miya masaoka


As Leader

For Birds, Planes & Cello

A continuous field recording with cello.

Composed by: Miya Masaoka
Performed by: Joan Jeanrenaud

"This is an engaging concept--the cello acts as a link between the birds and industrial sounds, which in turn creates a relationship between the cello and field recording. Thus, a double counterpoint: birds/planes and cello/field recording."
   -Norbert Schnell, researcher in sound and music, IRCAM.

"This requires patient listening to appreciate, but those who take the time will marvel at how ingeniously Masaoka can challenge and change perceptions of what is, and isn't, music. By the album's conclusion, Jeanrenaud's piercing extended cello techniques are almost indistinguishable from the bird calls and jet roars they accompany. It's a potent reminder that what matters most in Masaoka's visionary work is the whole, not the individual components, and that intriguing music may be as close as the next hillside or canyon."
   -George Varga, San Diego Union Tribune

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Solitary B , 2005
Also available at CD Baby

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While I was walking I heard a sound...

For Three choirs and nine soloists spatialized in balconies.

Boy sopranos, male falsettos and operatic singers join forces in a total of three choirs and nine solosits consisting of one humdred and twenty singers. While I Was Walking, I Heard a Sound is scored for up to 42 voices and explores the boundaries of vocal art. It was recorded in a large, resonant cathedral with a natural 2.5 second reverberation.

Conductor, Robert Geary
San Francisco Choral Society
Ensemble of the Piedmont Choirs
Sound Color Ensemble: Kevin Baum
Dina Emmerson, Anne Hege, Cheryl Keller, Richard Mix, Tina Osinski, Amy X Neuberg, Gary Ruschman, Randall Wong

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Solitary B , 2005
Also available at CD Baby

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Compositions/Improvisations. Debut solo recording with guest flutist James Newton on one selection. Asian Improv Arts , 1993.

Available at CD Baby

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

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Monk's Japanese Folksong. The Miya Masaoka Trio with Andrew Cyrille (drums) and Reggie Workman (contrabass and saw). Thelonious Monk compositions and some originals. Dizim Records, Germany, 1998.

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As Collaborator

Cloud Plate. Alex Cline/Kaoru/Miya Masaoka/G.E. Stinson Cryptogramophone , 2005


Fly, Fly, Fly. Larry Ochs/Joan Jeanrenaud/Miya Masaoka/. Intakt Records , 2004


Klang. Farbe. Melodie. Biggi Vikeloe/George Cremaschi/Miya Masaoka/Gino Robair. 482 Music , 2004


Illuminations. Peter Kowald/Miya Masaoka/Gino Robair. Rastascan #BRD 049


Digital Wildlife. Maybe Monday with special guest Joan Jeanrenaud. Fred Frith, Larry Ochs, Miya Masaoka. Winter & Winter, 2002.

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Guerrilla Mosaics. Butcher/Masaoka/Robair. John Butcher (saxophone), Miya Masaoka (koto), Gino Robair (percussion). 482 Music , 2002. #482-1013


Saturn's finger. Maybe Monday; Trio with Fred Frith (electric guitar), Miya Masaoka (koto and electronics), Larry Ochs (saxophones). Buzz, Netherlands,1999.

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The Usual Turmoil and other Duets. George Lewis (trombone); Miya Masaoka (koto preparations, bowing, and electronics on one track). Music and Arts Programs of America, 1998.


Sliding. Jon Rose (violin and samples), Miya Masaoka (koto preparations, koto rubbing). Duets. Noise Asia, 1998.


Seance. Trio with Henry Kaiser (guitar), Miya Masaoka (koto), and Danielle DeGruttola (cello). VEX Records, Germany, 1996.


Crepuscular Music. Miya Masaoka (koto, cymbals inserted between the strings, and other preparations), Gino Robair (percussion, motorized implements, toy horns, calls, dustpan, calabash), Tom Nunn (bug and babbon). Rastascan , 1996.

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As Guest

  • Christian Wolff: Burdocks. The Other Minds Ensemble. Tzadik, 2001.
  • President's Breakfast III C. Disc Lexia Records, 2001.
  • Trancepatterns, track 6. John Ingle/Dan Joseph. Dendroica Music, 2000.
  • L. Subramaniam, Global Fusion, track 2. Erato Disques, France, 1999.
  • 12 Minor. Ben Godberg. Avant 1998.
  • Suite for Koto and Jazz Orchestra. Toshiko Akiyoshi. BMG Japan, 1997.
  • Purple Wind, tracks 1–7, Phil Gelb. Ryokan Records, 1996
  • Strings & Wings, track 7. Radim Zenkl. Shanachie 1996.
  • What We Live, track 2. Lisle Ellis. Black Saint, 1996.
  • Myths, Modes and Means, Finger of God, Steve Coleman and The Mystic Rhythm Society. BMG/RCA Records, 1995
  • Tribute to Sun Ra, Tom Djll. Rastascan Records, 1995
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In Compilation

  • Azadi. A Benefit Compilation for the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan with many Bay Area artists and groups. Selection Disc 2, Belly of the Beast. firemuseum@care2.com
  • Hermovo Ucho in Nitra, Slovakia, 2000, track 2. julofujak@yahoo.com
  • soundCd no. 1, San Pedro. Schindler House. Track: What is the Difference Between Stripping and Playing the Violin? Orchestra: Bolles, A. Cline, Fowells, Intriere, Johnston, R. Potts, Ray, Schoenbeck, Scorzo, Stinson. Miya Masaoka conducting. Cindy Bernard, producer. SASSAS, 1998-2001. www.soundnet.org
  • Hallelujah, Anyway: Remembering Tom Cora, Disc 2, Track 4 with Larry Ochs, Bob Ostertag. Tzadik, 1999.
  • Sounds like 1996: Music by Asian American Artists, Disc 2, How to Construct a Paper Tar Barrack. Prepared koto, piano, electronics. Track 1, Innocent Eyes and Lenses 1996. Tatsu Aoki, producer.
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