[ Alumni Announcement ]

Yoshiaki Onishi (Norfolk ’04) Joins the Faculty of the Toho Gakuen School of Music

January 5, 2016

Photo: David Adamcyk

Japanese-American composer and conductor Yoshiaki Onishi  was appointed Associate Professor of Music Composition and Theory at the Toho Gakuen School of Music in Tokyo, Japan in April of  2015.

Born in Hokkaido, Japan in 1981, Yoshiaki Onishi was previously a Teaching Fellow at Columbia University in New York, where he received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in 2015. His principal teachers there were Fabien Lévy, Fred Lerdahl, Tristan Murail and George Lewis. He received the Artist Diploma (2008) and the Master of Music degrees (2007) in music composition from Yale School of Music. Before Yale, he studied music composition, clarinet and conducting at University of the Pacific, Conservatory of Music (Stockton, California), where he graduated in 2004 with the highest honor.

Anthony Tommasini of the The New York Times wrote that Onishi is “a composer who can draw such varied, eerily alluring sounds.” Onishi’s music has been performed worldwide by organizations such as New Japan Philharmonic, Nieuw Ensemble, Asko|Schönberg Ensemble, JACK Quartet and Wet Ink Ensemble.

Onishi is a recipient of several honors. With his 2010 work Départ dans…, he was awarded the Gaudeamus Prize 2011, one of the most prestigious awards given to young composers. Other recent honors include an artistic residency fellowship from Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Umbertide, Italy, as well as a commission from Ensemble Intercontemporain as a result of Projet Tremplin.

As a conductor, Onishi is in great demand. Recent conducting engagements include a concert “An Evening of Today 2014” with Nieuw Ensemble in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Previously he served as an assistant conductor to the Columbia University Orchestra from 2011 to 2013. He conducted many ensembles and orchestras, working closely with composers of his generation.