Music From Japan
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Fuyuko Fukunaka

Fuyuko Fukunaka is Associate Professor of Musicology at Tokyo University of the Arts, the Faculty of Music. She has a Ph. D. from New York University, the Graduate School of Arts and Science, with a dissertation on Wolfgang Rihm (b. 1952). Her research interests include 20th– and 21st-century opera, the music of post-war Japan, and the relationship between post-war French musical culture and existentialism. Her publications have appeared in Japanese, English, German, Italian, and Korean, among them The Horizon of Opera Studies (co-editor; Sairyu Publishing, 2009), New Musicology: Critical Approaches to the Interpretation of Musical Works (Keio University Press, 2013), chapters in the books Music of Japan Today (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2008), Vocal Music and Contemporary Identities (Routledge, 2013), Lotus: La musica di Toshio Hosokawa (Auditorium, 2013), Contemporary Music in East Asia (Seoul National University Press, 2014), and the entry “Japan” in Lexikon Neue Musik (Verlag J. B. Metzler, 2016).


Kenji Sakai
Photo by Maxime Lenik

Kenji Sakai (featured and commissioned composer)

Kenji Sakai was born in Osaka (Japan) on 6th August 1977. Having studied at Kyoto University of Fine Arts and Music, he studied composition, piano, electronics and analysis at Conservatoire National Supérieur de Paris, Haute Ecole de Musique de Genève, and Ircam. He was a member of the French Academy in Madrid from 2012 to 2013 and a fellow of the French Academy in Rome (Pensionnaire de la Villa Médicis) from 2015 to 2016.

Helmut Lachenmann described the young composer as virtuosic in his use of sound and time. His music, filled with clarity and luminosity, is highly personal without being complex, and has a certain sense of lightness to it. Sakai’s works have been performed by prestigious orchestras, ensembles, and soloists including the New Japan Philharmonic conducted by Yoichi Sugiyama, Tatsuya Shimono and NHK Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Intercontemporain, and the National Orchestra of Belgium. His music has been performed throughout Europe and in Japan in festivals and concert halls such as Agora (Paris), Musica Nova (Helsinki), Archipel (Geneva), Biennale Musiques en Scène (Lyon), Centre Pompidou (Paris), Palais des Beaux-Arts (Brussels), Suntory Hall (Tokyo), and Tokyo City Opera. He wrote “Blue Concerto” for Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra’s European tour conducted by Sylvain Cambreling and “Spiral in Blue” for Les Vents Français’ Japan tour. He has had portrait concerts in Europe and Japan, and Music From Japan will present a concert of his music as part of their Festival 2017 in New York. He has been a composer in residence of Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra for three years. Sakai has also been the recipient of many awards, including one given by the Commissioner for Cultural Affairs in Japan.

His scores are exclusively published by Zen-On Music Publisher.

Yoshiaki Onishi
Photo by David Adamcyk

Yoshiaki Onishi (commissioned composer)

Japanese-American composer and conductor Yoshiaki Onishi is currently Associate Professor at Toho Gakuen School of Music in Tokyo, Japan. He received his doctorate at Columbia University in 2015, where he was a Teaching Fellow. As a composer, he has worked on commissions from such festivals as Takefu International Music Festival, Gaudeamus Muziekweek as well as performing organizations such as Ensemble Intercontemporain. His works are published by Edition Gravis in Berlin, Germany. As a conductor deeply engaged in promoting the music of today, he is one of the founding members of Ensemble Exophonie Tokyo. Other ensembles he has worked with as a conductor include Nieuw Ensemble of Amsterdam, ECCE Ensemble and Wet Ink Ensemble. (

Yuta Bandoh

Yuta Bandoh (commissioned composer)

Born in 1991 in Osaka, Yuta Bandoh attended the high school affiliated with Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music and later advanced to the University, graduating with a major in musical composition. He studied composition under Teruyuki Noda, Akio Yasuraoka, and Ichiro Nodaira, and piano with Masako Nakai.

Bandoh’s compositions have been performed widely both inside and outside Japan: by the French National Radio Orchestra, the Tokyo Philharmonic, the New Japan Philharmonic, Izumi Sinfonietta Osaka, Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music Symphony Orchestra, Art respirant, and Ensemble Multilaterale, as well as LAPS Ensemble, Ensemble Muromachi, Juliette Hurel, Benoit Fromanger, and Ueli Wiget (Ensemble Modern). Bandoh was a recipient of the Yoshio Hasegawa Prize in 2012, the Acanthus Musical Prize in 2013, the 83rd Japan Concours in 2014, and the Akutagawa Composition Prize in 2015.

