updated 18 October 2021

Misato Mochizuki

Japanese composer born 31 January 1969 in Tokyo.

Born in Tokyo in 1969, Misato Mochizuki studied theory, piano and composition at the University of the Arts in her hometown, graduating in 1992 with a Master’s Degree in Composition. She undertook further study of composition at the Paris Conservatoire (CNSMDP), graduating in 1995 with highest honours and going on to pursue an advanced degree at the same institution with Paul Mefano and Emmanuel Nunes. In 1996-97, she participated in the IRCAM Cursus (IRCAM’s composition and computer music course), allowing her further study with Tristan Murail.

Since 2007, she has taught at the Meiji Gakuin Universtiy in Tokyo. She has also taught at the Darmstadt Summer Courses (2008), Royaumont (2009), the Takefu festival, and the Amsterdam Conservatory.

She has been awarded numerous accolades, including the “Grand Prix” and the Yasuda Prize in the 64th Japanese Music Competition in 1995, a Stipendien Preis from the Darmstadt Summer Courses in 1998, the Akutagawa Prize for the Best New Work for Orchestra in 2000 for Camera lucida, the Ars Musica Festival Prize (Brussels) in 2002 for Chimera, the Otaka Prize for the Best Work for Orchestra in 2005 for Cloud nine, the International Rostrum of Composers Prize in 2008 (Dublin) for L’heure bleue, and the Heidelberg Female Artists’ Prize in 2010.

Her works have been performed in numerous international festivals (including Donaueschingen and Manca) by orchestras and ensembles such as the SWR Baden-Baden Symphony Orchestra, Radio France Philharmonic, SFB-Radio Berlin Deutsche Sinfonieorchester, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Ensemble Modern, Klangforum Wien, Ictus, Nieuw Ensemble, 2e2m and Court-circuit.

Combining Western and Asian traditions, Mochizuki’s music is characterised by its formal and stylistic freedom, as well as by its nuanced treatment of sonic colour, betraying influences of (in equal measure) Eastern musical modes and spectral theory. Additionally, her work is marked by her interest in biology and genetics, as manifest in works such as Homeobox (2001) and Chimera (2000). Mankind and the cosmos are the focus of the works Noos (2001) and Omega project (2002), both inspired by the writings of theologian and philosopher Teilhard de Chardin. Photography is another key creative influence: works such as La chambre claire (1998) and Camera lucida (1999) evoke shifts in focus, from sharp to blurred, and the ability to capture and reproduce the ephemeral.

Underlying pulsations, sometimes inaudible (and therefore, present only in a subliminal capacity), guide the evolution of each of her works. Chimera evokes a living being with a beating heart whose “musical” cells divide/reproduce, transform and move around, giving rise to a sort of perpetual motion which evolves according to metonymic principles, i.e., the amplification of details and the transformation of peripheral figures through the addition of noise elements.

Following a period of work at IRCAM, Mochizuki started to integrate techniques of sonic morphing and cross-synthesis, which allow her to move fluidly among the timbres of traditional instruments, thereby creating a sonorous continuum (as in Si bleu, si calme [1997]).

In 2007, Mochizuki composed two scores for silent films (one by Kenji Mizoguchi and the other by Man Ray) which were premiered at the Agora Festival and Radio France, respectively. Her opera buffa, The big bakery robbery, based on short stories by Haruki Murakami, was premiered in 2009.

From 2011 to 2013, she was composer-in-residence at the Besançon International Music Festival, during which Nirai II, a pedagogical work for orchestra, was premiered (2013). In 2015, her percussion concerto Quark II was premiered by Thierry Miroglio and Ensemble Orchestral Contemporain, conducted by Daniel Kawka. Her string quartet Brains was premiered by the Diotima Quartet at the Présences Festival in 2017. In the same year, Têtes for solo vocalist and chamber ensemble was premiered in Darmstadt by Musikfabrik.

Mochizuki’s scores are published by Breitkopf & Härtel.

© Ircam-Centre Pompidou, 2019


  • Site de la compositrice
  • Éditions Breitkopf & Härtel


  • Wolfgang THEIN, « On Misato Mochizuki » [dans le catalogue de Misato Mochizuki], Breitkopf & Härtel, 2002.
  • Eric DENUT, « Après les déchirements. Un panorama de la musique japonaise contemporaine » dans Dissonance n° 86, Mai 2004, Zurich, Association Suisse des Musiciens.
  • Stephen LONG, « Japanese Composers of the Post-Takemitsu Generation » dans : Tempo n° 228, avril 2004, Londres, Calum MacDonald editeur.


  • Misato MOCHIZUKI, « Etheric Blueprint Trilogy », Mayumi Miyata : shô, Christophe Mazzella : électronique, mdi ensemble, Yoichi Sugiyama : direction, 1 cd Neos, 2014, 11403.
  • Misato MOCHIZUKI, Toccata, dans « Three Hakai and more », Makiko Goto, koto ; Jeremias Schwarzer, flûte à bec, 1 cd Neos, 2011, 11010.
  • Misato MOCHIZUKI, Si bleu si calme ; All that is including me ; Chimera ; Intermezzi I ; La chambre claire ; Klangforum Wien, Johannes Kalitske, dir., Kairos, 2003, 0012402KAI.
  • Misato MOCHIZUKI, Ecoute, dans le triple Cd collectif « Donaueschinger Musiktage 2002 », Neue vocalsolisten Stuttgart, 3 Cds col legno WWE 20229.
  • Misato MOCHIZUKI, Pas à pas, dans le Cd collectif « Darmstadt 2000: Internationale Ferienkurse 40. Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik Darmstadt », Pascal Gallois, basson, Teodoro Anzellotti, accordéon, col legno, 2002, WWE 20056.
  • Misato MOCHIZUKI, Camera lucida, dans le double Cd collectif « Donaueschinger Musiktage 1999 », SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg, dir. Sylvain Cambreling, 2 Cds col legno, 1999, WWE 20075.

Liens Internet

(liens vérifiés en octobre 2021).