Described by the Los Angeles Times as “intense, dramatic, masterfully colored, and uncompromising,” Naomi Sekiya continues to explore her works with resonant soundscapes, bold instrumental effects, and eloquent structures. In June 2000, Sir Simon Rattle conducted her Deluge for piano and orchestra with the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group at the Ojai Music Festival. In September 2001, the Warsaw Philharmonic performed Sinfonia delle Ombre at Warsaw Autumn. In September 2002, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the USC Thornton School of Music performed Sekiya’s Lamento e danza from her Sinfonia delle Ombre for its national, five-day workshop, “Synergy,” which was directed by Esa-Pekka Salonen and co-sponsored by the American Symphony Orchestra League and American Music Center. Shortly afterwards, Kent Nagano appointed her as Berkeley Symphony’s first Composer-In-Residence for its 2003 to 2004 season.
Under the artistic direction of Kent Nagano, Sekiya was the chief composer for the production of Manzanar: An American Story to commemorate the Japanese-American internment camp experience in World War II. Here, she collaborated with playwright Philip Kan Gotanda, composer Jean-Pascal Beintus, and jazz pianist David Benoit to create this 55-minute dramatic work which featured a full orchestra, soprano solo, children’s chorus, jazz trio, actors, and narrators. Senator Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii and Olympic ice-skating gold-medalist Kristi Yamaguchi were among those who narrated for the Los Angeles production in June 2005.
The Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra della Toscana, Orchestre de Bretagne, and the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, among others, have brought Naomi Sekiya’s orchestral works to an international audience.
This year, Sekiya became a recipient of the John Beck Composition Award. Her Night Wind (2011) will be premiered by Musica Nova, conducted by Brad Lubman during the music festival Percussion Rochester at the Eastman School of Music in May.
A particular musical interest of Sekiya is her deep connection with the guitar, an instrument for which she has written both solo and ensemble pieces. Her Tobila –at the gate-, premiered by the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet, was released by the Albany Records. Arachnid Dance for guitar and string quartet, performed by guitarist Frederic Zigante and Quartetto D’Archi di Torino, was broadcast multiple times on Italian television station, RAI, throughout Europe and the Middle East. Duo Astor (featuring Gaëlle Chiche and Francisco Bernier from Spain) and the Berkeley Symphony’s performance of her Concerto for two guitars and orchestra was broadcast on SPARK, a subdivision of KQED/PBS in the greater San Francisco area, in 2004. Other guitarists and ensembles that have performed her guitar works include Shinichi Fukuda, Michael Kurdirka, and Belgium’s Trio Cadenza Guitares. Her guitar music is published by Berben s.r.l.-Edizioni musicali in Italy.
Naomi Sekiya holds BA and MA from the University of California at Los Angeles, and MM and DMA from the University of Southern California. Her principal teachers at these institutions were Ian Krouse, Donald Crockett, and James Hopkins.