Shohei Amimori

Shohei Amimori

Shohei Amimori is a musician and composer born in Tokyo in 1990. He completed bachelor’s and master’s programs in composition at Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Composition in 2012 and 2015. His orchestral work “Multilubricity” was purchased by his alma mater and is now permanently stored in its library. In 2013 he was awarded the first prize in composition for the Music Competition of Japan. He will release his first album of pop music in November 2016.

Currently Amimori is an educational research assistant at the Art Media Center of Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music.

Jo Kondo

Jo Kondo

Born in Tokyo in 1947, Jo Kondo studied composition at Tokyo University of Arts. In 1977 and 1978 Kondo spent a year in New York on a scholarship from the John D. Rockefeller III Fund. In 1979 he was invited by the Canada Council to teach as a guest lecturer at the University of Victoria, British Columbia. In 1986 he resided in London as a British Council Senior Fellow. Since 1983, Mr. Kondo has taught at several universities in Japan, including Ochanomizu University, Tokyo University of Arts, and Elisabeth University of Music. Presently, Jo Kondo is Guest Professor at Showa Music University and Professor Emeritus of Ochanomizu University. In 2012 he was made an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Over the course of his long career he has written more than 140 compositions, including works for chamber ensemble, orchestras, and electronic media. His works are published by UYNP (UK) and C F. Peters (New York). His music has been featured in festivals worldwide. Kondo is also a prolific writer, having written seven books since 1979 that detail his own aesthetic and compositional ideas.

Shoichi Yabuta

Shoichi Yabuta

Born in Japan in 1983, Shoichi Yabuta studied composition with Nishimura Akira, Kojiba Tomiko, Reiko Arima, Yutaka Fujiwara, Kunihiko Iizuka and Bruce Stark. During his graduate studies at Tokyo College of Music, Yabuta studied Asiatic traditional music, religion, aesthetics, cosmology, calligraphy, and the heterophonic concept. He completed his graduate degree in 2011.

Yabuta has been the recipient of many awards including the first prize of the Wiener Konzerthaus Competition, the First Prize of the Annual Composition Competition for Viola Solo, the Third Prize of the Kazimierz Serocki 13th International Composers’ Competition, the Second Prize of the International Composers’ Competition New Note-Croatia, and the First Prize of the 70th Geneva Competition.

Tatsuya Yamamoto

Tatsuya Yamamoto

Born in 1989 in Nagano, Japan, Tetsuya Yamamoto studied composition with Motoharu Kawashima and Michio Kitazume at Kunitachi College of Music. He has continued his studies with Regis Campo at Conservatoire Marseille since 2014 and began a master’s degree at Conservatoire National Superieur de musique et danse de Lyon in 2016.

Tetsuya Yamamoto has received several awards including the First Prize and Special Prize at the Sixth International Antonin Dvorak Composition Competition in 2015, Representation from Japan at the 31st ACL Festival & Conference in Singapore Young Composers Competition in 2013, Finalist at the Ninth Thailand International Composers Competition in 2013, Prize Winner at the 27th JSCM Composers Awards in 2010 and First Prize and Special Prize at the Eighth Hirosaki Cherry Garden Composition Competition in 2010.

Currently, Yamamoto is a member of the Association Franco-Japonaise de la Musique Contemporaine and lives in Lyon, France.


Fred Sherry 
Photo by Ken Howard

Fred Sherry, cello

A pioneer and a visionary in the music world, Fred Sherry has introduced audiences on five continents and all 50 United States to the music of our time through his close association with today’s composers. Carter, Davidovsky, Mackey, Rakowski, Satoh, Wuorinen and Zorn have written concertos for him, and he has premiered solo and chamber works dedicated to him by Babbitt, Bermel, Foss, Knussen, Lieberson and Takemitsu, among others. Sherry was a founding member of Tashi and Speculum Musicae; he has been a member of the Group for Contemporary Music, of Berio’s Juilliard Ensemble and of the Galimir String Quartet; and he was a close collaborator with jazz pianist and composer Chick Corea. He has been an active performer with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center since the 1970s and was its Artistic Director from 1988 to 1992. Sherry has been a soloist and “sideman” on hundreds of commercial and esoteric recordings. The Fred Sherry String Quartet recordings of the Schoenberg String Quartet Concerto and the String Quartets Nos. 3 and 4 were both nominated for a Grammy. Sherry is a member of the cello faculty of the Juilliard School, the Mannes College of Music and the Manhattan School of Music. His book, 25 Bach Duets from the Cantatas, was published by Boosey & Hawkes in 2011. It will be followed by the long-awaited treatise on contemporary string techniques.

