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Koji Nakano (Composer)

Biography

As a composer and an educator, Mr. Koji Nakano's musical activities have included community service and outreach to help bridge Western and Eastern musical cultures together. His recent works show the merging of both musical traditions, and also makes reference to theatre, philosophy, rituals and spiritualities in a series of compositions entitled Time Song. The Time Song series reflects his current interest in, and ongoing research of Mr. Nakano's native musical culture and theatre including Gagaku music and the dance theatre, Bugaku, the Noh drama, as well as a variety of folk singing and instrumental techniques in Shakuhachi, Biwa, Shamisen and Taiko.

Mr. Nakano has composed more than thirty works including solo pieces, chamber works, symphonic movements, operas, as well as concerti for piano and violin. Nakano's works have been premiered at the Tanglewood, Aspen, Bowdoin, June in Buffalo, Round Top and Vancouver music festivals. In New York City, his compositions have been performed at Merkin, Weill, and Cami Halls; in Boston at Jordan Hall; in Tokyo at Triphony Hall; in Vancouver at Scotiabank Dance Centre; in Brussels at Maene Piano Salon and in the Netherlands at Arnold Schoenberg Hall.

In 2007, Mr. Nakano's Time Song II: Howling Through Time for female singer, flutist and percussionist was premiered at the Asia Society in NYC in the concert Four Generations of Asian Composers, where he was honored to represent the youngest of four generations.

Mr. Nakano received both his Bachelor's and Master's degrees with the highest honors in composition from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where he studied with Lee Hyla and John Harbison. Later, he studied with Dutch composer Louis Andriessen in Amsterdam and at the Royal Conservatory of Hague as the Japanese Government Overseas Study Program Artist. He received his Ph.D. in composition from the University of California at San Diego, where he studied with Chinary Ung. Mr. Nakano is a member of the American Music Center, the College Music Society and ASCAP.

Description of Featured Music

1. Time Song II: Howling Through Time
for female singer, flutist and percussionist
(2006)

Listen (click here)

Stacey Fraser, soprano
John Fonville, flute/alto flute/piccolo
Justin DeHart, percussion

Chinary Ung, conductor

Duration: 14 minutes 26 seconds

"This song reflects my current interests in, and ongoing research of the various Japanese traditional music and theater including Gagaku music and the dance theatre, Bugaku, the Noh Drama, a variety of folk singing and instrumental techniques in Shakuhachi, Biwa, Shamisen, and Taiko." - Koji Nakano

 

2. Ancient Songs
for solo soprano (2007)

Listen (click here)

Stacey Fraser, soprano

First song, Ancient Voices
Second song, Ritual Song
Third song, Lullaby for All

Duration: 5 minutes 27 seconds

"Ancient Voices explores primitive singing and demonstrates various vocal gestures, such as the hand trill, as well as cupping or covering the mouth. Ritual song displays the rhythmic patterns of finger cymbals to celebrate the continuing friendship between Japan and the United States. Lullaby for All is a tribute to the Japanses lullabies of my childhood." - Koji Nakano

 

3. Frozen Crystal
for solo piano (2001-2002)

Listen (click here)

Noriko Suzuki, piano

Duration: 14 minutes 55 seconds

"A solo piano piece Frozen Crystal was commissioned by the pianists Noriko Suzuki and Ning An.  The form of the piece reflects my daily meditation practice.  In it, the ideas of 'frozen space and time' are expressed by long rests and sustained notes." - Koji Nakano