include Time Song V: Mandala commissioned by the Jebediah Foundation New Music Commissions for the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, and his second opera Spiritual Forest co-commissioned by the Annual Music and Performing Arts Festival at Burapha University in Thailand and the Opera Workshop Seminar at California State University, San Bernardino.  
 

From 2008 to 2012, Nakano served as a Fellow Council member of the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts from 2008-2012.  In addition to which he was a committee member of the National Performing Arts' Task Force on Diversity in Performing Arts in USA. In 2009, Composer Janet Jieru Chen and Nakano co-founded the Asian Young Musicians' Connection ("AYMC"), which promotes new music by commissioning compositions from emerging composers for its annual concert. 


Nakano is the Coordinator for International Affairs in the Faculty of Music and Performing Arts at Burapha University in Thailand, where he also teaches composition as a full-time faculty member.  At Burapha, he is also the Director of International Programs for the Annual Music and Performing Arts International Festival and the Artistic Director of Experimental Thai Music and Dance Laboratory for Young Composers.  From 2011 to 2013, he was a Guest Professor for the School of Music at Taipei National University of the Arts in Taiwan.  In the winter quarter of 2013, Nakano was a visiting faculty at the University of California at Santa Cruz, where he taught world music composition. 


Nakano is a member of ASCAP.  He will be the guest composer for the 2014 ISCM New Music Miami Festival in USA and the 2014 China-ASEAN Music Festival at Guangxi Arts Institute in China.  Nakano is a member of ASCAP.  

 
 
                   Visual instalation for Portrait Concert at Burapha University in Bangsaen,Thailand,
                         February 24 2009
 

                   Premiere of Looking at a Dancing Apsara through Rectangular Prisms for flute and 
                         Pin Peat Ensemble as part of the Creative Residency funded by the Asian Cultural Council, 
                         July 25 2009 
                                                           
                                                                                                                        Photos by Kurt Hörbst    
                After the premiere of Scatterd Clouds/Dramatic Sky for Ensemble Reconsil Vienna,
                        Composers Forum in Mittersill at Borg in Austria on September 20, 2009

 
                   Scattered Clouds/Dramatic Sky for Audio Visual Work with Contemporary Dancers (2010) 
                         Eastern Center of Art and Culture on November 17, 2010
                         Filmmaker: Tiffany Doesken/ Choreographer: Julaluck Eakwattanapan
 
                   Eternal Chanting "From Somewhere...." for Three Thai Classical Singers and 
                         Thai percussions (2010), Eastern Center of Art and Culture on November 17, 2010
   
 
                   Looking at a Dancing Apsara through Rectangular Prisms -Piphat Ensemble Version- (2010)
                         Eastern Center of Art and Culture on November 17, 2010
 
 
       Looking at a Dancing Apsara through Rectangular Prisms for Audio Visual Work with
                        Thai Classical Dancers (2010) Eastern Center of Art and Culture on November 17, 2010
                        Filmmaker: Tiffany Doesken/ Choreographer: Noppon Jamreantong
 
 
                         Unspoken Voices-Unbroken Spirits for Audio Visual Work with Two Dancers (2010)
                         Eastern Center of Art and Culture on November 17, 2010
                   Filmmaker Tiffany Doesken/ Choreographer: Sanchai Uaesilapa
   

                   After portrait concert, Music, Dance and Film: Innovation and Tradition in the Works of Koji Nakano 
                   Eastern Center of Art and Culture on November 17, 2010


 
                          Rehearsing with Pin Peat Ensemble at Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh, 
                          Cambodia, July 22, 2009