updated 26 April 2023
© Keiko Goto

Malika Kishino

Japanese composer born 16 July 1971 in Kyoto.

After obtaining an undergraduate degree in law from Doshisha University in 1994, Malika Kishino turned to composition. She earned a graduate degree in 1998 from the École Normale de Musique de Paris, where she studied with Yoshihisa Taïra. She then studied with Robert Pascal at the Conservatoire National Supérieur Musique et Danse de Lyon and graduated in 2003. In 2004-2005, she attended the Cursus program for composition and computer music at IRCAM under the direction of Philippe Leroux.

Her works have been performed in festivals in Europe and Japan, including the Radio France Présences Festival, the Biennale Musiques en scène (Lyon), Musica (Strasbourg), Ultima (Oslo), the Venice Biennale, Rai NuovaMusica, Ultraschall (Berlin), Acht Brücken (Cologne), Ars Musica (Brussels), Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik, and Music Biennale Zagreb. Her compositions have been performed by the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, RAI National Symphony Orchestra, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo, Tokyo Philharmonic Chorus, ChorWerk Ruhr, Oslo Sinfonietta, Ensemble Orchestral Contemporain, Asko|Schönberg, Ensemble Musikfabrik, the Quatuor Diotima, and Percussions de Strasbourg.

Kishino strives to create “sound organisms” shaped by their inherent musical and driving forces. Her sound spectrum integrates electronics as well as Japanese instruments — notably the koto, which is found in Monochromer Garten IV and V; Ha-Dô, which also includes the Korean daegeum; Qualia; and Erwachen I and II. Aside from in instrumentation, Kishino otherwise does not refer to the classical Japanese musical tradition. She draws her inspiration from physical and psychic phenomena, and particularly from nature. She often manipulates spatial distribution, as in Danse du Zephyr and Fluxus ac Refluxus, or incorporates electronics with eight-channel sound distribution, as is the case for Aqua Vitae and Rayons crépusculaires. Water and light inspire many of her musical reflections. Rayons crépusculaires evokes the “Jacob’s ladder” atmospheric effect, when visible rays of sunlight descend from behind a cloud; Sensitive Chaos evokes the flow of water, while Du firmament and Prayer/Inori explore the phenomenon of light refraction in water.

The garden is another prominent theme in Kishino’s musical universe, appearing most obviously in the Monochromer Garten series, but also in her Concerto pour Koto. The latter is inspired by Japanese gardens, which she conceives as a space enclosing a few select elements that must simultaneously represent nature in miniature as well as the inner world of the gardener. This conception is somewhat analogous to her own compositional process:

I like to compare it with the cell of a human body: when I compose, I use such cells, the smallest units of sounds and pitches, as my basic material, and I try to create a living organism in a given amount of time. I can learn the structure and essence of organisms from nature.1

In 2014, her portrait CD Irisation was produced by WERGO and Deutscher Musikrat. Kishino lives in Germany. Her scores are published by Suvini Zerboni.

Scholarships and awards

  • Otaka Composition Prize from the NHK Orchestra Tokyo, 2022
  • Oshita Fellow at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, 2011
  • Grant from the Künstlerhof Schreyahn, 2011
  • Grant from the Landesregierung Nordrhein-Westfalen, 2010
  • Grant from the Akademie Schloss Solitude, 2008-2009
  • Grant from the Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, 2008
  • Grant from the South West German Radio Experimental Studio, 2007, 2009
  • 1st prize at the Groupe de Recherche Appliquée en Musique Electroacoustique (GRAME) and Ensemble Orchestral Contemporain competition, 2006
  • 3rd prize at the 70th Japan Music Competition, 2001

1. Malika Kishino, “Beauty and Chaos. Art as Organism - The Music of Malika Kishino,” liner notes, Irisidation, WERGO B00KGLRLDC, 2014, compact disc.


