MIYA MASAOKA, musician, composer, performance artist, has created works for koto, laser interfaces, laptop and video and written scores for ensembles, chamber orchestras and mixed choirs. Within the varied contexts of sound, music and nature, her performance work emphasizes the interactive, live nature of improvisation, and reflects an individual, contemporary expression of Japanese gagaku aural gesturalism. Since forming and directing the San Francisco Gagaku Society, Masaoka has been creating new ways of thinking about and performing on the Japanese koto. She has developed a virtuosic and innovative approach, including improvisation and expanding the instrument into a virtual space using computer, lasers, live sampling, and real time processing. Masaoka has been developing koto interfaces with midi controllers since the 1980s, originally with Tom Zimmerman, co-inventor of the Body Glove. With the koto connected directly to her laptop, she records her playing live, and processes the samples in real time. This new koto is able to respond dynamically and interactively in a variety of musical environments, and improvise with the processed sounds.
Photo and bio courtesy of www.miyamasaoka.com