updated 30 May 2022
© Manca Dornik

Mioko Yokoyama

Japanese composer and teacher born 2 February 1989 in Sapporo.

Trained as a pianist from age four, Mioko Yokoyama studied composition between 2007 and 2014 at the Tokyo University of the Arts with Eisuke Tsuchida, Kenjiro Urata, and Manabu Kawai. She simultaneously taught piano, music theory, and composition at Asuka Music School in Tokyo, and gave composition lessons and lectures at Yamaha Music Schools. She was awarded the Ataka Prize in 2010. Following her graduation, a three-year scholarship from the Yamaha Music Foundation allowed her to move to Helsinki, where she undertook a second master’s degree in composition at the Sibelius Academy of the University of the Arts, under the direction of Veli-Matti Puumala. She graduated in 2019.

Between 2016 and 2018, she attended numerous master classes and workshops, including those given by Mauricio Sotelo, Magnus Lindberg, and Chaya Czernowin in the context of events such as OPUS XXI (Germany), Creative Dialogue (United States), and Ultima (Norway).

Yokoyama is the recipient of numerous grants from the Pro-Musica Foundation, Teosto, the Finnish Cultural Foundation, the Sibelius Foundation, the Nomura Foundation, the Finnish Music Foundation, the Madetoja Foundation, and the Scandinavia-Japan Sasakawa Foundation. Her pieces are performed across the world, including in Japan, Finland, the United States, Austria, Germany, Iceland, Norway, and France.

Between 2017 and 2022, she was selected for projects in the ULYSSES Network and received a joint commission from the Gaudeamus Festival (Netherlands), Time of Music (Musiikin Aika, Finland), and Warsaw Autumn (Poland) to write a piece for percussion ensemble. The piece, Talking Metals, Talking Drums (2022), was premiered at the 2022 edition of IRCAM’s ManiFeste Festival. She also receives commissions from ensembles and festivals such as Avanti! Chamber Orchestra (Finland), Impuls Festival für Neue Musik in Sachen-Anhalt (Germany), km2 (Finland), L’Instant Donné (France), Superpluck (Finland), Tristero Piano Trio (Finland), and Uusinta Ensemble (Finland).

As a composer, she explores combinations of timbres and playing techniques, aiming to shape the perception of time and to constantly renew the attention of her audience. The piece There Are Always Flowers — whose title comes from Henri Matisse’s quote “There are always flowers for those who want to see them”1 — illustrates this search for unifying timbres.

Yokoyama also has a career as a teacher. She teaches piano and composition part-time at the Sibelius Academy of the Helsinki University of the Arts.

She is a member of the Finnish Composers Society and of Korvat auki (“Open Ears”), a Finnish collective of young composers and contemporary music enthusiasts.

Some of her works are published by Music Finland.

Awards and honors

  • Ataka Prize from Tokyo University of the Arts, 2010
  • Prize at the 16th Tokyo International Chamber Music Composition Competition, 2011
  • Yamaha Music Foundation student scholarship, 2015-2018
  • Selected as one of Finland’s representative composers for the Ung Nordisk Musik Festival, 2017
  • Selected for the 40th anniversary concert of Ears Open (Korvat auki), 2017
  • Martin Wegelius Foundation Award from the Sibelius Academy, 2017
  • Sibelius Academy Foundation Grant for performance in Japan, 2017
  • Sibelius Foundation Working Grant, the Society of Finnish Composers, 2017
  • Scandinavia-Japan Sasakawa Foundation Grant, 2018
  • Sibelius Academy Foundation Grant for a master class, 2018
  • Finnish Music Foundation one-month working grant, 2018
  • Sibelius Foundation Commissioning Grant, from the Society of Finnish Composers, 2018
  • Madetoja Foundation Fellowship, 2019
  • Finnish Music Foundation Fellowship, 2020
  • Nomura Foundation Fellowship, 2020
  • Sibelius Foundation commissioning grant, Society of Finnish Composers, 2020
  • Finnish Cultural Foundation working grant, 2021
  • Teosto commissioning grant, 2021
  • Pro-Musica Foundation grant, 2022

1. Henri MATISSE, Ecrits et propos sur l’art, text, notes, and index edited by Dominique Fourcade, Paris, Hermann, 1972.

© Ircam-Centre Pompidou, 2022


Mioko Yokoyama ; International School of Music Finland.

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