Miya Masaoka is an American composer and sound artist. Her work explores bodily perception of vibration, movement and time while foregrounding complex timbre relationships. In 2018 she joined the Columbia University Visual Arts Department as an Associate Professor, where she is the director of the Sound Art Program, a joint program with the Computer Music Center. A 2019 Studio Artist for the Park Avenue Armory, Masaoka has also received the Doris Duke Artist Award in 2013, a Fulbright Fellowship to Japan in 2016, and an Alpert Award in 2003. Her work has been presented at the Venice Biennale, MoMA PS1, Kunstmuseum Bonn, and the Park Avenue Armory. She has been commissioned by and collaborated with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Glasgow Choir, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Bang on a Can, Jack Quartet, Del Sol, Momenta and the S.E.M. Ensemble. She has a 2019 commission for an outdoor installation at the Caramoor, Katonah, New York.
Miya Masaoka is a composer, sound artist and musician based in New York City. Classically trained, her work operates at the intersection of spatialized sound, frequency and perception, performance, social and historical references. Whether recording inside physical objects or inside a plant or the human body, within architecturally resonant spaces or outdoor resonant canyons, she creates incongruencies that feed the paradox of the contemporary condition.
Her interconnected artistic practices include notated composition, alternative personas, hybrid acoustic-electronic performance on Japanese traditional string instruments such as the koto and ichigenkin. Her work includes writing new Noh music, instrument building, wearable computing, and sonifying the behavior of plants, brain activity and insect movement. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including the Venice Biennale, Park Avenue Armory, MoMA PS1, Kunstmuseum Bonn, Institute of Contemporary Art Philadelphia, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and the Laboratorium for Contemporary Art Museum at Ujazdowski Castle and Siggraph. She was the keynote speaker for NIME (New Interfaces for Musical Expression) in Brisbane, Australia and a Fulbright Fellow to Japan in 2016. She has been the recipient of such grants and commissions as the Doris Duke Artist Award, the Alpert Award in the Arts, The Gerbode Foundation, The Electronic Music Foundation, the MAP Fund, The NEA, The Montalvo Arts Center’s Lucas Artists Residency, STEIM, Issue Project Room (Siloh), The Headlands, and others. Masaoka has taught composition at New York University and the Sound program at the Milton Avery School of the Arts at Bard College. She is named a Park Avenue Armory Studio Artist in 2019, as has a commission to create an outdoor sound installation for Sonic Innovations at the Caramoor in 2019.
The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Glasgow Chamber Choir premiered her work in Glasgow, Scotland in 2018 (Ilan Volkov conducting), and the Bang On a Can Allstars, Either/Or (Richard Carrick conducting), So Percussion, Del Sol string quartet, the La Jolla Symphony (Steve Schick conducting), Joan Jeanrenaud (formerly of Kronos), members of the Gugak National Orchestra (Seoul, Korea), Kathleen Supove, James Ilgenfritz, and the Jack Quartet in 2019. She has scored dance works for Movement Research at Judson Church and a full ballet for Alonzo King.
Composers Pauline Oliveros and Toshiko Akiyoshi have written pieces for her. Her teachers at Mills College include Alvin Curran, David Tudor and Maryanne Amacher. In improvised settings, she has performed and recorded in large groups with Cecil Taylor, Henry Brandt, Christian Wolfe, Dr. L. Subramaniam, and in smaller ensembles with Steve Coleman, Fred Frith, Ingrid Laubrock, Andrew Cyrille, Reggie Workman, Pharoah Sanders, Vijay Iyer. She has recorded dozens of CD’s, and most recently a double CD with Anthony Braxton.