Spinnfaden 2 - © Erik-Jan Ouwerkerk
„I am my music.“  M.K.

The way to Europe

Grown up in Kobe, Mayako Kubo graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in piano from the Osaka College of Music. She went to Vienna, Austria, in 1972 to study composition with Roman Haubenstock-Ramati, Erich Urbanner and Friedrich Cerha as well as music history and philosophy. She completed her composition studies at the University of Arts in Vienna with a Master of Arts degree. In 1980, she continued her studies with Helmut Lachenmann in Hannover and Stuttgart. Her son Florian was born in 1982. Three years later, Kubo settled in Berlin and studied musical sciences with Carl Dahlhaus. She is founding member of the society for contemporary music „ZeitMusik“. Between 1990 and 1994 she worked in Marino, a small city close to Rome, Italy. Since then she has been back in Berlin.

Kubo’s style of composition is based on her classical piano education, the studies at the Institute for Electroacoustic and Experimental Music in Vienna as well as her interaction with other scenic arts such as dance, theater and performance. During the 1990s she moved more towards music theater and developed a very specific, free and expressive sound world for it. „Thirds and street car noises – both are always present.“

You can download this CV: here


Audio example „Berliner Luft“

interpreted by Yoriko Ikeya | From the Berlinisches Tagebuch
1999 | CD: CTH 2244

The first operas
The world premiere of her opera Rashomon 1996 in Graz, Austria, a work commissioned by the opera house and the Steirischer Herbst Festival, was one of the highlights of her career so far. „Kubo spans the arch with great ease between both main sources of her material: Japanese literature and European music tradition“, wrote Frank Hilberg, the editor and music critic for WDR-West German Radio, after the premiere. The premiere performance of Rashomon in Japanese in Tokyo, 2002, was highly praised by the critics and the public. Mayako Kubo’s second opera Osan – Secret of Love, followed in 2005. As a commissioned work by the New National Theatre Tokyo, the world premiere was very successfully received.
Audio example „Rashomon, act 2. Akt, scene 3

performed by Grazer Philharmonisches Orchester, conducted by Stefan Lano | world premiere 1996 | CD ARIADNE AD 998001

East-Western Divan
In 2008, she co-founded YACOB, the Young Asian Chamber Orchestra Berlin. The 25 members come from Japan, Korea, China and Taiwan, but all have close ties with European music.
To be continued
Her third opera, Der Spinnfaden (The Spinning Thread), has been premiered in Berlin in 2010. Currently, she is working on Izanagi, her fourth opera, which will be premiered in the 2012/13 season. The libretto is being written in cooperation with the author Stefan Schomann. Another big opera work, this time about the case of John Rabe and the Massacre of Nanking, is already in preparation. Mayako Kubo was a Fellow of the Japan Foundation (1999), Scholarship recipient of the Bundesmusikakademie Rheinsberg (2000/01), Fellow of the Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg (2002), of the Yaddo Foundation (2004 - 2007) and of the Bogliasco Foundation (2006).
She lectures regularly on contemporary music and composition at music conservatories and cultural institutes in Japan, Germany and Austria such as in Kyoto, Toyko, Vienna, Graz, Berlin, Cologne and Hamburg. Her compositions are played at the most important international music festivals such as Donaueschinger Musiktage or Wien Modern and interpreted by famous conductors such as Eberhard Blum, Sylvain Cambreling, Peter Eoetvoes, Beat Furrer, Herbert Henck, Konrad Junghaenel, Bernd Kontalsky, Stefan Lano, Lin Hwai-min and Martin Mumelter. Ensemble Intégrales, Ensemble Modern, Asian Art Ensemble, Grazer Philharmonic Orchestra, Hagen-Quartett, Klangforum Wien, Kyoto Symphony Orchestra, Schola Cantorum Stuttgart, Sueddeutsches Radiosymphonie-Orchester Stuttgart, Suedwestfunk Orchester, Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra and others present her works.

Kubo’s Œuvre comprises about 130 works. It is published by Ariadne Musikverlag, by Breitkopf & Haertel and by Verlag Neue Musik.


Talking about „Yasuko“

Author: Silke Manteuffel | Production: MDR

Video "Notenbilder"
Author: Betina Kuntzsch / Gedok, 2010

Audio example „Concertino delle porta di Brandeburgo“

interpreted by YACOB - Young Asian Chamber Orchestra Berlin