Yu Kuwabara profile  photo, 桑原ゆう写真

to Yu Kuwabara biography in Japanese


Yu Kuwabara (b.1984, Chiba) is a Japanese composer, a researcher of Japanese traditional arts, living in Tokyo. She makes music to ask herself who she is. For several years, she has been researching and learning traditional Japanese music, arts, and thought to extend as far back as possible to her origins and to confirm her own sense of being. She has collaborated with numerous artists who use traditional Japanese art forms, including Noh performers, a Rakugo Performer Kokontei Shinsuke (Japanese traditional verbal entertainment), the Japanese Buddhist chant group Shomyo no Kai, Voice of a Thousand Years, and many performers of traditional Japanese instruments to have investigated her own musical language between the past and the present, and also between Japan and the rest of the world. She founded the collective called Awai-Za, whose aim is investigating creations based on Japanese old culure, especially Edo culture and new music, with instrumentalists (violin, cello, and shamisen) of the same generation as her.

She has studied composition with Shin Sato and Toshihiko Hisayuki, and completed her master degree at Tokyo University of the Arts (TUA). She has taken part in prestigious academies, including Lucerne Festival Academy Composer Seminar, Academy Voix Nouvelles Foundation Royaumont, the 9th International Composition Seminar of IEMA, Akademie Schloss Solitude, Delian Academy For New Music, and impuls, among others.

Her works have been performed at numerous important international festivals (Darmstädter Ferienkurse, Ultraschall Berlin, CRESC... Biennale für Aktuelle Musik Frankfurt Rhein-Main, Festival 20/21 Transit, Mostra Sonora Sueca, EXPO Milano 2015, Music From Japan, Divertimento Ensemble Rondò, Tongyeong International Music Festival, Takefu International Music Festival, and others) and in many other concerts around the world with various ensembles and performers (Ensemble Modern, Trio Accanto, soloists from Ensemble Intercontemporain, Talea Ensemble, Enno Poppe and Klangforum Wien, mdi ensemble, Ensemble Proton Bern, Divertimento Ensemble, Mike Svoboda and neuverBand, loadbang, AsianArt Ensemble, Sentieri selvaggi, Ensemble Mise-en, Shomyo no Kai - Voice of A Thousand Years, Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, Nicolas Hodges, William Lang, Claire Chase, Rebekah Heller, Stefan Hussong, Camilla Hoitenga, Toshiya Suzuki, Kosei Murata, Hidejiro Honjoh, and others).

She received numerous prizes and rewards such as the winning prize of the international composition contest 'Breaking Music' (2019, Milan), the winning prize of the 5th edition of Divertimento Ensemble’s ‘Franco Donatoni’ International Meeting for Young Composers (2018, Milan), the winning prize of the 2017-18 edition of neuverBand's Construct-Radiate International Composition Competition (2018, Basel), the finaliste in the Japan Music Competition (2005, 2006 & 2009, Japan), and Tokyo Arts and Space (former Tokyo Wonder Site) Aoyama Creator-in-Residence (2009-10).

Her scores “Doll-Blind” for tenor recorder and accordion and “Doll-Blind b” for flute and accordion are published from EDITION WUNN, Germany.

She was a lecturer at Toho Gakuen University of Music, and now she is teaching for some composition courses at Yamaha Music Foundation etc.

She is a composer of Awai-Za, a chamber ensemble mixed with new music and Japanese Edo culture. Her first portrait concert "Shadowless - Yu Kuwabara Portrait [Awai-Za Recital Series Vol.1]" (→concert report in Japanese) held at Tokyo Opera City Recital Hall on 19 July, 2019 was highly acclaimed.

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