Born in Chitose, Japan, Sato Matsui is a Paris-based composer whose compositional style draws influence from traditional Japanese sonorities as well as her training as a classical violinist. She is the Founder and Artistic Director of IMAGO, a chamber music ensemble in Paris that specializes in both traditional repertoire and original creations with a strongly visual and cross-disciplinary approach. Matsui holds her Masters and Doctorate degrees from the Juilliard School, where she studied composition with Robert Beaser.
Her upcoming projects include a commission for a flute concerto for Carol Wincenc, which will be the feature of the Galla Concert for the American National Flute Association Convention in Phoenix in August of 2023. In 2022, Matsui received a commission from bassoonist Cornelia Sommer for her bassoon, oboe, and piano trio Hanasaka Jiisan, which was showcased at the International Double Reed Conference in Denver, Colorado. Her large ensemble piece Kinokonoko (Mushroom Child), which was commissioned by Joel Sachs for the New Juilliard Ensemble, received its Lincoln Center premiere at Alice Tully Hall in spring of 2019.
Matsui believes that Art plays a fundamental role in building social empathy and cultural bridges across different communities. In 2018, she collaborated with the Uhuru String Quartet on Free and So Thankful, a piece born out of a compositional workshop conducted at a Women in Need (WIN) shelter in Manhattan. Free and So Thankful has since been performed in numerous international halls as a benefit series for battered and homeless women’s shelters.
A lover of interdisciplinary collaborations, Matsui has worked extensively with dancers and choreographers as well as other artists. In February of 2022, she collaborated with the award winning Lebanese makeup artist Michel El Ghoul and French dancers-choreographers Gildas Lemonier and Quentin Lelong to produce a glow-in-the-dark dance piece called Trois apparitions de la nuit for her Ensemble IMAGO. In 2020, she was invited by the New York City Ballet to take part in the New York Choreographic Institute, where she collaborated with choreographer Jonathan Faulry to write a dance piece for the American School of Ballet. In 2017 was named the Resident Composer for the Creative Movement and Gestures Program at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Alberta, Canada. She has also collaborated independently with modern dancer Sean Lammer, hip-hop dancer Ofilio Sinbadinho, and movement artist Rachel Pospisil, to name a few.
In 2017, Matsui worked with librettist Sarah LaBrie and director Mikhaela Mahony to create and produce Hoshi, an opera that follows a young woman’s conflicting search for reconciliation with her estranged father. Her original scoring of Shakespeare’s play As You Like It was produced and directed by Ian Belknap in May of 2019 at the McClelland Drama Theater in Lincoln Center.
In 2019, Matsui received a Fulbright Scholarship from the Franco American Commission and moved to Paris in order to research the manuscripts of Erik Satie for her doctoral dissertation at the Juilliard School.
Matsui is the winner of the 2019 Charles Ives Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She earned her BA from Williams College, where she studied composition with Ileana Perez-Velazquez, violin with Joana Genova-Rudiakov, and conducting with Ronald Feldman. At Juilliard, she continued studying conducting with Jeffrey Milarsky. Matsui is the recipient of the Milton & Silvia Babbitt Scholarship and the King Doctoral Scholarship.