Eriko Sato  Photo by Ken Howard

Eriko Sato
Photo by Ken Howard

Eriko Sato, violin

Eriko Sato is a leading violinist on the New York City chamber music scene and a co-concertmaster of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. She has performed as soloist with orchestras in Louisville, San Francisco and Tokyo. An active chamber musician, Ms. Sato has participated in the Mostly Mozart, Aspen, Sitka, Angel Fire, Gretna, Affinis and Kuhmo Music Festivals, and has appeared regularly with Bargemusic, Chamber Music Northwest, The American String Project, Music From Japan, Caramoor, Dobbs Ferry and the Washington Square Music Festivals. A founding member of the Aspen Soloists, Festival Chamber Music and Salon Chamber Soloists she is also a member of the Elysium, Ecliptica, Strathmere and American Chamber Ensembles.

As a concertmaster of Orpheus, she appears on Deutsche Grammophon recordings, where her releases include Vivaldi’s Four-Violin Concerto and Handel’s Concerti Grossi, Op. 6. For MusicMasters, she appears with the St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble in the Bach Concerti and the chamber music of Hindemith and Beethoven. Her latest releases are Allen Shawn’s string quartet “Sleepless Night” and “Mozart Flute Quartets” on Albany Records. She has also recorded for Vanguard, Delos, Elysium and Grenadilla labels and has been featured on CBS News Sunday Morning. Ms. Sato is currently a faculty member of Bennington Chamber Music Conference, Amateur Musicians Project, Hoff-Barthelson Music School and the Mannes College of Music Preparatory and NEXT Divisions, where she teaches violin and chamber music.

Miya Masaoko
Photo by Heike Liss

Miya Masaoka, koto

Miya Masaoka resides in New York City and is a classically trained musician, composer and installation artist. She has created works for traditional Japanese instruments, chamber ensembles, symphonic orchestra, mixed choirs, and designed interactive wearable textiles. She has composed pieces using spatialization, sonification of data, and has mapped behavior of plants, brain activity and insect movement to sound.  The Wire publication calls her work, “virtuosic, magnificient…essential.”

The New York Press calls her a “World class innovator with uncompromising musicality,” and the New York Times calls her “an explorer of the extremes of her instrument.”

She has studied Japanese music with Suenobu Togi, for whom she founded the San Francisco Gagaku Society in 1990. She has also studied in the koto schools of Chikushi, Sawai, and with Issui Minegishi on the ichi-gen-kin or one string koto.  More recently, she received a Fulbright to study Noh with Hisa Uzawa of the Kanze School.

She has been commissioned by and collaborated with Bang On a Can, So Percussion, The La Jolla Symphony, Either/Or Ensemble, Volti, SF Sound, Ensemble of the Piedmont Choirs, San Francisco Choral Society, Alonzo King and Lines Ballet, Kathleen Supove, ROVA Saxophone Quartet, Joan Jeanrenaud (formerly of Kronos), Del Sol String Quartet

Awards include the prestigious Doris Duke Award, the Alpert Award, Gerbode, ASCAP, Asian Cultural Council, the MAP Fund, Asian Art Foundation, Centre for Contemporary Art at Ujazdowski Castle, Issue Project Room.

She has been a faculty member of the Milton Avery MFA Sound/Music Department at Bard College since 2003 and has taught composition at NYU.  She is the interim Director of Sound Arts MFA program at Columbia University.

