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Makoto Nomura is a composer and performer. He produced enormous compositions in a diverse array of genre and styles. The most consistent thing about his work could be its lack of consistency. His works include chamber music, Javanese gamelan, symphony orchestra, theatre, installations, television and film. A thoroughly notated piece for western symphony orchestra may follow an experimental improvised work for bath water or roof tile ensemble. The same piece might harbour playful sound game in one hand and beautiful melody in the other. He delights in combining disparate styles into untried syntheses. He looked everywhere for inspiration – to other cultures (Indonesia, Thailand, etc.), non-professional musicians (children, animals, etc.), other sound sources (roof tiles, plastic bottles, etc.), or other disciplines (dance, drama, visual art, sumo wrestling, etc.) His music have appeared in more than 20 countries in Asia, Europe and US. Some of his musical work has been published by Mother Earth Publisher. He has been a fellow of various institutions and creditor to several awards for his work. He is also active as a performer, teacher and lecturer.

His music activities are so diverse. His standing point is pluralist on music. On this website his plural characters are divided into following elements.

1) composition (contemporary music/experimental music/Asian music)
2) performance (piano/melodica/roof tile)
3) workshop (community music/music education)

1) composer
1a) as a contemporary composer

As a contemporary composer he has written music for classical musicians, such as chamber music, symphony orchestra etc. His works have been performed by Bochumer Symfoniker, Tokyo City Philharmonic Orchestra, Tomoko Mukaiyama, Yuji Takahashi, Mie Miki, Aki Takahashi, Tomomi Ota, Grzegorz Stopa, Mari Fujiwara, Katsuya Matsubara in a number of countries including Germany, UK, France, USA, Russia, Bulgaria, Korea, Indonesia, Belgium, Netherland, Malaysia. Some of his pieces as a contemporary composer are published by the Mother Earth Publishing, eg. “Away From Home With Eggs” for piano commissioned by Tomoko Mukaiyama, “How Many Spinatch Amen!” for accoridon, violin and violoncello,which was commissioned by Mie Miki etc.

1b) as an experimantal composer

As an experimental composer he directs a concert in a swimming pool, zoo, public bath, campsite, and so on.

Nomura conducted for the concert in a swimming pool

Nomura is conducting for the concert in a swimming pool. photo: UEDA Kazunori, Courtesy of Aichi Triennale 2010

Root Music (2012)

Root Music (2012), photo: YAMAMOTO Tadasu, courtesy of Aomori Contemporary Art Centre(ACAC), Aomori Public University

Makoto Nomura grew vegetables on his composition "Field of Music".

He loves collaborations and has collaborated with animals, children, dancers, vegetables. He has worked not only in the field of contemporary music but also in the fields of visual art, performance art, community art, and whatever he likes.

1c) as an Asian composer

Since he composed “Jogetlah! Beethoven” for Javanese gamelan and children’s choir in 1996, Nomura has composed lots of music for gamelan. In 2004, funded by Arts Network Asia he launched Asian improvised music project with a videographer Yukihiro Nomura and collaborated with Thai and Indonesian musicians and dancers both from traditional and non-traditional backgrounds. This culminated as i-picnic in the Kontraste Festival in Krems, Austria, in collaboration with Yohanes Subowo from Indonesia and Anant Narkkong from Thailand. In 2013 he got Asian Public Intelectual Fellowship from Nippon Foundation and write an essay and archived his research on collaborative composition in Indonesia and Thailand.

collaboration in Indonesia

collaboration in Indonesia

He is also very active to write music for Japanese traditional instruments, such as koto, shamisen, etc.

2) performer
2a) as a pianist

He plays mainly his own composition and improvisation. In 2013 Tontuu Record produced his piano solo CD “NOMURANOPIANO”. As an improvising pianist, he has played with Charles Hayward, Otomo Yoshihide, Makoto Yoshimori, Kazutoki Umezu, Hugh Nankivell, Anant Narkkong etc.

2b) as a melodica player

He is also known as the pioneer of innovative melodica performance.

In Japan melodicas have been regarded as instruments only for primary music education. Few musicians showed interest in them. In 1996 Nomura formed “P-blot” a first professional band entirely playing melodicas.

In 2006 Nomura launched melodica trio collection and started commissioning contemporary composers to write pieces for melodica trio, such as Kohei Kondo, Andrew Melvin, Carl Bergstroem Nielsen, Sachiyo Tsurumi, etc.

2c) as a roof tile player

In 2013 Nomura launched a new project “Music on Kawara” or “Musik Genteng” with a percussionist/composer Kumiko Yabu, in which they use Japanese traditional rooftiles as musical instruments.

3) music education

3a) community music

He has organised extremely creative community music projects. In 2014 Japan Century Symphony Orchestra appointed Nomura as the director of its community programme. He is also the director of Senju Pun-filled Music Festival
and composed/organised concert by 1010 people.

He has done hundreds of composition workshops with children, amateurs, old people, etc. He is also the founder of various international projects such as Asian collaborative improvisation project “i-picnic“, experimental community music theatre “Whaletone Opera“, “Keyboard Choreography Collection”
, “The Birth of Shogi Symphony” etc.

Makoto Nomura “Desi Desi Desi”(1995).

whaletone opera in 2006 @Ezuko Hall

workshop at Patravadi High School in Thailand

3b) as a teacher

Nomura has been a Visiting Professor/Lecturer in several universities, Indonesia National University of Arts and Music in Indonesia, Tokyo University of the Arts, Kyoto University of Art and Design, Kyoto Women’s University in Japan etc.

3c) as an ainotesan

He is also very active for creative music education. In 2006/2007 he produced legendary TV programme “Ainote“, which focused on experimental music for early-year children.

  • Old People’s Home Remix #1

  • Hokusai Manga Quartet

  • Pasca Belhamasca

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