Conversation with Miya Masaoka and Vijay Iyer (I)

Miya Masaoka is a composer, kotoist, and sound artist.  She has created works for solo koto, ensembles, mixed choirs, live electronics, and video that have been presented across the world.  Discussing her work with her is composer, pianist, and scholar Vijay Iyer.  Ms. Masaoka talks about how her and her family's experiences as members of a persecuted minority, Japanese Americans, shaped her works that deal with Japanese artistic traditions and with subaltern social groups--and even with marginalized biological subjects such as plants and insects.

Interview with Keiko Uenishi (aka o.blaat)

Critical Studies in Improvisation

Miya Masaoka is a third generation Japanese American artist classically trained as a musician and composer. In her compositions and installations, she involves improvisation, interaction, spatialization, sensors, computers, and various media including video and film.

In this interview with fellow Japanese/American sound artist Keiko Uenishi I work outwards from the personal to consider the radical potential of internet-based sound and video improvisation to build community across ethnic and gender lines.

Asian/American Improvisation in Chicago: Tatsu Aoki and the 'New' Japanese American Taiko


Bassist Tatsu Aoki produces Chicago's Asian American Jazz Festival. His work often draws on taiko, a form of folkloric Japanese drumming, as well as experimental jazz. Wong views Aoki's activity as a process of constructing a dynamic, transnational Asian American identity. She argues that Aoki takes his status as a "Shin Issei" (a recent Japanese immigrant) as a starting point, but aims to "become" American on his own terms-an aspiration of the contemporary Asian American community at large.

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