Akikazu Nakamura

Akikazu Nakamura, shakuhachi

Akikazu Nakamura studied the shakuhachi under Katsuya Yokoyama and several masters of the komuso shakuhachi. He also studied at the NHK school of traditional music. After his extensive shakuhachi education he went on to study composition and jazz theory at the Berklee College of Music in the United States, graduating summa cum laude. He continued his studies in the US as a scholarship student at the New England Conservatory, focusing on composition and third-stream music in the graduate school. He has performed extensively all over the world in around 30 countries, under the sponsorship of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Japan Foundation. In addition, he has appeared on more than 40 broadcasting stations worldwide. While keeping his activities rooted in classical music, he has branched out into a wide range of genres including rock, jazz contemporary music, improvisation, and cross-genre collaborations. He has developed his own unique method of circular breathing which enables him to play continuously for long periods of time without a break in the sound flow. Nakamura was awarded the 19th Matsuo Performing Arts Prize and his album The World of Zen Music: Saji released by Nippon Columbia in 1999 was awarded the Prize for Excellence in the Record Category of the 1999 Arts Festival sponsored by the Agency for Cultural Affairs together with the Columbia Golden Disc Special Prize.

As a composer and arranger, Akikazu Nakamura has received commissions from German National Radio (WDR), the Jean Sibelius String Quartet in Finland, and many others. He was awarded the 18th Encouragement Prize for Creative Work in the Stage Arts by the Agency for Cultural Affairs and he is a member of the Japan Society for Contemporary Music.

Wonjung Kim, vocals

Wonjung Kim, vocals

Wonjung Kim, soprano

Wonjung Kim has captivated audiences around the world with her expressive voice and dynamic theatrical flair. She has appeared at the Opera Garnier in Paris, Dresden Semper Opera, Opera de Monte Carlo and Los Angeles Music Center Opera, singing the roles of Vagans in Vivaldi’s Juditha Triumphans, Zeffiro in Albinoni’s Il Nascimento dell’Aurora, Licenza in Mozart’s Il Sogno di Scipione, Amaltea in Rossini’s Moise in Egitto, and Euridice in Bertoni’s Orfeo. Dr. Kim has performed throughout Europe, with Claudio Scimone’s I Solisti Veneti, the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, Venice’s San Marco Basilica, and at the Salzburg and Istanbul Music Festivals. She appears regularly at the Cape May Music Festival with the New York Chamber Ensemble. Named Best Classical Artist in the KBS Awards in Korea, she also received an Ovation Award nomination for her starring performance as Queen Min in The Last Empress, produced at New York’s Lincoln Center and at the Shubert Theater in Los Angeles. Her last CD, Between the Notes, was released recently to great acclaim. A champion of new music, she completed the requirements for a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Stony Brook University and has performed all over the world with New York’s Continuum. Her recent unique theater piece celebrating the music of John Cage was performed in the 2012-13 season at Lincoln Center.

Elizabeth Brown
Photo by Peter Schaaf

Elizabeth Brown, flute, bass flute and piccolo

Elizabeth Brown combines a successful composing career with an extremely diverse performing life, playing flute, shakuhachi, and theremin in a wide variety of musical circles. Her chamber music, shaped by this unique group of instruments and experiences, has been called luminous, dreamlike and hallucinatory.

A Juilliard graduate and Guggenheim Fellowship recipient, Brown’s music has been heard in Japan, the Soviet Union, Colombia, Australia, South Africa and Vietnam as well as across the US and Europe. She has received grants, awards and commissions from Orpheus, St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble, Newband, the Asian Cultural Council, Music from Japan, the Japan/US Friendship Commission, Meet the Composer, the Electronic Music Foundation, the Cary Trust, and NYFA. She is known both here and in Japan for her compositions combining western and traditional Japanese instruments. A solo CD, Elizabeth Brown: Mirage is available on New World Records.

Molly Morkoski
Photo by Jonathan Pozniak

Molly Morkoski, piano

Pianist Molly Morkoski has performed as soloist and collaborative artist throughout the U.S., Europe, the Caribbean, and Japan. Her playing has been recognized by The New York Times as “strong, profiled, nuanced . . . beautifully etched . . . . an energetic and focused player . . . . with flexibility and warmth . . .” and The Boston Globe called her “outstanding.” In 2007, she made her solo debut in Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage playing Beethoven’s Bagatelles, Op. 126. As a soloist, she enjoys championing the classics, such as Bach’s Goldberg Variations and contemporary masterworks such as Ives’ Concord Sonata and Messiaen’s Vingt regards sur l’enfant-Jésus, as well as premiering new works of current composer colleagues, such as John Harbison, Steven Mackey, and Gabriela Lena Frank. Molly Morkoski has performed in many of the country’s prestigious venues, including Weill and Zankel Halls, Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Hall, (Le) Poisson Rouge, Boston’s Gardner Museum and Jordan Hall, St. Louis’ Powell Hall, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, and Washington D.C.’s Smithsonian. Internationally, she has performed at the Teatro Nacional in Santo Domingo, the Strasbourg Conservatoire, the U.S. Embassies in Paris and Nice, and in Japan’s Suntory Hall. She has performed concertos with the Raleigh, Asheville, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Tuscaloosa Symphonies, and with the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra.

