Japanese composer Moto Osada’s music has been described as “individual and original” by the German newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau and “beautiful and extremely strong” by the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter. Remarkable for its unique blend of harmonic textures, Mr. Osada’s music often draws on Japanese themes and traditional instruments to augment Western harmonies. It also frequently incorporates the latest in music technology ranging from electronic equipment to computer-generated sounds. He has written extensively for film and television, as well as for the theater and dance media. Increasingly in demand nationally and internationally, his works have been heard in such countries as the United States, Belgium, Germany, Israel, Norway, Russia, Sweden, Mexico, Argentina, and his native Japan, and in venues ranging from the Israeli Embassy in Washington, DC to Novosibirsk Concert Hall in Russia.

Mr. Osada’s opera Four Nights of Dream, commissioned by the Vadstena Academy, drew immense praise from the press. Based on the classic novel Ten Nights of Dream by Japanese author Natsume Soseki, the opera saw its premiere in Sweden in July 2008. It prompted Karin Helander of Svenska Dagbladet to laud:

Four Nights of Dream is an irresistible mix of Japanese and Western influences.  The music is easily accessible, dynamic and often breathtakingly beautiful. The sweep of notes and clipped motifs vary and shift from meditation and frustrated resignation to absurd comedy, suggestive ghostly mystique and metaphysical poetry.

July 22, 2008

Mr. Osada’s latest opera Son of Heaven, another Vadstena Academy commission funded by the Swedish Arts Council, was also a commercial and critical success. A collaboration with Kerstin Perski who wrote the libretto based on the legends of Qin Shi Huang (the first emperor of China), the opera received its premiere during the Vadstena Summer Opera Festival in July 2015. Motala & Vadstena Tidning called the work “a modern opera like no other” and “something extraordinary” while Lars-Erik Larsson of Skånska Dagbladet described it as “a sterling masterpiece” with “very intelligent music that is at the same time friendly to both ear and brain.” In his review of Son of Heaven, Per Feltzin of Sveriges Radio (Radio Sweden) wrote, “Just like [Osada’s] last opera, this one feels completely cohesive and full-fledged.” He further praised the composer for having “full power and control over his tools” while suggesting that the Royal Swedish Opera commission a new opera from Mr. Osada.

Highlights of recent seasons include an excerpted concert performance of Four Nights of Dream at VOX Contemporary American Opera Lab by New York City Opera in November 2012, the world premiere of Duo for cello and percussion, commissioned and premiered by cellist Sumire Kudo of the New York Philharmonic and solo percussionist Haruka Fujii of Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble, at the Juilliard School in July 2009, and the world premiere of Sylvan Lay and Pastoral Air for marimba solo, commissioned and premiered by prominent marimbist Makoto Nakura, at the Downtown NYC River to River Festival 2007.

Of the March 2007 performance of his Kaguyama Dance for viola and piano by the American composer/performer collective counter)induction Allan Kozinn of The New York Times praised:

…the works, by [Japanese] composers of the last two generations were cosmopolitan and up to date… their works are steeped in color, texture, and visceral power.  Jessica Meyer, the violist and Blair McMillen, the pianist, threw themselves headlong into Moto Osada’s “Kaguyama Dance,” to good effect.  The viola line’s rhythmically sharp edges are first mirrored, then magnified, in the dense piano line, which edges toward jazz in its energy and drive.

March 13, 2007

Further highlights of past seasons include a June 2006 performance of Mifune for viola solo by Paul Neubauer of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center at the OK Mozart Festival in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, and four premieres: In June 2005, Three Bagatelles for violin, cello and piano was premiered on the Weaving Japanese Sounds (Music of Modern Japan) concert series at Yamaha Artist Services’ Piano Salon in New York. In August 2004 cellist Beata Söderberg performed Mr. Osada’s Meditation for cello solo in Linköping, Sweden. In February 2004, the noted Katz-Shteinberg Duo premiered Kaguyama Dance at New York’s Weill Recital Hall (Carnegie Hall), and in September 2003, Take the Six for marimba and electronics was presented to great acclaim at Nagano’s Raisin Hall in Japan. During the 2004-2005 season, Mr. Osada’s JoHaKyu for cello and piano was presented as part of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s distinguished Double Exposure series in New York. Later, in April 2005, his Take the Six was featured on the Cutting Edge Concerts, also in New York.

A graduate of New York University and the Manhattan School of Music, Mr. Osada’s recent honors include grants from the American Music Center (Composer Assistance Program), the Japan Foundation, ASCAP, the S&R Foundation (S&R Washington Award), and the Yvar Mikhashoff Trust for New Music. Mr. Osada was selected as the winner of the 2009 Call for Scores by the contemporary music ensemble Brave New Works and was a recipient of the 2003 Jerome Composers Commissioning Program (the Jerome Fund for New Music) by the American Composers Forum. He has also been awarded residencies at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program and the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center in Bellagio, Italy. Mr. Osada currently resides in New York.