Migiwa Miyajima & The Miggy Augmented Jazz Orchestra
CD Colorful release concert
Date of Performance: Sep 30, 20178
Doors Open: 5:00PM
Ticket Price: $30 with a $10 Minimum on Food or Drinks Per Person
Migiwa Miyajima (Composer, Piano)
Saxophones; Ben Kono, Alejandro Aviles, Quinsin Nachoff, Sam Dillon, Carl Maraghi
Trombones; John Mosca, Jason Jackson, Jennifer Wharton
Trumpets; Dan Urness, David Smith, Matt Holman, Nadje Noordhuis
Rhythm section; Jared Schonig (drums), Pete McCann (Guitar)
The colorful music of Migiwa Miyajima reflects the complexities and hues of her own journey, a trait that instantly touches the heart of the listener. Everyday sounds are brought to life, stirring the senses—from the smallest day-to-day pleasures, to the painful experience of families battling illness, to the breathtaking beauty of nature, to the sweet song of a little bird. Miyajima is passionate about giving back to society through music, and she demonstrates that passion through her active work as a producer, educator, lecturer, and promoter of international exchange. She seeks to leave her mark in each area and draws on her unique career path and accomplishments to captivate and surprise her audiences.
Miyajima is particularly known for her big band jazz pieces, which she began composing in 1999. In 2015, she arranged, produced, and played piano on Fly Free, the debut album by Yukiko Miyazaki (vocalist). In July 2017, Miyajima makes her first appearance at one of New York’s most storied jazz clubs, Birdland—a send-off concert before she begins recording her US debut album, Colorful, at the prestigious Sear Sound studio in Manhattan the following month.
After graduating from the Department of Education at Sophia University in Tokyo, Miyajima produced real estate ads at Recruit, worked as an IT engineer, and was an editor for a travel magazine. But in 2004, at the age of 30, she decided to leave the desk jobs behind and follow her passion, shifting to a career in music. She taught herself, foregoing formal musical college, and turned pro. In 2012, having received a scholarship through a Japanese government program for artists and a Japan-US Friendship Commission fellowship, Miyajima picked up and moved to New York. She now leads big bands on both sides of the Pacific that play her works, and she also composes for artists such as world-renowned saxophonist Steve Wilson.
Miyajima drew the attention of the industry when she became the first Japanese person ever selected to represent the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra (VJO), a Grammy-award-winning band with more than 50 years of history, originally formed as the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra. In 2009, she successfully produced VJO’s fist Japan tour in 20 years, and in 2011 and 2014, she was nominated for a Grammy as the associate producer on two VJO albums. Skilled at collaborating with people working in different artistic disciplines as well, Miyajima is enjoying success in both Tokyo and New York, where she has produced events with painters, dancers, floral artists (ikebana), and others.
Promoter of Education and International Exchange
Since 2010, Miyajima has served as a judge for the “Stellar Jam” big band contest. From 2010 to 2011, she coordinated Douglas Purviance’s talk show and book, Mae ni susumu chikara (Discover 21, co-authored with Toru Atobe). In addition to managing VJO big band workshops every year since 2010, Miyajima has worked vigorously to connect American musicians with Japan. She holds her own workshops and lessons in locations around Japan and is actively carrying out lectures on career education. She has also been invited to speak at government-sponsored events in Ibaraki Prefecture, Kawasaki City in Kanagawa Prefecture, and elsewhere. In 2016, Miyajima carried out educational activities in 13 cities in Japan. In addition, in 2015 she co-founded the New York Japanese Women Jazz Composers (NYJWJC) along with composer Asuka Kakitani and director Naomi Oshiro. The group is comprised of Japanese women composers who are residing in New York, and it organizes and carries out various international music-related exchanges. A concert held by the group in 2016 received support from the NY Consulate General, the NY office of the Japan Travel Bureau, and the Brooklyn Arts Council.