An avid chamber musician, Molly Morkoski is a member of Meme, Open End, and Exponential Ensembles and has collaborated with some of today’s leading musicians, including Dawn Upshaw, John Adams, John Corigliano, and David Robertson. She has performed with the New York Philharmonic Ensembles, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, New World Symphony, Speculum Musicae, Brooklyn Chamber Music Society, and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Her debut solo CD, Threads, was released on Albany Records, to critical acclaim, and she has enjoyed numerous other recording collaborations, most recently Compadrazgo a disc dedicated to the piano music of Gabriela Lena Frank. Molly Morkoski was a Fulbright Scholar to Paris, where she was an apprentice with the Ensemble Intercontemporain. The recipient of many awards, she holds degrees from UNC Chapel Hill, Indiana University Bloomington, and SUNY Stony Brook. She has given masterclasses at numerous universities and has served as a chamber music coach for programs at Juilliard Pre-College, New York Youth Symphony, SUNY Stony Brook, Columbia and more. She is currently Associate Professor of Piano at CUNY- Lehman College in the Bronx.

Sam Yulsman
Photo by Peter Gannushkin / DOWNTOWNMUSIC.NET

Sam Yulsman, piano

Sam Yulsman (b. 1990) is a composer and pianist from New York City whose work spans a wide range of musical idioms. As a pianist he has performed and/or recorded in the United States and Europe with artists including Ryan Muncy, Weston Olencki, Peter Evans, Biliana Voutchkova, Tyshawn Sorey, Chris Pitsiokos, Pheeroan akLaff, Art Lande, John Colpitts, Chris Heenan, and Aaron Burnett. As a composer, his work has been performed by ensembles including Mivos Quartet, Wet Ink Ensemble, loadbang, and counter)inuction. Sam is current pursuing a doctorate in music composition at Columbia University.

Yen-Chen Wu

Yen-Chen Wu, bassoon

Hailing from Tainan, Taiwan, Yen-Chen Wu began studying bassoon at the age of 9.

In 2015 Wu became the first bassoonist to win the Serge & Olga Koussevitzky Young Artist Award for all woodwinds and brass instruments since 1983. In addition, Wu is distinguished as a recipient of many other prizes, including the first prize at the Tainan student competition, the first prize at the Taipei student competition, the winner of YSM chamber music competition, the third prize of National Concerto Competition of Taipei Wind Orchestra, the first prize of Concerto Competition of UT, and the first prize of Concerto Competition of TNGS. Wu has participated in master classes and has been invited to major music festivals where she has worked with Akio Koyama, Kim Walker, Daniel Matsukawa, Yoshi Ishikawa, Heloman Jung, Patricia Rogers, Billy Short and Hanno Donneweg.

After performing as a concerto soloist with University of Taipei and Taipei Wind Orchestra, she received Second Prize in the 2013 International Solo Competition of the Asian Double Reed Association. As a result, Wu performed the Weber composition Andante e Rondo Ungarese, Op.35 with the Taipei Symphony Orchestra. Wu’s concert activities have brought her to Japan, Thailand, Germany, Canada, and America.

In addition to playing in her school orchestras, Wu performs with the Yale Philharmonic orchestra and is the principle bassoonist at both Tainan Symphony Orchestra and Taipei Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. Wu earned her bachelor’s degree at University of Taipei with Chia-Chu Hsu, her master’s degree with Frank Morelli at the Yale School of Music, and is now pursuing her doctoral degree with Frank Morelli at SUNY Stony Brook University.

Samuel Budish

Samuel Budish, percussion

Samuel Budish is a New York City-based percussionist who actively performs in a wide variety of musical traditions. He regularly performs with the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Ballet, and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. He has also performed with Orpheus, the Sarasota Orchestra, and the New World Symphony. Samuel was a member of the onstage band for the Broadway productions of Twelfth Night and Richard III and has also performed on the Late  Show with Stephen Colbert.  Dedicated to the music of today, Samuel has premiered works by Hiroya Miura, Joseph Pereira, David Fulmer, and Tan Dun and is a founding member of Ensemble Échappé. He received his BM and MM from the Juilliard School.

