AANMI CORE TEAM
Chad Cannon (Executive Director, Founder)
Composer Chad Cannon has traveled the world drawing inspiration from cultures, history, and human stories to create moving scores for documentaries, animation and live performances. His debut soundtrack for the documentary Paper Lanterns received an IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Awards) nomination for Best Original Score for a Documentary, and was lauded as “haunting, mystical” by The Japan Times; while his soundtrack for Cairo Declaration, co-composed with Xiaogang Ye, received China’s highest film prize, the Golden Rooster Award for Best Music. Chad most recently scored Netflix’s documentary, American Factory, which garnered him a Cinema Eye Honors nomination for Outstanding Score and is the first release by Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company, Higher Ground. His other recent works include a symphonic Americana score for PBS’ documentary CyberWork and the American Dream, as well as scoring Chris Meledandri and Illumination Studios’ animated short, The Dog Days of Winter.
Beyond composing, Chad has arranged and orchestrated for several of the world’s most beloved film composers. As chief arranger for Studio Ghibli composer Joe Hisaishi, Chad has created large symphonic suites for Kiki’s Delivery Service, Castle in the Sky, and Spirited Away, that have been performed throughout Japan and East Asia. He also created the arrangements for Joe Hisaishi Symphonic Concert: Music from the Studio Ghibli Films of Hayao Miyazaki, which has been performed on four continents to continually sold-out audiences, including Carnegie Hall. Chad’s arrangements also comprise more than half the score to Hisaishi’s August 2019 animation release, Ni no Kuni (Warner Bros. Japan). In Hollywood, Chad has worked under Conrad Pope on scores by Oscar-winning composers Alexandre Desplat (Secret Life of Pets, Godzilla) and Howard Shore (The Hobbit trilogy). He isa also credited under Tim Williams and Tyler Bates on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and the 2019 summer blockbuster, Fast & The Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw.
Furthermore, Chad is recognized worldwide for his concert works that frequently explore human emotion through the lens of cultural history, and often include visual or literary elements. His debut symphonic album, The Dreams of a Sleeping World: Music Inspired by the Paintings of Oscar Oiwa, was recorded by the Hollywood Studio Symphony and featured alongside Oiwa’s work in the 21st Century Museum of Art in Kanazawa, Japan, one of the country’s premier art museums. Recent commissions and collaborations include: Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA, The Barlow Endowment for Composition, Hub New Music, Julia Bullock & Davóne Tines, Farallon Quintet, The Bridge Piano Quartet, Kyoshin-An Arts, Nuo Spiritual Dance & Art Foundation, Hollywood Chamber Orchestra, Qingdao Symphony Orchestra, Beijing Modern Music Festival, Thailand International Composition Festival, and Chamber Music Connects the World (Kronberg Academy). In September 2019, conductor Kahchun Wong and the Nuremberg Symphony premiered Chad’s newest concert work, Himmelserscheinungen (Sky Visions), inspired by photographs of Antarctica by Christopher Michel. In 2018, Chad’s composition for Julia Bullock’s performance of “A Dream Deferred: Langston Hughes In Song” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City was praised by The New York Times as “subtle, agile," and with “vividness of emotion.”
Fluent in Japanese, Chad is the founder of the Asia/America New Music Institute (AANMI), which promotes cultural diplomacy through contemporary concert music. With AANMI, Chad has produced chamber music concerts throughout Japan (including Okinawa), Korea, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, and the United States, featuring some of the world’s most impressive young classical talent, such as Ryu Goto, Matthew Aucoin, Davóne Tines, and Kojiro Umezaki. In 2020, AANMI will embark on a 5-city cultural diplomacy tour sponsored by the US Embassy in Tokyo.
Chad is a cum laude graduate of Harvard University, where he studied music and Japanese, and alumnus of Juilliard, where he studied composition. He is also an alumnus of the Sundance Composer Labs - Documentary (2016). He currently lives in Los Angeles.