Site de la compositrice, Suvini Zerboni, CDMC, Klangspuren, Wergo, Resmusica

  • Solo (excluding voice)
  • Chamber music
    • Epure for string quartet (1998-1999), 15 mn 22 s, Suvini Zerboni
    • Astral for flute, guitar, piano, percussion, violin and cello (2001), 14 mn 7 s
    • elec Irisation Aquatique for bass clarinet, piano, cello and electronic sounds (2002), 10 mn, Suvini Zerboni
    • Scintillation for piano and harpsichord (2002), 8 mn, Notissimo
    • Epanouissement II for bass flute and harp (2004), 10 mn
    • Himmelsleiter for alto flute, bass clarinet, trumpet, piano, violin and cello (2006), 8 mn 10 s, Suvini Zerboni
    • Himmelwärts / vers le ciel for flute, percussion, violin, viola and cello (2006), 12 mn, Suvini Zerboni
    • Seventeen Steps for alto flute, violin, koto and piano (2006), 3 mn 58 s, Suvini Zerboni
    • Erwachen for great-bass recorder, bass-koto and percussion (2007), 10 mn 30 s
    • Halo for two clarinettists (2007), 9 mn 43 s, Suvini Zerboni
    • elec Aqua Vitae for two pianos, two water percussions and electronic device with eight-channel broadcasting (2008), 9 mn 35 s, Suvini Zerboni
    • Erwachen II for bass flute, bass-koto and percussion (2008), 12 mn 10 s, Suvini Zerboni
    • Aqua Vitae II for alto flute, bass clarinet, percussion, violin and cello (2010), 7 mn 30 s, Suvini Zerboni
    • Vagues des Passions for marimbaphone and vibraphone (2010), 2 mn 30 s, Suvini Zerboni
    • Monochromer Garten for accordion and cello (2011), Suvini Zerboni
    • Monochromer Garten II for bass clarinet, baritone saxophone and trombone (2011), 11 mn, Suvini Zerboni
    • Himmelsleiter II for alto flute, bass clarinet, trumpet, harp, violin and cello (2006-2013), 8 mn 10 s, Suvini Zerboni
    • Lamento based on a folk song from Fukushima, for two violins (2013), Suvini Zerboni
    • Lamento II based on a folk song from Fukushima, for violin and viola (2013-2014), Suvini Zerboni
    • Monochromer Garten VII for recorder and percussion (2015), 15 mn, Suvini Zerboni
    • Ochres for flute, oboe and clarinet (2016), 8 mn about , Suvini Zerboni
    • Sange 散華 tribute for the 10 years of the death of Yoshihisa Taira, for six percussionists (2016), 15 mn, Suvini Zerboni [program note]
    • Ha-Dô for daegeum and koto (2017)
    • Naki-Ryu II (FluZer Echo) for string quartet (2018), 12 mn about
    • elec stage SHADES Sept états entre l’ombre et la lumière, for flute, percussions, dancers, video and light (2021-2022), 60 mn about
    • Schmeteringstanz for string quartet (2023), 17 mn, Suvini Zerboni
  • Instrumental ensemble music
    • Du Firmament for orchestra (2001-2002), 11 mn 42 s, Suvini Zerboni
    • Danse du zéphyr for 17 musicians (2002-2003), 17 mn 29 s, Suvini Zerboni
    • Fluxsus ac refluxsus for large orchestra divided into seven groups (2008), 16 mn 12 s
    • Sensitive Chaos for electric guitar, trumpet, trombone, two percussionists, piano and cello (2010), 13 mn 30 s, Suvini Zerboni
    • Zur Tiefe for orchestra (2013), Suvini Zerboni
    • Stratus - Altocumulus - Cirrus for 9 instrumentalists divided into 3 groups (2014), Suvini Zerboni
    • Shades of ochre for orchestra (2017), 21 mn, Suvini Zerboni
    • ...Kaum einen Hauch... from Wandrers Nachtlied by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Franz Schubert, for ten performers (2018), 9 mn 30 s, Suvini Zerboni
    • Ritus for large orchestra (2020), 12 mn
    • Wolkenatlas for large orchestra in 3 groups (2022), 12 mn about , Suvini Zerboni
  • Concertant music
  • Vocal music and instrument(s)
    • Satsuki for mixed choirs, trumpet, trombone and two percussions (2000), 7 mn
    • Battement for baritone and piano (2003), 7 mn
    • Hila-Hila to... for countertenor and seven musicians (2009), 8 mn 40 s, Suvini Zerboni
    • Ichimai-Kishohmon for mixed choir, monks' voices, sho, hichiriki, 20-string koto, percussion and string trio (2011), 15 mn, Suvini Zerboni
    • Ichimai-Kishohmon version for two voices and piano (2011), Suvini Zerboni
    • Miraiken kara (De sphère du futur) for noh singing and alto flute (2012), 12 mn, Suvini Zerboni
    • Chant for mixed choir and orchestra (2015), 15 mn, Suvini Zerboni
    • Farbe der Vokale for female voice, clarinet and piano (2019), 10 mn about , Suvini Zerboni
  • A cappella vocal music
  • Electronic music / fixed media / mechanical musical instruments
    • elec stage Absentia for dance and electronics (2007), 40 mn
    • elec Dukkha 3-channel electronic composition for interactive performance-installation (2012), Suvini Zerboni

Liens Internet

(liens vérifiés en avril 2023).


  • Malika KISHINO, Lamento ; Aqua vitae II, dans « Dialogues On Nature », 1 CD MDG, 2021, 925 2214-6.
  • Malika KISHINO, Sange, dans « Rains », avec des compositions de Toshio Hosokawa, Yoshihisa Taïra et Toru Takemitsu, 1 CD Les Percussions De Strasbourg, 2019, PDS119.
  • Malika KISHINO, Rayons crépusculaires ; Monochromer Garten II ; Sensitive chaos ; Prayer/Inori ; Du firmament, dans « Irisation », 1 CD Wergo, 2014, WER 6411 2.