CJ Camerieri
Photo by Joshua Spencer

CJ Camerieri, trumpet

CJ began working in alternative music as the trumpet player and keyboard player for Sufjan Stevens in January of 2006.  He then went on to tour the world as a member of Rufus Wainwright’s band in 2007-2008 before starting yMusic with Rob Moose in the spring of 2008 and later joining Bon Iver in 2011 while also touring with the Plastic Ono Band and The National.  In 2014 CJ became the newest member of Paul Simon’s touring band.

As an arranger, trumpet player, french horn player, and keyboardist C.J.’s discography includes well over 200 recordings including current and forthcoming releases by Paul Simon, Bon Iver, yMusic, Sufjan Stevens, Rufus Wainwright, The Tallest Man on Earth, David Byrne, Antony and the Johnsons, Martha Wainwright, Loudon Wainwright III, Gabriel Kahane, The National, Angus and Julia Stone, Ingrid Michaelson, The Staves, My Brightest Diamond, Sean Lennon, Yuka Honda, GOASTT, Jesse Harris, She and Him, Harper Simon, Chris Garneau, Clare and the Reasons, Welcome Wagon, Anthony Coleman, ACME, The New York Trumpet Ensemble, Argento New Music Ensemble and the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra.

Alan R. Kay

Alan R. Kay, clarinet

Alan R. Kay is Co-Principal Clarinetist and a former Artistic Director of Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and serves as Principal Clarinet with New York’s Riverside Symphony and the Little Orchestra Society.  Mr. Kay’s honors include the C.D. Jackson Award at Tanglewood, a Presidential Scholars Teacher Recognition Award, Juilliard’s 1980 Competition, and the 1989 Young Concert Artists Award with the sextet Hexagon later featured in the prizewinning documentary film, “Debut.”  Mr. Kay is a founding member of Windscape and Hexagon; he appears regularly with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.  His summer festivals include the Yellow Barn and Skaneateles Festivals, and his innovative programming for the New York Chamber Ensemble is a feature of the Cape May Music Festival.  Mr. Kay taught at the Summer Music Academy in Leipzig, Germany in 2004 and teaches at the Manhattan School of Music, The Juilliard School and Stony Brook University.  He has served on the juries of the International Chamber Music Festival in Trapani, Italy, Young Concert Artists International Auditions, and the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition.   A virtuoso of wind repertoire, Mr. Kay has recorded with Hexagon, Windscape, the Sylvan Winds, Orpheus and numerous other ensembles. His arrangements for wind quintet are available at Trevco Music Publishingand International Opus.

Brian Ellingsen

Brian Ellingsen, bass

Brian Ellingsen is a New York City based double bassist, chamber musician, and soloist. Specializing in contemporary music, the New York Times has described his interpretations as “coaxing an amazing variety of sounds from his instrument.” As a soloist, Brian has been featured at the Perth International Festival, Adelaide International Festival, New Zealand International Festival, and the Spoleto Festival USA. As a chamber musician, he is a standing member of Decoda, and has performed with Ensemble Intercontemporain, International Contemporary Ensemble, Lucerne Festival Alumni Ensemble, Ensemble ACJW, and Gotham Chamber Opera. Brian has also toured the word and received much critical acclaim for his role in An Iliad, a play based on Homer’s The Iliad. The play features an epic score for solo double bass and electronics, which Brian premiered in 2010 and continues to tour with to this day. Brian holds a bachelor’s degree from The Hartt School, and a master’s degree from Yale School of Music.

Wendy Stern
Photo by Peter Schaaf

Wendy Stern, flute/bass flute

Flutist Wendy Stern received her Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School. An avid proponent of newly composed chamber music, she has recently premiered and recorded works by Lei Liang and John Deak with The Cicada Chamber Ensemble (with members of the New York Philharmonic) and Cynthia Folio with Ensemble Triolet. As a long-time member of the dynamic and innovative chamber ensemble Flute Force, Wendy discovered her affinity for the bass flute, and in the last ten years has premiered and recorded chamber music works for that instrument by Joseph Schwantner, Matthias Ziegler and Katherine Hoover, among others. A former Teaching-Artist for the Lincoln Center Institute, Wendy has designed creative educational workshops and presented them in Washington DC, Chicago, New York, California, New Mexico, North Carolina, the United Kingdom and New Zealand. She is on the faculty of Montclair State University.

