Akemi Naito is a composer based in New York City. Born in Tokyo, she studied composition at the University Division of the Toho Gakuen School of Music and was a member of the school’s faculty from 1980 to 1991. Following her earlier activity as a composer in Tokyo, she received a grant from the Asian Cultural Council that enabled her to move to New York City in 1991.

Naito’s works have been featured in music festivals around the world, including The Second Aoyama Jikken Kobo (Experimental Workshop) at the Tessenkai Noh Theater in Tokyo; Clásicos en Verano in Madrid; Fribourg International Festival of Sacred Music; Music Festival Valendas in Switzerland; Mersin International Music Festival in Turkey; International Bayan Festival in Moscow; International Congress of Percussion in Poland; a number of times at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC); Gaudeamus Music Festival in Amsterdam; Melbourne Festival; Musica Scienza Roma; Ultima Oslo Contemporary Music Festival; Japan Society Spring Festival and Music from Japan Festival in New York City; Foro Internacional de Música Nueva in Mexico; and Music Today International Festival in Tokyo. Her marimba piece, Memory of the Woods, which was written for William Moersch in 2000, has received numerous performances both in the United States and internationally.

Naito is a recipient of awards and grants from organizations including the Composer Assistance Program of the American Music Center (currently called New Music USA); the Recording Program of the Aaron Copland Fund for Music for her album in conjunction with Cygnus Ensemble; the Bellagio residency from the Rockefeller Foundation; Chamber Music America; the New York Foundation for the Arts; ASCAP Standard Awards; Meet the Composer Fund; the first Aaron Copland Award from the Copland House residence; and resident fellowships from Yaddo, MacDowell Colony, and Millay Colony for the Arts.

Her recent work, Emily Brontë – Through Life and Death, A Chainless Soul, a poetic mono-opera based on selected poems by Emily Brontë, was premiered at the Tenri Gallery of Tenri Cultural Institute in New York City in January 2018. Opera Wire acclaimed the production, describing it as “A Fitting Celebration of Brontë’s Genius” and “a wonderful example of the beauty that can be found when words mingle with music, each giving the other new life and meaning.”

Her album Mindscape was released by Bridge Records in 2006 and Strings & Time was released by CRI in 1997. In addition, her compositions can be heard on Toshiba EMI, ALM, URTEXT, New Focus Recordings, and Camerata Tokyo. Her works have been published by HoneyRock in the United States, AUGEMUS in Germany, and SONIC ARTS in Japan.


Within my Soul

Release Date: October 25, 2019
Catalog Number: RR8022
21st Century
Vocal Music
On WITHIN MY SOUL, New York-based composer Akemi Naito’s debut release on Ravello Records, the composer’s intent was to create a collection of musical works inspired by words. The poetry and prose that inspired the album’s three pieces were crafted by a trio of writers who transcend the boundaries of time and place: 19th-century British poet and novelist Emily Brontë; 20th-century Japanese novelist Kobo Abe; and Japanese monk-poet Saigyo (1118 – 1190).