Isao J. Sakata

Instructor in Music
Jon Sakata


B.Mus. California State University - Northridge

M.Mus. New England Conservatory

D.M.A. New England Conservatory

M.Mus. New England Conservatory


"Where else but in private lessons can one learn to practice, to live, to embody how to collaborate with oneself—with one’s multiplicity of voice, capacities, expressive forces, vulnerabilities, memories, imaginings, aspirations, becomings? To study music, then, is to give agency and trajectory, ear and ocean, to this exploring and challenging, sensitizing and wondering, caring and potentializing."


A concert pianist and transdisciplinary artist, Mr. Sakata is active in North America, South America, Europe and Asia. A small sampling of venues and institutions that he has performed and creatively worked at offers a glimpse into the diverse are(n)as that he is engaged with: Radialsystem V (Berlin), Färgfabriken (Stockholm), Exhibition Pavilion-National Museum of Architecture (Oslo), Bagsværd Kirke (Copenhagen), Myyrmäki Kirkko (Vantaa), ILLUMINUS (Boston); the Beijing Central, Shanghai, Wuhan and Xi’an conservatories; Montreal, Porto Alegre, Tallinn, Tsinghua, Harvard, Boston, Tufts and New Mexico universities; The New School (NYC); Carnegie Mellon Center for Arts in Society; Williams College Multicultural Center; International Conference on Interdisciplinary Musicology; 3rd International Conference on Chinese Music; Goethe-Institut Boston, 33rd annual John Donald Robb Composers Symposium, and the Japanese-American Cultural Center-Los Angeles.

Recent collaborative projects/neuro-diverse installations include CLEW: A Rich and Rewarding Disorientation (2017) with musician/designer Jung Mi Lee, painter Deborah Barlow and poet Todd Hearon; Arch-i-pelago (2016) with Lee and John Stephen Ellis of AIA + WIT studio; life SOURCE (2015) with Rob Trumbour; FUDO (2015) with Lee and Ellis; temps s(a/e)ns Netz (2014) with Lee; and n-Gon (2013) with Trumbour and artforming. Recent compositions include the 43 micro-movement INTHOS ANNEX (2015 to 2018); FUDOn (2016), commissioned for the Academy Library’s 45th anniversary; and Crows in Eden (2015) for Hearon’s “broken oratorio” (PEA’s 2016 MLK Day).

Dr. Sakata advises the Exeter student design/events collaborative Democracy of Sound, and DJs WPEA’s longest-running radio show, “Rhizomatrix Sound Trek.” 

From 1997 to 2004, he was a faculty member of both the Piano and Graduate Theoretical Studies departments at the New England Conservatory.