Akari Komura is a Japanese composer-vocalist. She grew up in Tokyo until she was twelve, then moved abroad due to her parent’s work to spend her teenage-hood in Indonesia. This transition impacted her to develop a deeper connection to music and to communicate with others regardless of the language barrier. From an early age, Akari has been involved in performing arts through playing the piano, singing, and dancing modern ballet. She has performed mainly as a vocalist in diverse genres including musical theatre, opera, and vocal jazz.
Akari’s breadth of work spans chamber ensemble, multimedia/electronics, vocal music, and interdisciplinary collaborative works involving dancers, visual artists, and architects. Some of her works have been featured in the Composers Conference, Atlantic Music Festival, soundSCAP, and Penn State New Music Festival. She is a recipient of EXCEL Enterprise Fund and Sonic Scenographies Research Grant (University of Michigan). She also has been an artist-in-resident for the Socially Distant Art program.
She holds a M.M. in Composition from the University of Michigan and a B.A. in Vocal Arts from the University of California, Irvine. Her major teachers include Evan Chambers, Roshanne Etezady, Frances Bennett, and Seth Houston.
Growing up in a big city like Tokyo in the information age, a mass of data relentlessly flows into our eyes and ears. As our technology exponentially grows, it seems that everything gets analyzed into precise data and numbers. To me, this phenomenon appears to threaten our human innate ability to perceive things instinctively. The increasing attachment and dependence on such computed information and virtual knowledge seem to pull us away from an inherent human quality, which is direct appreciation and intuitive emotional responses to the physical environment. This quality brings light to undiscovered beauty that has always existed in our daily lives. It could be as simple as hearing a bird chirp and letting it naturally evoke an emotional response. I recognize similar possibilities of experience in the performance space, which embraces this lifelike quality through performers and audience members alike. With my background in voice, dance, and piano, I have always experienced performance spaces to be very intimate because they bring together discrete individuals in a collective experience.
What compels me to compose is the possibility to create performance spaces that cultivate directness in perception. As a composer, I am coming to realize the significance of listening to music and letting it soak in without thinking about its meaning. In fact, such perception requires us to let go of any filter for analysis or interpretation. In moments of such performance, we recognize the power of music to liberate ourselves to experience whatever emotions surge naturally. For performers and audiences alike, I think this impulsive surge of emotion has a transformative power to energize our inspiration and life force. This is the ultimate motivation for me to compose. I am also fascinated by the impermanent character of performance because it connects to the cultural values of my own experience growing up in Japan. As a part of wabi-sabi philosophy, I have come to value imperfection in the fleeting nature of life and objects. As I have reflected on my personal identity as a Japanese woman immersed in Western culture, finding this connection to the impermanent nature of sound, that vanishes after it vibrates in the air, inspires me to keep contributing as an individual artist.