Stephanie Griffin
Photo by John Gurrin

Stephanie Griffin, viola

Described as “enthralling” by the Los Angeles Times, Stephanie Griffin is an innovative violist and composer with an eclectic musical vision. Born in Canada and based in New York City, her musical adventures have taken her to Indonesia, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, England, Ireland, Germany, Belgium, Mexico and Mongolia. She plays regularly as a soloist and with the Momenta Quartet, Continuum and the Argento Chamber Ensemble. As an improviser, she performs in numerous avant-jazz collectives and was a 2014 Fellow at Music Omi. She holds a doctorate from the Juilliard School, serves on the faculty of Brooklyn College, and has recorded for Tzadik, Innova and Albany Records. Stephanie Griffin is a 2016 fellow in Music from the New York Foundation for the Arts.

Brad Garton

Brad Garton, electronics

Brad Garton (b. 1957) received his BS in pharmacology from Purdue University, where he also worked towards an MS in psychoacoustics. He eventually entered the graduate music composition program at Princeton University and was awarded a PhD in music composition in 1989.  He is currently a Professor on the composition faculty of Columbia University, where he also serves as Director of the Computer Music Center.  His recent work has focused upon the real-time use of music performance models, especially in collaboration with Terry Pender and Gregory Taylor in the improvisatory group “PGT”.  He is an active composer and music software developer, co-authoring the computer music language RTcmix.  He has written a number of ‘language objects’ for Max/MSP, melding the capabilities of diverse music and general-purpose programming languages with the extensive music and graphics processing of the Max platform.  He has worked as consultant on the design and installation of computer music facilities throughout the world.

Yasuaki Itakura
Photo by Suntory Foundation for Arts

Yasuaki Itakura, conductor

Yasuaki Itakura is a conductor, clarinetist and composer. After graduating from Tokyo University of the Arts, he received a scholarship from the French Government to continue his studies of clarinet in France with Guy Deplus, and graduated from the Conservatiore Municipal de Paris and Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris. It was the mentoring of the late Mme. Henriette Puig-Roget, however, that broadened his musical education to embrace the whole field of music beyond his instrument.

He appears regularly with Tokyo Sinfonietta at the Suntory Music Foundation’s Summer Festival, of which he is Director and at which he conducts. He has conducted and performed internationally in New York, Australia, and throughout Europe. His appearance with Tokyo Sinfonietta at the Festival Presences in Paris (2008) was received with particular acclaim.

Maestro Itakura has given over 100 world or Japanese premieres of contemporary works either as clarinet performer or conductor. Since his debut as a conductor, he has collaborated on new works with important composers of our time, including Collin Matthews, Thomas Ades, Mark-Anthony Turnage, George Benjamin, Tristan Murail, Vinko Globokar, Jean-Louis Agobet, and others. He is the conductor for the regular performances of the Orchestral Ensemble, Kanazawa. Itakura is presently a Guest Instructor at Tokyo University of the Arts.



Tara Helen O’Connor – flute
Randall Ellis – oboe
Alan R. Kay – clarinet
David Jolley – horn
Frank Morelli – bassoon

Created in 1994 by five eminent wind soloists, Windscape has won a unique place for itself as a vibrant, ever-evolving group of musical individualists, an “unquintet” which has delighted audiences throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Asia. Windscape’s innovative programs and accompanying presentations are created to take listeners on a musical and historical world tour—evoking through music and engaging commentary vivid cultural landscapes of distant times and places.

As Artists in Residence at Manhattan School of Music, the members of Windscape are master teachers, imparting not only the secrets of instrumental virtuosity, but also presenting a distinctive concert series, hailed for its creative energy and musical curiosity. The series offers the perfect setting for the ensemble to devise new–sometimes startling–programs and to experiment with new arrangements and repertoire combinations. Popular programs which have emerged from this process in recent seasons include “The Roaring 20’s,” “The Fabulous 50’s,” “The Young Titan: Beethoven Comes to Vienna,” and “East Meets West: The Music of Japan and the Impressionists.”

