Shiomi Mieko


Shiomi Mieko (born Okayama, 1938) is a Japanese composer and performance artist. She studied music theory and composition with Shibata and Hasegawa and the piano with Koji Taku at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, graduating in musicology in 1961. In 1961, she began to work exclusively as a freelance composer and performer, founding Group Ongaku (Music group), an experimental ensemble focusing on improvisation, taped music, and events, with Kosugi and Mizuno. In 1963, Nam June Paik introduced her to Fluxus, and, with the encouragement of George Maciunas, she went to New York to participate in the movement from 1964 to 1965. Most of her works before 1977 are event pieces such as Direction Music (1964), in which ten participants pull strings attached to a performer’s fingers, or the series of international mail events published as Spatial Poem (1965–75). In later, notated compositions, Shiomi continued to produce intermedia and theatrical works. In If we were a Pentagonal Memory Device (1979), each singer focuses on a single vowel sound, while madrigalian sections and block chords contrast with polyphonic treatment of the timbres of spoken and sung words. During the 1990s, Shiomi developed several of her event pieces into musical works. Artistic collaboration has continued throughout her career, recently involving a computer musician for Billiards on the Grand Piano (1991) and a glass artist for The Twelve Embryos of Music (1995). Shiomi’s perception of natural phenomena informs her preference for free rhythm and loose structure and provides a source of inspiration for such compositions as her series linked with eclipses and fractal theory.

(Source: J. Michele Edwards. “Shiomi, Mieko.” Grove Music Online, Oxford Music Online.)


Spatial Poems by Shiomi Mieko

Mieko Shiomi conducted a series of nine events called Spatial Poems which often took the form of an intimate action poem that anyone could perform.


A talk and performance by Shiomi presented in conjunction with the exhibition MOT Collection Chronicle 1964–: Off Museum at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, on April 29, 2012.

Interview with artist Mieko Shiomi

Shiomi Mieko, artist, composer, and Fluxus member, graciously welcomed C-MAP members into her home in a quiet residential neighborhood in Minoo, Osaka.