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Rite of Masago
[2016, Japan] concert music

Audience-participatory music inspired by a folk ritual called “Koshiki-Dohyo-iri (the Ancient Rite of Ring Entrance)” from the town of Iwatsuki in Saitama City. In this autumn harvest festival, local children march through the town and enter into the sumo ring of a local shrine with stylized movements and calls. “The Rite of Masago: Spring in Iwatsuki” was originally composed for piano, cello, shamisen, and audience participation with voice, and premiered as part of the Saitama Triennale 2016. It was then re-arranged for two pianos and audience participation as “The Rite of Masago: Summer in Ryogoku” and premiered at the Ryogoku Art Festival 2017 in Tokyo. The composition has since then been re-performed in different arrangements. 

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Rite of Masago_exceptTomoko Momiyama

Instrumentation (for the “Spring in Iwatsuki” version): Piano, Cello, Shamisen, and Voice.

Premiered on April 2nd, 2016, at “Let’s Sumo Music in Saitama” concert for Saitama Triennale 2016 in Iwatsuki, Saitama City, by Tomoki Tai on cello, Yumiko Tanaka on shamisen, Makoto Nomura on piano, and voluntary members of the audience on voice. 

Where Little Foot Sleeps
[2015, Japan] concert music


Little Foot, according to a recent finding published in April 2015, is the fossil of an adult female hominid from 3.7 million years ago. Found at the bottom of a hole deep inside a dark cave, Little Foot is one of the earliest known ancestors of humans. I met her for the first time when I visited the Cradle of Humankind in 2014 as part of Unyazi Festival in South Africa. “Where Little Foot Sleeps” follows a dream she might have had at her graveyard as she would have listened to kaleidoscopic memories of the future in 3.7 million years’ time. The piece quotes a healing song of the Eland spirits from the San people, an indigenous group of hunter-gatherers in South Africa, as well as the music of a traditional deer dance from the Iwate prefecture in northern Japan, in which a human and a deer dance together on the borderline that separates them. “Where Little Foot Sleeps” was commissioned by the pianist Satoko Inoue and premiered by herself and Jill Richards from South Africa at Ryogoku Art Festival 2015.

Where Little Foot Sleeps_excerptTomoko Momiyama

for two prepared pianos, premiered at Ryogoku Monten Hall, Tokyo, Japan.

When Humans Go Extinct
[2014, Republic of South Africa] concert music, multi-media performance

A multimedia performance created in collaboration with artists from Johannesburg and premiered at Unyazi IV Festival of Electronic Music, where I was invited to participate as the festival’s composer-in-residence. Together with Jill Richards (piano), João Orecchia (sound artist), and Jurgen Meekel (visual artist), I formed a team to explore the changes in the relationships between humans and the earth from the time of our origin to this day and create a piece from the process. Specifically, the team worked closely with archaeologists and geologists from the Origins Centre and the school of Geosciences at the University of the Witwatersrand to learn about the latest findings in palaeontological studies at the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, where many kinds of pre-human fossils had been unearthed inside caves. At the same time, the team visited communities around Johannesburg that were affected by recent mining developments, in order to talk with miners who worked underground and local people who heard sound from the earth 24 hours a day due to the underground mining activities. We played with “gong rocks” of the San indigenous people at the Rock Art Research Institute and made recordings inside caves and underground using geophones. Based on this intensive collective research, I composed “When Humans Go Extinct,” which was performed by the team at the festival. The piece is a reflection on our origin as human beings as well as a question about where we have come to and where we want to go from now on, in relation to our lands.

When Humans Go Extinct_excerptTomoko Momiyama

for piano, live electronics, and image projections, premiered at the Music Room, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.


Moons of Hidden Times

[2013, Mexico] concert music

Commissioned by Tambuco Percussion Ensemble and composed through close collaboration with the ensemble at Tambuco-Japan Composer-in-Residence Program 2013, “Moons of Hidden Times” was world-premiered by the ensemble in Mexico in March and then Japan-premiered in July 2013. Since then, the piece has become part of the ensemble’s repertoire and is performed frequently at various international concerts, including 2015 LA International New Music Festival at REDCAT, California, U.S.A.