Sun Young Sunny Park (Korea Director, Treasurer, Co-Founder)
Born in South Korea, Sun-Young “Sunny” Park (b.1988) started violin at age six and began her composition studies at seventeen. Since then, her works have been performed internationally and in some of the world’s top concert halls. Most recently, she won the 44th Pan Music Festival International Competition with Pierrot for Violin and Piano. It was the piece she was commissioned to write for violin and piano by a Munich violinist Mariella Haubs, which was originally premiered in Gasteig, Munich Germany. As the winner of the prestigious New Juilliard Ensemble (NJE) competition, Sun-Young was commissioned to write Legend, a chamber ensemble work that premiered at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. The New York edition of The Korea Times applauded her experiment of combining Western music with Eastern sound, with a particularly Korean sound. One of her most recent performance of the piano trio, HEEM, performed by Allant Trio in New York gained a big success: the trio and the piece, HEEM, was invited to have a performance in Carnegie Weill Recital Hall. Sun-Young’s music has been performed in concert halls including Gasteig Hall of Germany, Alice Tully Hall, the Juilliard School of NY, Suntory Hall Izumi Hall of Japan, Korean Cultural Center of NY, Central Conservatory of China, Opera House of Vietnam and the Keum-Ho Art Center, An-Yang City Hall, Seoul Art Center, of Korea.
The daughter of celebrated Korean composer Jung-sun Park, Sun-Young’s choral and vocal music career began early. Most recently, her choral work Arirang Jazz version and Jat Sound (잣 떨어져요) were published by Jubilate Music Alliance in March 2018. Her most popularly performed work is Alpha and Omega, which was published in Joong-Ang Church Choral Series book by JoongAng Art; and I will dwell in his house (Psalm 23), forever written for the SATB a-capella choir was also published by Ki-Um publishing company.
SunYoung is a co-founder/ South Korea Director of the group AANMI since 2013. With AANMI she has had pieces performed in Japan, Vietnam, South Korea, China, Thailand, Okinawa, Utah, California, New York, and Massachusetts. As a 2019 Grand Valley State University’s composer-in-residence, she spent 6 years at The Juilliard School, where she received her Master of Music (MM) under Christopher Rouse and her Bachelor of Music (BM) under Samuel Adler. She recently finished her Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) degree at Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University under Kevin Puts, working now as a full-time composer/ arranger. As a full-time composer, Most recently, she assisted in orchestrating an orchestral suite of Joe Hisaishi’s music from the Studio Ghibli film Kiki’s Delivery Service for a concert tour that would take place that year.
Sayo Kosugi (Japan Director, Co-Founder)
Japanese composer and AANMI Co-Founder/ Japan Director Sayo Kosugi, is the recipient of the 2014 Palmer Dixon Prize for Most Outstanding Composition presented by The Juilliard School in New York. Her international commissions include works for The Genée International Ballet Competition, commissioned by Royal Academy of Dance (London, UK); new productions “In Flanders Fields” and “A soulful Touch” in collaboration with noted choreographer Ricardo Amarante for The Royal Opera Ballet of Vlaanderen (Antwerp, Belgium), which premiered and toured in Belgium cities in May 2015. She was also commissioned by the Peabody Essex Museum (Salem, MA), for two seasons of their exhibitions. In 2016 and 2017, she has been the primary composer and music director for Voicarion by Toho production, a series of theater play featuring some of Japan’s best-known actors, performed at Meiji-za and Theater Creation in Tokyo.
One of her major work, Lilac Nova, has been performed worldwide by
Japanese-American violinist Ryu Goto, with whom AANMI recorded a forthcoming album in 2017, Transcendent. She also produces music for Fuji Television Network "Baseball News” broadcasted nationwide.
Yuga Cohler (Artistic Director, Chairman of Competition)
Yuga Cohler is an orchestral conductor and cultural innovator. He is a creator of Yeethoven, an orchestral comparison of the works of Kanye West and Beethoven presented by Lincoln Center in 2018. The project was hailed as a work of “musical genius” and received widespread acclaim from such media outlets as TIME Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, the Atlantic, and Rolling Stone.
