• About Andy Akiho

    Andy Akiho is a “trailblazing” (Los Angeles Times) Pulitzer Prize finalist and five-time GRAMMY®-nominated composer whose bold works unravel intricate and unexpected patterns while surpassing preconceived boundaries of classical music. Known as “an increasingly in-demand composer” (The New York Times), Akiho has earned international acclaim for his large-scale works that emphasize the natural theatricality of live performance. He is the only composer to be nominated for a GRAMMY® in the Best Contemporary Classical Composition category in 2022, 2023, and 2024.


    Recent highlights include the world-premiere of a new interdisciplinary work for Omaha Symphony honoring visual artist Jun Kaneko, the world-premiere of a new commission for Imani Winds, and a sold-out run of Akiho’s “Seven Pillars” at Théâtre du Châtelet, choreographed by Benjamin Millepied and performed by Sandbox Percussion and LA Dance Project. Equally at home writing chamber music and symphonies, Akiho is the Oregon Symphony’s 2023-2024 composer-in-residence. His latest work, a concerto written for noted cellist Jeffrey Zeigler, is set to premiere this Fall at Sun Valley Music Festival, with additional performances by the Oregon Symphony, ProMusica, and Bozeman Symphony. 


    Other recent engagements include commissioned premieres by the New York Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra, Shanghai Symphony, China Philharmonic, Guangzhou Symphony, Oregon Symphony Orchestra, American Composers Orchestra, Music@Menlo, LA Dance Project and The Industry. 


    Akiho has been recognized with many prestigious awards and organizations including the Rome Prize, American Academy of Arts and Letters, Lili Boulanger Memorial Prize, Harvard University Fromm Commission, Barlow Endowment, New Music USA, and Chamber Music America. His compositions have been featured by organizations such as Bang on a Can, American Composers Forum, The Intimacy of Creativity in Hong Kong, and the Heidelberg Festival.  

    An active steel pannist, Akiho has performed his works with the LA Philharmonic’s Green Umbrella Series, the Berlin Philharmonic’s Scharoun Ensemble, the International Drum Festival in Taiwan, and more. Akiho’s recordings No One To Know One, The War Below, Seven Pillars, Oculus, and Sculptures feature brilliantly crafted compositions inspired by his primary instrument, the steel pan. 


    As a steel pannist, Akiho has a deeply physical relationship with playing, which extends itself to his compositional output. His voice is further shaped by what has undoubtedly been a nontraditional trajectory as a composer: having spent most of his 20s playing steel pan by ear in Trinidad and New York City, Akiho only began writing music at age 28. Still, these social and musical roots remain foundational. Akiho frequently composes into the wee hours at coffee shops, nightclubs, and restaurants, taking breaks to get to know those around him. Similarly, Akiho develops relationships with his collaborators, as he writes for people, not instruments. 

    Akiho was born in 1979 in Columbia, SC, and is currently based in Portland, OR and New York City. He is represented by CAMI Music.