Masatora's narrative writing might be due to his unique and non-traditional musical journey. From an interview with American Composer's Forum, "I was 27 when I attended music school in Japan as a vocal major in contemporary music,” recalls Masatora. “I then came to the US at 29 to study musical theater, and gradually moved into writing as the years went by. So I really never had a systematic training to be a "classical" composer.”
Masatora received a BA in Integrated Human Studies from Kyoto University and also studied music at Koyo Conservatory. Since relocating to the United States, he earned a Master of Music from New Jersey City University and studied in the BMI-Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, and is completing a DMA in Composition at Five Towns College.
Masatora unique musical roots put him in a position of being often asked to write works using traditional Japanese instruments and techniques, however starting his musical career in his late 20's puts him in an interesting situation.
“I need to study those instruments and repertoire from scratch. In a strange way, Japanese traditional music is as foreign as Western classical music or hip-hop to me. In Japan, I wasn’t paying much attention to my ethnicity because I never grew up with what Americans see as the authentic Japanese culture like Noh, Zen, Kabuki and things like that. Japanese society no longer embraces it so you don't experience it if you live in a modern city. But as I present new music people are hearing something not American or European in my music and finding it attractive.” (American Composers Forum)
The recording for this release is still in progress, but you can listen to an excerpt from "Sound of Life," the result of his 2012 JFund Award below. Keep checking back for more updates on what will be an important project.