Yamamoto - 2018 Headshot.jpg

Nicholas // Niko Yamamoto (b. 1995) is a composer of acoustic and electroacoustic music. His music is concerned with the abstraction and juxtaposition of gesture to augment perceived image, subject, and environment. References to aesthetic and philosophic folk traditions of Japan in Niko’s work aims to construct Japanese-American identities of the post-internment period. 

In response to people, space, and time, Niko’s work engages and experiments with the present moment. Recent compositions explore functional aspects of feedback to guide development and deterioration. Composed for the installation of Josiah McElheny’s Island Universe at Moody Center for the Arts, dis.integrations for saxophone is the first of a series of work that explores this feedback visually and aurally among observer, performer, and performance space. a meditation on turrell (for westley banks), a work written specifically for installation at the James Turrell Skyspace at Rice University, uses the structure’s embedded audio and lighting systems to create dialogue between the structure and its surrounding environment.

Niko is a graduate of Rice University (M.Mus Composition) and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (B.Mus Composition & Theory). Distinctions include the Emerging Composer Fellowship from Musqia (Houston, TX) as well as the Delores Dlesk Scholarship (2017) and Theodore Presser Undergraduate Scholar Award (2016) from the University of Illinois. In Fall 2019, he will begin a Ph.D. in Music Composition & Theory at Brandeis University.


with Ecce, Sanghoon Kim (ajaeng), Moody Center for the Arts, and James Turrell’s Twilight Epiphany Skyspace. Workshops with Arditti Quartet (2019), Nunc (with Miranda Cuckson) (2018). He has been a member of the Rice University Electro-Acoustic Music Labs (REMLabs) and the Experimental Music Studios (EMS) at the University of Illinois.

Composition studies with Erin Gee and Kurt Stallmann. Orchestration with Pierre Jalbert and Reynold Tharp. Masterclasses with Hans Tutschku and Melinda Wagner. Electroacoustic music with Kurt Stallmann and Scott A. Wyatt.

Teaching is an important component to Niko’s musical practice. He leads experiential music classes based on Dalcroze/Eurhythmics philosophy to discuss experiences of sound in space and time. The classroom environment engages with play to experiment with sound practices (in observation and creation).


Rice University
M.Mus in Composition, May 2019
Brown Foundation Fellow, Michael P. Hammond Preparatory Program
Member of the Rice Electroacoustic Music Labs (REMLabs)

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
B.Mus in Composition-Theory, May 2017
Applied studies in Electroacoustic Music, Bassoon Performance, Wind Band Conducting, and Music Education.
Former Director of Musicals & Drama of the Illini Union Board.
Member of the Experimental Music Studios (EMS) & School of Music Student Advisory Board.


Florida State University Biennial Festival for New Music 2019
Performance of Fixed Objects on a Moving Plane (2017) for quadraphonic fixed media.

Etchings Festival 2018
Composition Fellow
Workshop/premiere of transduction studies (2018)
Teaching Faculty: Philippe Hurel, Erin Gee, Martin Brody, John Aylward. With East Coast Contemporary Ensemble.


Emerging Composer Fellowship (2018)
Musiqa (Houston, TX)

Delores Dlesk Scholarship (2017)
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Finalist, ASCAP Young Composer’s Award (2017)
on view of clouds (2016)

Theodore Presser Award (2016)
School of Music, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Division Achievement Award for Composition/Theory (2014)
School of Music, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Upcoming Engagements