Miya Masaoka resides in New York City and is a classically trained musician, composer and sound artist. She has created works for koto, laser interfaces, laptop and video, installations and written scores for ensembles, chamber orchestra and mixed choirs, and has led her own orchestra and numerous ensembles. In her performance pieces she has mapped the movement of insects whereby their movements trigger the sounds for the piece. These pieces investigate insect culture and behavior, extract various data as source material for sound and investigate the constructions of race, gender. In other works, she has monitored the physiological response of plants, the human brain and her own body as renderings for music and sound composition. In her plant pieces she explores the keen awareness of plants to their environment, and the plant's ability to think and respond. Her new release, For Birds, Planes and Cello, was written for former Kronos Quartet cellist Joan Jeanrenaud, and has received international critical acclaim.
Since forming the San Francisco Gagaku Society, Masaoka has been performing her work in varied musical contexts in India, Europe, Japan, Canada and the US. Her works have been performed by Volti, Piedmont Choirs, Bang on a Can, ROVA; her piece for Lines Ballet was performed at the Venice Biennale 2004. Other commissions; Bang On a Can, Engine 27, Harvestworks, The California Arts Composer Fellowship, Gerbode Fellowship; residencies include The Western Front, Headlands Center for the Arts, Steim, Other Minds Djerassi residency, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Wattis Residency, the Herb Alpert Arts Award in 2004. She holds degress in music and music composition from San Francisco State University and a M.A. in Music Composition, Mills College where she studied with Alvin Curran. She is currently a professor in the Music/Sound department at the Milton Avery School of the Arts MFA, Bard College, NY.