And yes, it’s a masterwork. This isn’t just Japanese new-age hindsight fetishism at play here. Takada’s brilliant suite for marimbas and synthesizer brings Asian timbres and African polyrhythms in perfect contact with the minimalist language of composers like Steve Reich, Terry Riley, and Brian Eno. The fact that this record never made it out of Japan was a cultural crime that needed to be rectified.
Described by Time Out New York as “Brooklyn’s post-millennial Mozart” and The New Times as “one of the more consistently inventive, surprising composers now working in New York,” Missy Mazzoli has obviously earned an indisputable place on this list. She’s been creating innovative, daring, and also stunningly gorgeous music for almost 30 years. A composer and pianist, Mazzoli not only writes ground-breaking operas, orchestral works, and chamber music, but is the founder and keyboardist for the all-female band Victoire. Selflessly spreading her knowledge and original musical insight, Mazzoli is now a member of the Composition faculty at Mannes School of Music at The New School.