ListN Up: Miya Masaoka (November 13, 2020)

ListN Up is a series of weekly artist-curated playlists. Born from a desire to keep artists sharing and connected during times of isolation, ListN Up offers an intimate sonic portrait of contemporary artists by showcasing the diverse and stylistically varied music that influences their creative practice. 

Miya Masaoka lives in New York City and is a classically trained composer and sound artist. Her work encompasses notated scores for orchestras, ensembles, live interactive performance, installation, and represents deep inquiries into the body, plants, insects, ways of listening, creating and experiencing sound.

Hi, I’m Miya Masaoka, and I’m a composer and a sound artist. I’ve selected a few pieces here that are from 1912 (Marcel Duchamp) to 1966 (Alice Coltrane) and to the present contemporary times. Please give a listen, and I hope you enjoy. Thank you!

Erratum Musical (for three voices) by Marcel Duchamp, performed by S.E.M. Ensemble (realized by Petr Kotik)

Marcel Duchamp planned and composed this in 1913. These were based on chance operation, 50 years before John Cage. (Recorded in 1976).

Ronda (The Spinning World) by Liza Lim, performed by Ensemble Modern (Vimbayi Kaziboni, conductor)

This is a spatially-conceived piece incorporating Brazilian instruments with rotating microtonal melodies of high and low pitches, and it’s grown on me.

To Stare Astonished at the Sea by Lois Vierk, performed by Tatjana Rankovich

Many are aware of Go Guitars, but few people know this piece. Lois and I both studied for years–a decade apart from each other–with the same master Gagaku teacher: Suenobu Togi.

Cranks and Cactus Needles by Annie Gosfield, performed by The Peärls Before Swine Experience

I’m always a sucker for re-imagining vintage audio technology, and this fabulous composer has her own spin on it all, as this piece is inspired from the deterioration of vinyl.

Afro Blue by John Coltrane, performed by John Coltrane, Alice ColtranePharoah SandersJimmy Garrison, and Rashied Ali

Recorded in Tokyo on July 11, 1966. John Coltrane was dead almost exactly a year later in 1967. It’s all on a super human level, but listen to Alice’s solo at around 13:30.

Triangle of Resistance, III. Survival by Miya Masaoka, performed by Jennifer Choi, Esther Noh, David Wallace, and Alex Waterman

May I quote Ru Paul? “If you don’t love yourself, how the…”

Orion by Kaija Saariaho, performed by SWR Symphonieorchester (Christoph Eschenbach, conductor)

Kaija Saariaho’s works are nuanced and complex, always elegant, yet full of pathos. This is a fine example.

The Movement of Things by Miya Masaoka, performed by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Glasgow Chamber Choir (Ilan Volkov, conductor)


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