Koji Nakano (composer)

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Koji Nakano (born August 1974-) is a Japanese composer. He was born in Japan and educated in Boston, The Hague, and San Diego. Nakano has been recognized as one of the major voices among Asian composers of his generation. His work strives to merge Western and Eastern musical traditions, and reflects the relationship between beauty, form and imperfection through the formality of music. Nakano received his bachelor's degree in composition with distinction, and master's degree in composition with academic honors and distinction, Pi Kappa Lambda, from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where he studied with Lee Hyla and John Harbison. From 2002 to 2003, Nakano studied with Dutch composer Louis Andriessen in Amsterdam and at the Royal Conservatory of Hague as the Japanese Government Overseas Study Program Artist. In 2006, he received his Ph.D. in composition from the University of California at San Diego, where he studied with Chinary Ung. In addition to being the recipient of the American Artists and Museum Professionals in Asia Fellowship from the Asian Cultural Council, Nakano is also the first recipient of the Toru Takemitsu Award in Composition from the Japan Society of Boston awarded annually to the most talented young composer in the Boston area. In 2008, he became the first composer to receive the S&R Washington Award Grand Prize from the S&R Foundation, which is awarded annually to the most talented young artist (in the fields of fine arts, music, drama, dance, photography and film), for his/her contributions to U.S.- Japanese relations. The past distinguished grand prize awardees include soprano Maki Mori (2000), pianist Yu Kosuge (2002), violinists Yosuke Kawasaki (2004), Sayaka Shoji (2006), and Tamaki Kawakubo (2007).

As a guide to his musical compositions, Dr. Stacey Fraser, Professor of Music at the California State University at San Bernardino, has written a paper entitled, Confluence of Musical Cultures in Time Song II, in which she examined the incorporation of a variety of Japanese vocal and instrumental techniques into western musical languages. There was also an essay version of the paper, which was published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing in the UK as part of a book centered on the proceedings of the Music of Japan Today Symposium. Nakano and served as a Fellow Council member of the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts from 2008-2012. In the winter quarter of 2013, he was a visiting faculty at the University of California at Santa Cruz in USA, where he taught world music composition. As a Guest Professor, he has previously taught composition at Taipei National University of the Arts, National Taiwan University of Arts, National Chiao Tung University and Seoul National University. As the co-founder of the Asian Young Musicians' Connection, Nakano commissions compositions from emerging Asian composers alongside worldwide professional musicians for its regular concert in Asia and North America. He is currently the Head of International Affairs in the Faculty of Music and Performing Arts at Burapha University in Thailand, where he also teaches composition as a full-time faculty member. At Burapha, he is also the Director of International Programs for the Annual Music and Performing Arts International Festival and the Artistic Director of the Annual Experimental Thai Music Laboratory for Young Composers. Nakano is a member of ASCAP. In the fall of 2016, Dr. Nakano held the Scripps Erma Taylor O’Brien Distinguished Visiting Professorship at Scripps College in Claremont, USA.

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