Cohler currently serves as the music director of the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra. From 2015 - 2018, he held the music directorship of the Young Musicians Foundation (YMF) Debut Chamber Orchestra in Los Angeles, one of the foremost pre-professional orchestras in the country. Other orchestras he has conducted include the Filharmonica Toscanini, the Juilliard
Orchestra, and the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, which he led on a sold-out international tour that concluded at Carnegie Hall.
In 2018, Cohler was awarded the Paolo Vero Orchestral Prize at the Toscanini International Conducting Competition as the only American participant. Among the other accolades granted to him are the Career Assistance Award from the Solti Foundation U.S., the Ansbacher Fellowship from the American Austrian Foundation, and a fellowship from the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen.
Cohler is a Director of the Asia / America New Music Institute (AANMI), a collective that pursues cultural exchange through modern music. With AANMI, he has performed over 20 world premieres at such venues as the Beijing Modern Music Festival, the Asian Composer’s League in Seoul, and Suntory Hall in Tokyo. Cohler appears as both conductor and executive producer on AANMI’s debut album, Transcendent, released by Delos Records in 2018.
Cohler received his master’s degree from the Juilliard School, where he studied conducting with New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert. Prior to this, he graduated summa cum laude from Harvard University, where he studied computer science. His senior thesis, Optimal Envy-Free Cake-Cutting, has been cited by over 50 articles in the academic literature, and in 2018, he was a featured speaker at the Aspen Ideas Festival
Niall Taro Ferguson (Program Associate)
A Los Angeles native, Niall Taro Ferguson is a cellist, composer, and orchestrator. He is currently an active freelance musician, contributing in equal capacity to the worlds of concert and commercial music.
Niall has participated in several music festivals, including the Rencontres Musicales Internationales at the International Menuhin Music Academy, Musique à Flaine, and the Borromeo Music Festival in Altdorf, Switzerland. He has studied with cellists Antonio Lysy, Lynn Harrell, Ben Hong, and Timothy Loo. In Los Angeles, Niall has performed on many of the city’s premiere contemporary music series, such as Monday Evening Concerts (M.E.C.), Jacaranda Music, and the Hear Now Festival. As a session cellist, he records regularly for several films and television programs. Niall performs frequently on NBC’s The Voice, and in 2019 he performed with Shawn Mendes and Miley Cyrus at the 61st annual Grammy Awards.
Niall has studied music composition with Mark Carlson, Ian Krouse, Bruce Broughton, and Kurt Rohde. In 2018 he was commissioned by the California Music Educators Association (CMEA) Bay Section to compose a piece for their Honors String Orchestra. This piece, Flight, received its debut performance at Cal State San José in January 2019, and has since been performed several times throughout California. In July 2019 Niall’s piece Scamper, for String Orchestra and Percussion was performed at the Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona, after having received its premiere in Manhattan Beach earlier that year.
Niall has assisted in orchestrating on several films including American Factory, Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw, and Ni No Kuni. In 2019, he assisted in orchestrating an orchestral suite of Joe Hisaishi’s music from the Studio Ghibli film Kiki’s Delivery Service for a concert tour that would take place that year. Niall’s string arrangements have also been featured on a number of commercial recordings, most notably on Lukas Graham’s 3 (The Purple Album) which was released in October 2018 by Copenhagen Records, Then We Take the World, and Warner Bros. Records, and debuted at number one in Denmark.
As of 2019, Niall is a Program Associate with the Asia / America New Music Institute (AANMI), a collective that pursues cultural exchange through modern music. In April 2019 he participated in his first AANMI tour, accompanying founder Chad Cannon and contributing to lectures given at institutions throughout Asia such as the Hong Kong Baptist University, the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, and The American School in Japan, among others.
Niall received his bachelor’s degree in 2017 from the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, where he studied cello performance with Antonio Lysy, and music composition with Ian Krouse and Bruce Broughton.
AANMI board of trustees
Peter Grilli, James Cannon, Michael Christensen, Cate Cannon Todd, and Nobuko Saito Cleary.
AANMI wishes to recognize the passing of one of its trustees, Kelly Crabb.
AANMI artistic advisors
Robert Beaser, Narong Prangcharoen, Xiaogang Ye, Shaosheng Li