Starting with the Fall 2018 semester and continuing for two years, Onishi will teach private composition lessons, composition seminar, and freshman ear training to Mizzou students; serve as assistant conductor for the Mizzou New Music Ensemble; and assist with various MNMI programs. He also will begin a major research project to be completed during the two years of his fellowship.
Onishi (pictured) made news last week when he was awarded a 2018 fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation, a prestigious prize that since 1925 has been given to scholars, artists and scientists who already have done exceptional work and continue to show promise for the future. As MNMI’s third postdoctoral fellow, he will succeed Carolina Heredia, who was hired by the School of Music to be an assistant professor of composition starting in Fall 2018.
“Yoshiaki Onishi has impressive credentials, and he’ll add another fresh perspective to our composition area,” said Julia Gaines, director of the School of Music and professor of percussion. “With Carolina Heredia joining the full-time faculty, we’re very pleased to have found yet another accomplished individual for this fellowship.”
“As a conductor and clarinetist as well as a teacher and a prize-winning composer, Yoshi has had a variety of experiences that apply directly to what we’re doing with the Mizzou New Music Initiative,” said Stefan Freund, professor of composition and artistic director of MNMI. “Our students definitely will benefit by having him in the mix, and since both of our previous post-doctoral fellows have gone on to tenure-track jobs, we hope that this opportunity will be good for Yoshi, too.”
Born in Hokkaido, Japan, Onishi received his doctorate in composition in 2015 from Columbia University. Previously, he studied composition, clarinet and conducting at University of the Pacific, graduating with highest honors, and earned an artist diploma and master of music degree in composition from Yale School of Music.
He has held teaching positions at Columbia University and Toho Gakuen School of Music in Tokyo, Japan, and has made guest lectures and appearances at the University of Hawai’i at Manoā, University of the Pacific, Columbia University, and other academic institutions.
Onishi has had his music presented worldwide by festivals and organizations such as Festival Rainy Days at Philharmonie Luxembourg, Takefu International Music Festival, Gaudeamus Muziekweek, and more; and performed by ensembles and soloists including Asko/Schönberg Ensemble, Klangforum Wien, JACK Quartet, Momenta Quartet, Wet Ink Ensemble, Nieuw Ensemble, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Anssi Karttunen, Ari Streisfeld, and Linda Jankowska. His works are published by Edition Gravis in Berlin, Germany.
As a conductor, he describes himself as “deeply engaged” in new music and has conducted many ensembles and orchestras, working closely with composers of his generation. Onishi is one of the founding members of Ensemble Exophonie Tokyo, and previously served as an assistant conductor for the Columbia University Orchestra.
His honors and awards include winning the Gaudeamus Prize, one of the most prestigious awards given to young composers, in 2011; being a two-time finalist for the Akutagawa Award in Music Composition in Japan; an artistic residency fellowship from Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Umbertide, Italy; a commission from Ensemble Intercontemporain; and more.