Born in Hokkaido, Japan in 1981, Japanese-American composer/conductor Yoshiaki Onishi is currently a Teaching Fellow at Columbia University. His principal teachers have been Fabien Lévy, Fred Lerdahl, and Tristan Murail. 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.
Written by a New York Times critic Anthony Tommasini in 2010 as: “[…] a composer who can draw such varied, eerily alluring sounds,” Onishi’s music has been performed worldwide by such ensembles as JACK Quartet, Wet Ink Ensemble, (US), Next Mushroom Promotion (Japan), Nieuw Ensemble and Asko|Schönberg Ensemble (The Netherlands).
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.
(Photo © David Adamcyk)