miya masaoka


Miya Masaoka

Musician, Composer, Sound Artist
Residence: New York
Contact: 455 Central Park West, Apt. 7-C, New York, NY 10025



M.A., Music Composition, Mills College , Oakland CA, USA, Composition with Alvin Curran, Frederick Rzewski, David Tudor


B.A., Music, San Francisco State University, magna cum laude, San Francisco, CA Music Theory with Wayne Peterson, Counterpoint with Dr. Eric Moe.


Private Study with gagaku master Suenobu Togi, Studied traditional Japanese Court Music under Imperial Court musician Sensei Suenobu Togi who traces his court musician lineage over 1200 years. Koto with Seiko Shimaoka & others


On-the-job studies with Pharoah Sanders, George Lewis, Steve Coleman, Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, Fred Frith, Dr. L. Subramaniam


Private studies during travels in Japan, India

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Selected Compositions, Installations


Untited for 16 speakers; Commissioned by Engine 27, Harvestworks.

While I Was Walking (I Heard a Sound): For mixed choir (150 singers), Gerbode Commission for Yerba Buena Center for the Arts 10th Anniversary.


Koto in the Sky; installation. Laser light between two buildings triggered by players on fire escape. Commissioned by Luggage Store Gallery, San Francisco,


“Koto” Solo commissioned by Alonzo King’s Lines Ballet. Performed at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Summer Stage, NYC, Dusseldorf, Germany

Thinking Sounds, What is the Sound of Naked Men?, commissioned by San Francisco Arts Commission SF Performed by the SF Sound Ensemble, with live brain waves from audience volunteers, for eight musicians and IBVA software, Yerba Buena Gardens, SF, CA USA


It Creeps Along, performed by Bang on a Can Allstars and composer with, koto, lasers, powerbook; Miller Theater, Columbia University, NY, USA

Bee Project #5, commissioned by the Zellerbach Family Fund, Inter-species collaboration in multi-media performance. Performed by Miya Masaoka and for 3,000 live bees participating, koto, computer, video; premiered at the LAB, San Francisco, Intersection for the Arts, SF, CA


Music For Mouths, commissioned by the ROVA Saxophone Quartet; premiered April 1999 New Performance Gallery, San Francisco, also performances in Japan, Europe


Ritual, inter-species collaboration with giant Madagascar hissing cockroaches. Performed by Miya Masaoka with infra-red sensors, video, and cockroaches participating, Cleveland, Ohio, , CyberTheater, Brussels, Belgium, U2, Rotterdam, Holland


Dark Passages, commissioned by the Civil Liberites Public Education Fund, IAC San Francisco Arts Commssion, collaboration with writer Thulani Davis; for text, string quartet, samples, Buddhist chanters, internees, actors, film, video, slides, Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, CA

What is the Difference Between Stripping and Playing the Violin? Masaoka Orchestra, Market St., San Francisco; Sacred Grounds, San Pedro, CA


24,000 Years Is Forever, commissioned by Asian Improv Arts for Desert Flower orchestra and tape, premiered at Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, also Yerba Buena Center, Other Minds Festival 1997 with Masaoka Orchestra

What is the Difference Between Stripping and Playing the Violin? Commissoned by San Francisco Public Art and Transit. Compositions and improvisations with large group, text, and conducting and improvising techniques with electronics; San Francisco, CA, also San Pedro, CA


Ritual, sound and body performance with video, sensors, cockroaches, performed at High Tides New Music Fesitval, San Francisco, Riverside, Cleveland, Groengin, Rotterdam, Holland, Cybertheater, Belgium


Bee Project #1 for koto, violin, percussion and live, amplified bees. Premiered at Sound Culture. Support from Zellerbach Family Fund. Performed at Oakland Museum, CA, also Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco


Koto Figurations (with MAX, random and non/random), NLA, 9

Variation 2 for Prepared Koto, Piano and Electronics, NLA


Trilogy for sho, basson, koto, Mills college, Oakland


Unearthed/Unbound for solo koto, commissioned by Purple Moon Dance Co. Premiered at Theatre Artaud, San Francisco, Symphony Space, NYC, Tokyo, Hokkaido, Matsumoto

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Selected Recordings


Trio with Peter Kowald, Gino Robair, Rastascan


Guerrila Mosaics, Trio with John Butcher, Gino Robair on 132 Music


Burkocks, Christian Wolff, guest on Tzadik

Ulukm complilation, Nitra Electronics Festival, Bratislava, Slovenia

Digital Wildlife, Maybe Monday, MM with Fred Frith, Larry Ochs, Winter & Winter


Saturn’s Finger, Maybe Monday; MM (koto and electronics) Fred Frith, Buzz Records The Netherlands (guitar) Larry Ochs,(saxophone)


