6. Media/メディア


On ‘Deep’ for large ensemble and live electronics

“Die japanische Komponistin Shiori Usui lädt anschliessend zu einem Tauchgang in die Tiefsee ein. Von allen Seiten erklingen in «Deep» Laute, die von Wesen aus einer uns unbekannten Welt stammen könnten. Von dem Grummeln der Kontrabassklarinette bis zu den weichen Melodien der Altflöte ist das, was die Phantasie am meisten anregt, die anwesende Komponistin. Sie kreiert mit ihrer Stimme und beeindruckender Technik eine Lautmalerei, die weit weg aus dem Konzertsaal in die Tiefen der Ozeane führt. Nicht nur bei diesem Stück zeigt der Dirigent Peter Rundel sein ausgeprägtes Gespür für eine sprechende Interpretation neuer Musik: Er behält selbst an zerfahrenen Stellen den Überblick und führt alle Beteiligten engagiert zu einem gemeinsamen Klang zusammen. Dies kommt nicht zuletzt Leoš Janáčeks Concertino für Klavier und Ensemble mit dem Pianisten Gilles Grimaître zugute.”

Jakob Steiner, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 4 March 2018


On ‘Ophiocordyceps unilateralis s.l.’ for large ensemble

“The most successful of the new pieces premiered today came from Shiori Usui. She explained on stage how Ophiocordyceps unilateralis s.l. was inspired by an infectious fungus that takes hold in ants ultimately causing them to die . It may be the first time that the Proms has hosted music devised from such specific and obscure origins but a brief glance at Usui’s background and interests gives a more understandable context (she has previously written music inspired by the physiology of the human body and natural world phenomena).The five short structurally complex movements project unusual energies and strange sonorities, featuring abrasive brass, sliding glissandos and ringing percussion. As a musical depiction it makes sense. The obscure origins of the piece may be unlikely to recruit new followers to contemporary classical music but the piece has a pleasing mystery and inscrutability to it – two characteristics that are important to understanding why this genre of music can still be an exciting prospect in the concert hall.”

Steven Johnson, Music OMH, 27 July 2015


“Japanese-born and Edinburgh-based, Shiori Usui is presently Composerin-Residence with Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. The first hearing of Ophiocordyceps unilateralis s.l. (2015) duly confirmed an acute sense of instrumental nuance and a feeling for how individual gestures might cohere into larger formations.”

Richard Whitehouse, Classical Source.com, 25 July 2015


“Shiori Usui’s Ophiocordyceps unilateralis takes its title from a parasitic fungus, and the five short movements follow different stages in its life history and that of its unfortunate ant host; they are neatly worked and colourfully scored….”

Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 27 July 2015


On ‘Warai’ for orchestra



“On the contrary, Shiori Usui’s ‘Laughter’ is something unprecedented that you cannot really imagine what will happen next as the piece develops. Wind instruments produce various onomatopoeic sounds through instruments, clarinets play their motifs as if screaming their heads off, string players performs layers of laughter, and many more new sonic experiences follow one after another. It is as if listening to free improvisation but those were exactly written on the score. I was mesmerized by the power of the composer who can really imagine the new sonority in music.”

Miyuki Shiraishi, 27 May 2012, On Stage Music Paper (Translated by Shiori Usui)


On ‘In Digestion’ for string orchestra


“This is, more or less, the conceit of “In Digestion,’’ a new piece by Japanese-born composer Shiori Usui which was premiered by the string orchestra A Far Cry on Thursday. Fascinated by the body’s interaction with food, Usui translated the sounds of grinding teeth and the workings of the stomach into an array of unusual string techniques — bowing on the bridges, snaps against the fingerboard, tapping the instruments with what appeared to be pencils. She even derived musical motives from a spectral analysis of the sound of an apple being bitten. The description risks making the piece sound like a gimmick. In truth, “In Digestion’’ succeeds perfectly well without its program. It’s full of vibrant, unusual colors and short, fast-changing motifs. All of this is managed with impressive clarity in the string writing.”

David Weininger, Boston Globe, 4 April 2011


On ‘Untitled No.1’ for chamber ensemble


“the genuine new music experience…”

The Herald, 29 October 2008


On ‘Liya-pyuwa’ for piano quintet


“individual ear…”

The Times, 11 December 2006



A featured article on “Deep” for chamber ensemble on Classical Music Magazine (May 2014).



BBC Radio 3 “BBC Proms” (UK)

New piece “Ophiocordyceps unilateralis s.l.” (2015)

BBC Radio 4 “Woman’s Hour” (UK)

On new BBC Proms piece and other pieces (2015)

NHK FM (Japan)

“Ophiocordyceps unilateralis s.l.” (2015)

NHK FM (Japan)

“Warai” for symphony orchestra (2012)

Hear and Now programme BBC Radio 3 (UK)
“Untitled No.1” for piano, clarinet and djeme (2009)

Deutschlandfunk (Germany)

“Inhaling/exhaling” for brass quintet and piano (2007)

Hear and Now programme BBC Radio 3 (UK)

“Liya-pyuwa” for piano and string quartet (2007)




CD Encounters ‘On the threshold of Genjitsu’

Encounters Production Team (2009)

Fool Me ‘Inhaling/exhaling’

New Media Scotland (2009)
Edited by Lucy Keany, Audio engineering by Sean Williams