Isao J. Sakata

Instructor in Music
Smiling man in glasses in front of red seats.


M.Mus. New England Conservatory

M.Mus. New England Conservatory

D.M.A. New England Conservatory

B.Mus. California State University - Northridge


"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), Westwood Gallery (NYC); 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; 4th International Conference On Analytical Approaches to World Music; Goethe-Institut Boston, 33rd annual John Donald Robb Composers Symposium, Thingly Affinities Symposium, and the Japanese-American Cultural Center-Los Angeles.

Recent collaborative projects/neuro-diverse installations include (dis)array (2021) with musician/designer Jung Mi Lee, 1550 (2021) with PEA students and colleagues, ex(i/ha)le  (2020) with poet Willie Perdomo,  CLEW: A Rich and Rewarding Disorientation (2017) with Lee, painter Deborah Barlow and poet Todd HearonArch-i-pelago (2016) with Lee and John Stephen Ellis of AIA + WIT studio; life SOURCE (2015) with Rob Trumbour AIA; 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 and soundworks include Drawn to the Light (2021) [for transdisciplinary artist Nobuho Nagasawa’s exhibition at the Westwood Gallery (Bowery-NYC)], elegies-axon-asterismal (2019-2020) based on the poetry of Willie Perdomo, the 43 micro-movement -INTHOS ANNEX (2015-2018) based on the poetry of Oni Buchanan; FUDOn (2016), commissioned for the Class of 1945 Library’s 45th anniversary; and Crows in Eden (2015) for Hearon’s “broken oratorio” (PEA’s 2016 MLK Day).

Mr. Sakata advises the Exeter student design/events collaborative Democracy of Sound.

From 1997 to 2004, he was a faculty member of both the Piano and Graduate Theoretical Studies departments at the New England Conservatory; where he also received his D.M.A. and double M.Mus in both piano and harpsichord performance.