The Usual Turmoil; Duets with George Lewis (trombone); Miya Masaoka(koto, prepared koto) Music and Arts, USA

Monk’s Japanese Folk Song, Miya Masaoka Trio with Reggie Workman (bass, saw) Andrew Cyrille (drums) Monk pieces and originals, Dizim, Germany; Awarded “Top Ten Recordings of 1998” by Derk Richardson, San Francisco Bay Guardian

Sliding, Duets with Jon Rose, MM (koto, prepared koto) Noise Asia, Hong Kong


What is the Difference Between Stripping and Playing the Violin?, The Masaoka Orchestra. Orchestra contains string section, Asian instruments, jazz in various idioms, rock and electronics. Contains two extended works including "24,000 Years is Forever." Masaoka conducts. 1998 on Victo Records, Canada. Musicians includes among others; George Lewis; trombone, India Cooke; violin, Vijay Iyer; piano, Francis Wong; Saxophone, Hafez Hadirzadeh; saxophone and ney, Glen Horiuchi; shamisen, Trevor Dunn; electric bass, Mark Izu; contrebass and sheng, Liu Qi Chao; erhu, Anthony Brown; drums, Elliot Humberto Kavee; drums and cello, Thomas Day; electronics, DJ Mariko; turntables. Victo Records, 1998 (Canada)


Séance, trio with Henry Kaiser, Miya Masaoka and Danielle DeGruttola; VEX, Germany.

Crepuscular Music Miya Masaoka, Gino Robair, Tom Nunn. Rastascan


Compositions/Improvisations, solo CD with guest flutist James Newton; Asian Improv


9066 Art Project, commission for taped piece for installation, The Black Room

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Selected Awards


Gerbode Commissioning award, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Composer’s Fellowship in Music/Composition California Arts Council

NEA grant for London Gateway Project/The Lab


ASCAP Annual Award


People's Commissioning Project Grant, Bang on a Can All-Stars

National Endowment for the Arts, Meet the Composer for ROVA Saxophone Quartet


San Francisco Individual Artist Commission Grants for Dark Passages


San Francisco Art In Transit Program, “What is the Difference…” 98 Asian American Arts Foundation Award

Monk's Japanese Folk Song, Miya Masaoka Trio with Andrew Cyrille and Reggie Workman, Top Ten of 1997 By Derk Richardson, East Bay Express


What is the Difference Between Stripping and Playing the Violin? Chosen as "Most Transcendental Musical Moment of 1997" by Sam Prestiani, S.F.Weekly


New Langton Arts First Bay Area Award


Compositions/Improvisations Four awards "Top Ten of 1994" including Coda Magazine, East Bay Express

Mills Faculty Award for Composition


Elizabeth Crothers Award for composition

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Selected Residencies


Harvestworks and Engine 27 Residency, NY


Wattis Residency, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts


Headlands Center for the Arts, Artist in Residence, Sausalito, CA


Mills College Residency, Oakland, CA


Other Minds, a gathering of composers at Djerrassi. Woodside, CA, USA


STEIM, ,Amsterdam, Holland: Residencies to build midi interface and software development

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Selected Publications, Articles

2002 Deep and Wide; Interview with Pauline Oliveros, San Francisco Bay Guardian
2001 New Electronic Devices For Artists; Interlope, article
2002 Keeping It Simple: interview with Meredith Monk, SFBG
2000 Notes From A Trans-Cultural Diary; Arcana,Granary Books
2000 Innovation, Improvisation: interview with Cecil Taylor, San Francisco Bay Guardian
2000 Examining Obsession: interview with Laurie Anderson, SFBG
2001 Interview with librettist Thulani Davis, SFBG,
1999 Fluxus: Interview with Yoko Ono, SFBG
1997 “Koto No Tankyu” Institute of Studies of American Music, Brooklyn College

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Faculty, Bard MFA Program, quarter term, Music/Sound


San Francisco Community Music Center , individual instruction in composition, theory, counterpoint, and koto.

1991, 1995-present

Adjunct faculty, San Francisco State University; Japanese American Art and Expression


Music Director the Homeless, Tenderloin Center for Reflection and Education

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Initiator, founding member of the San Francisco Electronic Music Festival, ongoing from 2000
Initiator, founding member of Creative Music Alliance, NY, ongoing from 2001

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2003 Documentary: Film Screening: Adventures of the Solitary Bee, Santa Monica, CA
2004 Film Screening, The Adventures of the Solitary Bee, a film by Miya Masaoka, premiered at ATA, Experimental Film Series, San Francisco, CA

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Copyright © 2014 Miya Masaoka. All rights reserved. miyamasaoka@gmail.com