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
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, another 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 Italy, MacDowell Colony, Yaddo (2), Millay Colony for the Arts (3), Djerassi Resident Artists Program, Ucross Foundation, Ragdale Foundation, Brush 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
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