Moons of Hidden Times_excerptTomoko Momiyama

for percussion quartet, world premiered at Sala Xochipilli, National School of Music, UNAM, Mexico City, Mexico, and Japan premiered at Tsuda Hall, Tokyo, Japan.


A Cave Dream

[2010, The Nederlands] concert music

Commissioned by the Niwebyrth Ensemble, which promoted new music for period instruments, “A Cave Dream” was premiered by the ensemble and won the “Cupid’s Darts: A Love Song Competition.”

A Cave Dream_excerptTomoko Momiyama

for soprano, fortepiano, historical clarinet, and cello, premiered at Korzo 5HOOG Theatre, The Hague, the Netherlands.


Ballade for Lost Waters

[2009, The Nederlands] concert music, multi-media performance


In 2008, I initiated an art project with Melissa Cruz (visual artist) and Yamila Rios (sound designer) in order to investigate the relationship between people and their environment in Dutch society, with a specific focus on water. By working closely with Gemeente Den Haag (municipal government) and Hoogheemraadschap van Delfland (water management institution), we traveled throughout the city of The Hague in search of water that was still alive, and recorded underwater sound using hydrophones. As a result of this shared journey, a multimedia performance piece for a solo percussionist and live electronics was composed. The audience was invited to listen to the silent voices of water, while the percussionist conversed with her own shadows projected from the water mirror creating an optical magic. “Ballade for Lost Waters” was premiered during the Spring Festival 2009 at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, and later performed at different locations in the city.

Ballade for Lost Waters_excerptTomoko Momiyama

for percussion, tape, live electronics, and water mirror, premiered at Kees van Baarenzaal, Royal Conservatoire, The Hague, the Netherlands.

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Lullaby of the 21st Century

[2008, Japan] concert music, site-specific project 


I designed and facilitated a collective composition workshop with citizens of Kanazawa as part of the museum’s “Graphism in the Wilderness: Kiyoshi Awazu" exhibition. Seven participants, varying in their age from 24 to 70 years old, traveled together through the exhibition and exchanged their shifts in perception with each other. From this shared experience surfaced a collective narrative, which was then mapped onto a graphic score and translated into music. As a result of this creative dialogue, “Lullaby of the 21st Century” was composed and performed by the participants at the museum.

©hiraku ikeda


for voice, piano, saxophone, Theremin, Taisho-goto, recorder, harmonica, ocarina, and self-made instruments, performed at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan.


Y/i : feeling out of harmony in Yokohama

[2007, Japan] concert music, site-specific project 


As part of the hall’s composer-in-residence program, I collaborated with Sachiyo Tsurumi (composer) and Keisuke Mitsuhashi (music critic) in organizing a community-based project entitled “Hama–Mix=Yokohama+Remix.” Each resident artist worked with a group of Yokohama citizens: my group consisted of four people varying from 7 to 54 years old. Together, we composed music based on fieldtrips around the neighborhood, which included newly developed commercial bay areas as well as an old Chinatown and a flophouse district. In addition, the resident composers created new pieces of music by re-mixing the materials produced through all the group workshops. These re-mixed compositions as well as the group compositions were premiered at the concert hall by professional musicians and the workshop participants.

Yokohama Minato-mirai Hall, Kanagawa, Japan.

Play of the Winds  

[2000, U.S.A] concert music

A Murmur 

[1999, U.S.A] concert music

Allison’s Journey 

[1999, U.S.A.] concert music

The Dance of A Tree God

[1998, U.S.A.] concert music

Soliloquy for a Lover I & II

[1997, U.S.A.] concert music

Emily’s Death and Emily’s Blue

[1996, U.S.A.] concert music

Filter Works:

© Tomoko Momiyama

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