Airi Yoshioka, Professor

“The beauty of my work as a musician is that there truly are no borders, boundaries, or separations when it comes to the music I play. As an interpreter, the first question I ask when I begin my work on the piece is ‘What is this composer trying to say and how can I make the notes on the page come to life?’ Sometimes there are narratives behind a piece, a context in which the piece was written, a given story, which might shed light onto the message of the piece and allow me to enter the mind and the heart of the composer. I dig deeply into my own personal responses to what I am seeing and hearing on the page and look for ways in which the work resonates within me.

I find ways in which the cultural/national/ethnic backgrounds play a role in one’s compositional voice fascinating, especially since I myself have straddled two different cultural identities. Because of this personal interest in finding my own voice, I am often taking a particular region of the world as a focal point of a research project, searching for ways in which a work might exhibit cultural identity.

The following projects are result of such curiosity: Sueños Místicos is an album of works by South American composers; Invisible Curve is a collection of music by Asian women composers, Chen Yi (Chinese) and Karen Tanaka (Japanese); and my upcoming solo CD will feature music by composers from Central Asia and the Caucasus.

In addition to going to various parts of the world, I have also sought to find distinctive and notable voices in under-represented group of composers. Stolen Gold features works for violin and electronics by women composers. I have also recorded String Quartets by George Walker, prominent African-American composer and last year, I recorded chamber works by African-American composers dealing with issues of Reparations.

(Some of the aforementioned CD projects can be found on this page.)

Without a deliberate effort to be inclusive, my curiosities and spirit of inquiry have led me down the path to unearth interesting voices from all corners of the world and bring them to life. Human expression is universal and being a musician has afforded me the opportunity to seek and embrace all voices.”