Makiko Nishikaze studied composition, first in Japan and then at Mills College, California, with Alvin Curran. She completed her studies at the Hochschule der Künste Berlin as a Meisterschülerin of Walter Zimmermann.

Grants, residencies and prizes (a selection):
Akademie Schloss Solitude (1999-2000), Künstlerhof Schreyahn (2001-02), Villa Aurora, Los Angeles (2003), Grant for Women Artists, Department for Cultural Affairs, Berlin (2004), Künstlerhäuser Worpswede (2006), Advancement Award, Akademie der Künste, Berlin (2007), Grant for Composition, Department for Cultural Affairs, Berlin (2010), Deutsches Studienzentrum, Venice (2011), Künstlerhaus Schloss Wiepersdorf (2013), Cultural Fund of the Capital, Berlin (2013), Casa Baldi Olevano Romano, Deutsche Akademie Rom (2014), AIR Krems, Austria (2014), NES, Iceland (2014), Grant for Work and Research, Department for Cultural Affairs, Berlin (2015), artbellwald, Switzerland (2016), Composer in Reisidence IGNM Wallis, Switzerland (2018), Artist in Community KulttuuriKauppila, Finland (2019), Felloship in Paris, funded by Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe (2019), Serlachius Residency, Finland (2021), Guest Artist-WackerKunst (2021), Work stipends for new music and sound art, Department of Culture, Berlin (2021), Felloship "Berlin Global", by Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe (2022)

Concert venues (a selection):
Chamber Music Festival Kanagawa, Japan (1997), The art of composition towards the 21st Century, Jerusalem (1998), Musica Silenciosa, Rio de Janeiro (1998), PianoPianoForteForte Festival, Berlin (1999), Brno International Music Festival, Czech Republic (1999), Eclat Festival of New Music (2000), Festival De Klankfabriek, Widooie, Belgium (2002), MaerzMusik, Festival für Aktuelle Musik, Berlin (2003, 2006, 2014),
New Music Marathon, Northwestern University, Chicago (2006), Festival Klangwerkstatt, Berlin (1995, 2006, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2018), Donaueschinger Musiktage (2007), Music We’d Like to Hear, London (2007, 2009, 2011, 2017), Music theater for children, Concert Hall Shizuoka, Japan (2009), Switzerland (2013, 2017), Ulrichsberger Kaleidophon, Austria (2013), Ostrava Days, Czech Republic (2015), 70th anniversary of the death of Anton Webern, Mittersill, Austria (2015), Music From Japan, New York (2018), BAM! Festival for actual Music Theater, Berlin (2018)

Makiko Nishikaze has for some time been concerned with music in its relationship to space. Here, the performance space itself is used as an instrument to unite visual and acoustic impressions in a single whole. Apart from traditional musical instruments she often integrates sounds using everyday objects and materials.

Her work is also focused on keyboard instruments. She has composed many pieces for piano, clavichord and harpsichord which she performs herself. There is no attempt to present new performance techniques, but rather to develop a different attitude towards sound itself. Using a conventional technique, she attempts to create many varied layers of timbre. Her compositions are not directed at some eccentric or stunning result but are rather intended as a guide towards a higher level of the ability to listen.

Living Piano Room (2020) sound installation and performance, at Atelier Siegele in Darmstadt

Her video works, as visual compositions, and electroacoustic compositions have been presented at (selection):
Festival Forum Wallis, Switzerland (2018): sound installation
KultuuriKauppila, Finland (2019): video and sound presentation
Bauhaus-Universtät Weimar (2019): sound presentation with performance
Museum Reutlingen (2019): sound installation
Festival “Den Bogen Spannen”, Darmstadt (2019): video installation
Ausland, Berlin (2019): video presentation
GEDOK Stuttgart (2020): video and sound presentation
Internationaler Waldkunstpfad, Darmstadt (2020): video and sound installation
ARThaus Altheim (2021): video installation
Serlachius Residency Gallery, Finland (2021): video installation
Tage der Industriekultur Rhein-Main (2021): sound installation
Wacker Kunst (2021): video installation
SWITCH 2021, Ireland: video installation
Kunsthalle Darmstadt (2021): video installation
Pikisaari Biennale, Finland (2022): video and sound installation

Some video works on Vimeo

She is also aktive as a performer. The selected Performances: Börstingen hören (2016)
westwind with Peter Ablinger (2016), Ellipse with Nikolaus Heyduck (2017), makokon with Christine Düwel, drawing and installation (2017), Lehre mich Schwäbisch (2017), makokon in Darmstadt (2017), Winsen hören (2018) spatial sound performance in Dreieich (2018) Panik Raum (2018), Augen Ohren Hören (2019), forest music in Darmstadt (2020)


Performance "Bridge is our Music Theater" (2022) in Oulu, Finland
Photo: Timo Mattila

CD recordings:
clavichords harpsichords: elecrtoacoustic composition, COV92114 (2021)
“melodia-guitar” melodia: Guitar, Gaku Yamada, ALCD-123 (2020)
“st-mt” stabat mater dolorosa: ensemble socell 21, Makro-CD 1017 (2011)
walking, north, north: Ensemble L'art pour L'art, ArtistCD ARTS81182 (2009)
“trioaurora” Berlin meets Los Angeles: trio e-vent, ArtistCD ARTS81142 (2006)
pianopera I, II,: Piano, John McAlpine, EWR 0405 (2005)
aqua.piano.aerial: Piano, Makiko Nishikaze, EWR 0301 (2001)
“Sextet-Haiku-” haiku: Modern Art Sextet, edel 0085132 ACA (1996)


As a teacher, she gives seminars and workshops about experimental music for music students, school teachers, amateur musicians and children:
She was a lecturer at the Universität der Künste Berlin and from 2007 to 2009 taught composition at Wakayama University, Japan, as part of their education programme.
She was guest composer at Mills College, California in 2013 and 2014 and was a
guest composer-and-pianist at the Wiener Tagen der Zeitgenössischen Klaviermusik
(Contemporary-Piano Days, Vienna). 
Since 2020, she has been teaching at the Bauhaus-University Weimar, Faculty of Media.

short CV in Japanese