Aya Yoshida, composer

Aya Yoshida is first prizewinner in the 2019 Zemlinsky Competition, an international initiative of the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), which exists to promote and encourage the development of young composers

Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in music?

So many people have inspired me; not only composers or musicians but also artists in various disciplines. Just some of the artists I have collaborated with recently, for example, include a fashion designer, a calligrapher, and an architect.

Who or what were the most significant influences on your musical life and career as a composer?

Fashion and fashion designers. I have been specifically interested in fashion for the last 8 years and often have been thinking how I can transfer fashion ideas into musical ideas. Fashion is so unique an art and has unique movements because it’s wearable.

What have been the greatest challenges/frustrations of your career so far?

My opera “Skyggen (The Shadow)” in 2017, performed as the official anniversary event to mark the 150th diplomatic friendship between Denmark and Japan. I established the production from scratch with my friends and people around me. I still very much appreciate all the help I received for that.


Of which works are you most proud?

“The Vivid Stitch” for 12 cellos. It was performed two times in Tokyo and Helsinki, though the piece itself has so many ideas musically and practically. (At the second performance, I added the lightning performance too.)


What are the special challenges/pleasures of working on a commissioned piece?

The piece “Pointed toe” commissioned by Antonin Le Faure (viola player) and Noé Nillni (trumpet player) was such a unique instrumentation. It was a bit challenging to make a good balance between viola and trumpet but at the same time it was such a pleasure to work with the two (too) different instruments, and specifically with those talented musicians.


What are the special challenges/pleasures of working with particular musicians, singers, ensembles and orchestras?

With Jame Oesi (double bass player) for my piece “MUJI for Double Bass solo”. It was performed by him in various cities in The Netherlands and the U.K. 5 times and he found new aspects of the music at each performance.

Also it was a lot of fun as we developed new techniques with the instrument to find the interesting sound.


How would you characterise your compositional/musical language?

Intensity in various ways…

How do you work?

I do a lot of research for the instrument and the concept itself. That’s the first step.

As a musician, what is your definition of success?

I literally don’t know… I just do my best for the moment so that I don’t really see the success itself. I can’t even decide by myself if it’s success or not.

What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?

For all the specific musical stuff, I try to indicate it as clearly as possible in the score so I can tell the musicians what is behind the story/the concept, both in logic and emotion.

Aya Yoshida is a Japanese composer. Born in Kobe, Japan in 1992, she began composing at 6 under the guidance of Mrs. Yasuko Osato. She graduated from Toho Gakuen School of Music in Tokyo under the tutelage of composition lecturer Kenya Masakado and Prof.Masaki Norikura in 2014. She also studied composition theory and classical piano performance with Prof. Masaki Norikura. She trained in violoncello and classical vocal with lecturer Yoko Hasegawa and lecturer Kei Yonashiro during her time in Japan. Since 2014, she moved to Copenhagen,Denmark and she completed her postgraduate studies in composition with Niels Rosing Schow and Jeppe Just Christensen at The Royal Danish Academy of Music.

Her works have been performed in Japan and Europe by diverse range of soloists, ensembles and orchestras, including the performances by Curious Chamber Players in Viitasaari, Finland (2013), by Arditti Quartet (2014) and by Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra (2016) in Copenhagen, Denmark.

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(Photo: Kazue)



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