Karen Tanaka (*1961)
Karen Tanaka (b. 1961) is an exceptionally versatile composer and pianist. She was born in Tokyo where she started piano and composition lessons as a child. After studying composition with Akira Miyoshi at Toho Gakuen School of Music in Tokyo, she moved to Paris in 1986 to study composition with Tristan Murail and work at IRCAM as an intern.
In 1987, she was awarded the Gaudeamus Prize at the International Music Week in Amsterdam. She studied with Luciano Berio in Florence in 1990-91 with funds from the Nadia Boulanger Foundation and a Japanese Government Scholarship. In 2005 she was awarded the Bekku Prize.
Tanaka's love of nature and concern for the environment has influenced many of her works, including Frozen Horizon, Water and Stone, Dreamscape, Ocean, Silent Ocean, Tales of Trees, Children of Light and the electronic piece Questions of Nature. Her works have been performed by distinguished ensembles and orchestras worldwide, including the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. Various dance companies, including the Nederlands Dans Theater, have also featured her music.
Karen Tanaka currently lives in Los Angeles, California. (October 2010)