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Although the shō is generally associated with Japan's ancient gagaku court music, Miyata was among the first players of the instrument to specialize in contemporary classical music. She plays a specially constructed instrument with extra pipes, allowing for the use of more chromaticism.
The American composer John Cage (1912–1992) created a number of works for Miyata just before his death, after having met her during the 1990 Darmstadt summer course. She has also premiered works by Tōru Takemitsu, Toshi Ichiyanagi, Maki Ishii, Joji Yuasa, Klaus Huber, Toshio Hosokawa, and Uroš Rojko.
In 2005, she performed in three songs by the Icelandic musician Björk, for the soundtrack album to Drawing Restraint 9, a film by Björk's contemporary media artist boyfriend Matthew Barney, about Japanese culture and whaling. Miyata also appeared in the film, playing the shō in one scene.
She has performed in Japan, Australia, the United States, and Europe. Her notable students include Kō Ishikawa.
- Lachenmann: Das Mädchen mit den Schwefelhölzern. 2 CDs. ECM New Series.
- John Cage Edition Vol 26 - Orchestral Works Vol 3. Mode Records
- Helmut Lachenmann: Das Mädchen mit den Schwefelhölzern. 2 CDs.
- John Cage Edition - Works for Violin 3. Mode Records.
- Czernowin: Chamber Music 1988-96. Mode Records.
- Haskins, Rob (October 2004). "The Extraordinary Commonplace: Cage's Music for Shō, Violin, Conch Shells". Retrieved 2008-08-10.
- Mayumi Miyata biography (moderecords.com)
- Mayumi Miyata biography (Institute for Medieval Japanese Studies)
- Review from The New York Times
- Mayumi Miyata page
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