DSC_1613Yumiko Matsuoka was born in Tokyo, Japan, and grew up there as well as in London, UK. Starting piano lessons at 4, she was quickly drawn to the magic of chords.

Yumiko came to the US in 1986 to study at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. She founded a cappella ensemble Vox One in 1988 to realize her dream of writing for and singing in such a group. Between 1991 and 2004 Vox One released five albums: Vox One (Melville Park Recordings), Out There (Accurate Records), Say You Love Me (Japanese label VAP), Chameleon, and Pure Imagination (both from PAC Records).  Many of the albums won awards from Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA), including “Artist of the Year” in 1998. Vox One opened for Chicago, Ray Charles and Count Basie Orchestra among others, toured extensively throughout the New England region as well as the North American continent.  Their trips to Japan in 1995, 2004, 2006 and 2012 included TV and radio appearances, sold-out shows in Tokyo, Takayama, Nagoya and Kanazawa, and workshops for enthusiastic fans. Vox One established themselves as one of the pioneers in the world of contemporary a cappella music.

Yumiko’s arrangements are unique – she takes a song and reveals layers of emotions that may not have been apparent in the original. Fans and performers of her music span the globe. One of Yumiko’s earlier works was used for a Toyota car commercial in Japan, and she has penned a few more for major corporations, including Meiji Seika, Japan Energy Corporation, and Sharp. Ensembles that have commissioned Yumiko to write for them include m-pact from LA, the 21st Century Consort of Washington, D.C., Vancouver’s Real Time, Boston Jazz Voices, Houston Chamber Choir, and collegiate/high school ensembles across the country. Some of her arrangements are available through the University of Northern Colorado Jazz Press as well as Edition Kawai in Japan, and are sung by ensembles from U.S. and abroad including Japan, Australia, Belgium, Italy and Turkey.

In 2008 Yumiko released an album of her works written over the past 20 years entitled To Every Thing There Is A Season. Included are vocal and instrumental originals as well as a cappella versions of pop songs, standards, and folk songs from the British Isles that have always been close to her heart.

Yumiko is a professor in ear training at Berklee, and keeps herself busy with commission work and coaching.

Check out Yumiko’s message to aspiring a cappella arrangers.

国際基督教大学卒業後外務省外郭団体に勤務するが、高校時代に魅せられたアカペラの夢を実現させるべく1986年ボストンのバークリー音楽院留学。卒業後同校スタッフを経て、現在聴音(Ear Training)学科教授。1988年、同校学生時代にアカペラアンサンブルVox Oneを結成。4枚のアルバム(うち1枚は95年に日本のバップレーベルから出されたもの)が数多くの賞を勝ち取り、米国アカペラ界で揺るがぬ地位を築いたが97年活動停止。その後2004年に再結成、5枚目のアルバム発表の他4回に渡る日本ツアーを成功裡に終わらせる。2008年にはそれまで20年に渡る作品を集めたアルバムTo Every Thing There Is A Seasonを発表。Vox Oneの中核作編曲者の一人としてその作品の評価は高く、米国や日本のグループから委嘱を受ける他、アカペラワークショップ、選抜高校生アンサンブルの指揮、コンテスト審査など幅広く活動を続けている。近年はトヨタ、明治製菓、JOMOなどのコマーシャルも手がけ、2013年にはカワイ出版よりイギリス民謡のアカペラアレンジを集めた曲集が発売される。