Last season Windscape collaborated with the Orion String Quartet in the late flutist Samuel Baron’s brilliant transcription for string quartet and wind quintet of Bach’s The Art of Fugue, which was recorded for Deutsche Gramophone. Past seasons include performances at Carnegie Hall with the New York String Orchestra, at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as recitals in Philadelphia, Madison, Charlottesville, and Reno, in addition to other cities around the U.S. and Mexico. Recent highlights include their Kennedy Center debut, tapings for NPR’s Performance Todayand Minnesota Public Radio’s St. Paul Sunday, a performance “Live From Glenn Gould Studio” for CBC-Toronto, and a tour of New Zealand. Windscape has given concerts and master classes in Boston, New York, San Francisco, College Park, Des Moines, Omaha, and Winter Park, Florida, among others. Esteemed chamber musicians with whom they have collaborated include the late Eugene Istomin, Andre Michel Schub, Jon Kimura Parker, Jeremy Denk, and Anne Marie McDermott.

Windscape’s recent CD releases include distinguished former Manhattan School of Music faculty composer Ursula Mamlok’s Quintet on Bridge Records. Other recent critically acclaimed releases include an all-Dvorák CD, with guest artists Jeremy Denk and Daniel Phillips, and The Music of Maurice Ravel, both on the MSR Classics label.

During the summer of 2009 Windscape launched its first Manhattan School-wide Composer Commission Competition and was delighted to present Kyle Werner’s Riverside, the winning work, in several concerts. In the group’s second Competition, held in 2013, three MSM student composers were chosen: Qin Ding, Xinyang Wang and David Sepulveda.  Their works, written especially for Windscape, will be premiered over the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons.

Momenta Quartet
Photo by John Gurrin

Momenta Quartet

Emilie-Anne Gendron – violin
Alex Shiozaki – violin
Stephanie Griffin – viola
Michael Haas – cello

Momenta: the plural of momentum – four individuals in motion towards a common goal. This is the idea behind the Momenta Quartet, whose eclectic vision encompasses contemporary music of all aesthetic backgrounds alongside great music from the recent and distant past.  The New York City-based quartet has premiered over 100 works, collaborated with over 120 living composers and was praised by The New York Times for its “diligence, curiosity and excellence.” In the words of The New Yorker’s Alex Ross, “few American players assume Haydn’s idiom with such ease.”

The quartet came into being in November 2004, when composer Matthew Greenbaum invited violist Stephanie Griffin to perform Mario Davidovsky’s String Trio for events celebrating Judaism and Culture at New York’s Symphony Space and Temple University in Philadelphia. A residency through the composition department at Temple University ensued, and the rehearsals and performances were so satisfying that the players decided to form a quartet. Through this residency, Momenta gave two annual concerts highlighting the talents of Temple University student composers alongside 20th-century masterworks and works from the classical canon, and repeated the programs at the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture. From the outset, Momenta treated all music equally, devoting as much time, care and commitment to the student works as to the imposing musical monuments.

Word of Momenta’s passionate advocacy for emerging composers spread quickly. Composers started inviting Momenta for similar concerts and residencies at other academic institutions, among them Cornell, Columbia and Yeshiva Universities; the Boston and Cincinnati Conservatories; and the Eastman School of Music. In 2008 the quartet won its first major commission grant from the Koussevitzky Foundation for Malaysian composer Kee Yong Chong, and since received a second Koussevitzky grant for Bolivian composer Agustín Fernández. Deeply committed to the musical avant-garde of the developing world, Momenta has been an indispensable advocate for many international composers.  In addition to world premieres by Chong and Fernández, Momenta has premiered and championed the works of Tony Prabowo (Indonesia), Cergio Prudencio (Bolivia) and Hana Ajiashvili (Georgia). Upcoming adventures include a project to perform and record all thirteen string quartets by Mexican microtonal maverick Julián Carrillo (1875-1965) over the next three years.

Momenta has appeared at such prestigious venues as the Library of Congress, National Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery, Rubin Museum, Miller Theatre at Columbia University, and the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study and looks forward to high-profile concerts at Chamber Music Cincinnati, Washington University and at the internationally renowned Cervantino Festival in Mexico. Momenta gave its Mexican debut at the National University (UNAM) last June and has performed in the United Kingdom, Indonesia and Singapore. Momenta has recorded for Centaur Records, Furious Artisans, PARMA, New World Records, and Albany Records; and has been broadcast on WQXR, Q2 Music, Austria’s Oe1, and Vermont Public Radio. The quartet’s debut album, Similar Motion, is available on Albany Records.