Fireflies aglow in music

… The Japanese composer Yasuko Yamaguchi illustrates … shimmering moods of light in her “Nachtlied” (“night song”). She makes fireflies and stars shine in this trio. Actually, the work is a thoroughly composed silence with many nuances – it was the most impressive composition of this concert, which the e-mex trio played with greatest precision and concentration.

– JG
November 30, 2005 | Ruhr Nachrichten Dortmund

Born in Nagasaki/Japan in 1969, Yasuko Yamaguchi studied composition at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music with Akira Kitamura, Hideo Kobayashi and Michio Mamiya. In 1997 she continued her studies at Robert Schumann Hochschule Düsseldorf with Manfred Trojahn, where Yasuko Yamaguchi received a Diploma in composition in 2000.

She received awards at the 13th Kanagawa Prefectural Composition Competition for Choral Works (1989) and at the 8th Composition Competition for Young Composers of the Japanese Society for Contemporary Music (1992). In 2005 she received the advancement award of the state capital Düsseldorf for music, in 2016 the scholarship of Künstlerhof Schreyahn. In 2018 Yasuko Yamaguchi hold the scholarship of the State Ministry of Cultural Affairs at the German Study Center in Venice (Centro Tedesco di Studi Veneziani). In the summer of 2022 she lived in Bellwald (Switzerland) as a scholarship holder of Furthermore, Yasuko Yamaguchi obtained grants from Musikfonds Berlin und German Music Council.

Yasuko Yamaguchi has received commissions from Kunststiftung NRW, Music From Japan (New York), Tonhalle Düsseldorf, the Dr. Karl Emil and Lilli Brügmann Foundation and Düsseldorf Altstadt Herbst, for which the orchestral work “Das Stehaufmännchen ist umfallen” (1999) was written. This piece was nominated for the 10th Akutagawa Composition Award (2000) and has been performed consecutively by such eminent Japanese orchestras as the Kyoto Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa conducted by Hiroyuki Iwaki, the Yamagata Symphony Orchestra and the New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra. In December 2003 the CD ‘The not-well-tempered piano (Toy piano: Bernd Wiesemann, Cybele Verlag) was released, for which Yamaguchi’s toy piano piece ‘Zuckerregen’ was produced. In February 2004 her orchestral piece “Das Stehaufmännchen ist umgefallen” was released on CD by the Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa (conductor: Hiroyuki Iwaki, Warner Music Japan).

Her works have also been performed by various ensembles worldwide, including E-MEX Ensemble, notabu. ensemble Düsseldorf, Studio Musikfabrik, Thürmchen Ensemble Cologne, 175 East in New Zealand, De Ereprijs in the Netherlands, Tokyo Sinfonietta, Ensemble SoNoR in Azerbaijan, Het Nederlands Fluitorkest, Trío FeedBack Spain. They have been heard at numerous festivals such as the ’19th Conference and Festival of Asian Composers’ League 1998′ in Taiwan, the ‘International Gaudeamus Musicweek 1999′ in the Netherlands,’14th Niedersächsische Musiktage 2000’ in Hanover, `7th International Youth Music Forum 2001’ in Ukraine, Klangspuren of the Munich Biennale 2008, ‘ADEvantgarde Festival 2009′ in Munich, the ’35th Music From Japan Festival 2010’ in New York, ‘rainy days 2012’ in Luxembourg, the 3rd Festival Internacional VertixeVIGO 2015, Ensems 2020 in Spain, Sound Spaces Festival 2021 in Sweden, and at the 24th Festival de Música Contemporánea de Córdoba in Spain. Portrait concerts with Yasuko Yamaguchi’s chamber music took place in Dortmund in May 2007, in Düsseldorf in September 2008 and in Tokyo in December 2022.

Yasuko Yamaguchi lives as a freelance composer with her partner, the composer Sven-Ingo-Koch in Düsseldorf.