Yoshiaki Onishi

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Yoshiaki Onishi
Birth name Yoshiaki Onishi
Born 1981 (age 35–36)
Hokkaido, Japan
Genres Contemporary classical
Occupation(s) Composer, Conductor, Clarinetist
Instruments Clarinet
Years active 2000-present
Website yoshionishi.com

Yoshiaki Onishi (大西 義明, Onishi Yoshiaki, born 1981 in Hokkaido, Japan) is a composer and conductor. He is a recipient of several international prizes and honors. He currently resides in Japan.[1]


In 2000 he entered the Conservatory of Music at the University of the Pacific, studying composition and clarinet, graduating in 2004.[2] Between 2005 and 2008 he did his graduate studies in music composition at Yale University.[3] In February 2015 he received his doctorate from Columbia University, where his principal teachers have been Fabien Lévy, Tristan Murail and Fred Lerdahl.

Onishi is the recipient of 2011 Gaudeamus Prize in Music Composition,[4] and the 2012 Civitella Ranieri Foundation Fellowship.[5]

Onishi as a composer[edit]

Onishi’s music has been in part characterized by the engineering of timbres. In his 2009 work for string quartet, Culs-de-sac (en passacaille), he employs varieties of extended techniques for the string instruments. Anthony Tommasini of the New York Times said of the piece: “Who needs electronic instruments when a composer can draw such varied, eerily alluring sounds from good old string instruments?”.[6]

Onishi’s works have been commissioned by performers and organizations including Mayumi Miyata, Pacific Music Festival, Norfolk and Lucerne Festivals.[7] His composition, Départ dans… was commissioned by Takefu International Music Festival in 2010, and became the winning piece of the Gaudeamus Prize in Music Composition in 2011.

Several performance organizations, including JACK Quartet, Yarn/Wire, Nieuw Ensemble, and Ensemble Intercontemporain, have performed Onishi’s works.[8]


The following is a partial list of works.

  • Tréma/Trame I (2011), for 4 players
  • Tr (2011), for violoncello and piano
  • Palinody (2010), for 14 players in 7 groups
  • Départ dans... (2010), for 5 players
  • Sans Percussion – Une Esquisse-Sculpture (2009) for orchestra of 51 players
  • Culs-de-sac (en passacaille) (2009, rev. 2010), for string quartet
  • Tu n’y trouveras que du vent II (2008), for 3 Japanese Gagaku Instruments.
  • Vague II «molto ritardando» (2008) for 36 instrumentalists
  • Marche du Supplice (2007) for 12 percussionists
  • Vague I (2007) two miniatures for 13 instrumentalists (Ligeti Kammerkonzert formation)
  • ref. (2006-7) for orchestra
  • Lost Geometry (2006) (piece III of Ventiform) for 41 musicians

Onishi as a conductor[edit]

Onishi was an assistant conductor of the Columbia University Orchestra until 2013.[9] He is also affiliated with New York-based percussion ensemble Iktus Percussion as a conductor of the Iktus+.[10] He has also guest conducted several ensembles, including the Wet Ink Ensemble. [11]


  1. ^ Tohomusic 17 Mar 2017 11:26:23 UTC
  2. ^ http://www.pacific.edu/About-Pacific/Success-Stories.html
  3. ^ music.yale.edu 17.03.2017 11:49:54 UTC
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 26, 2011. Retrieved July 5, 2012. 
  5. ^ civitella.org 17.03.2017 14:35 UTC
  6. ^ Tommasini, Anthony (1 July 2010). "New Faces Head Off to a Venerable Spot". New York Times. Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. Retrieved January 25, 2009. 
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. Retrieved January 25, 2009. 
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 26, 2012. Retrieved July 5, 2012. 
  10. ^ iktuspercussion.com 17.03.2017 14:40 UTC
  11. ^ Kozinn, Allan (27 January 2012). "New Music Opens a New Hall". New York Times. Retrieved 4 July 2012. 

External links[edit]