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Marty Regan

Visiting Scholar


Marty Regan is a composer whose creative activities are focused on expanding and developing the repertoire of contemporary music for traditional Japanese and Asian instruments and creating music that explores cross-cultural exchange. He has composed over 75 works for traditional Japanese instruments and since 2002 has been affiliated with AURA-J, one of the premiere contemporary-traditional Japanese music ensembles. In 2002 his composition Song-Poem of the Eastern Clouds (2001), for shakuhachi and 21-string koto, was premiered and awarded a prize at the 5th Annual Composition Competition for Traditional Japanese Instruments at the National Theatre of Japan. Widely regarded as the authoritative source on the subject and the only resource of its kind available in English, his translation of Minoru Miki’s orchestration manual Composing for Japanese Instruments was published by the University of Rochester Press in 2008, with a second printing expected in 2015. 

Regan is an Associate Professor of Music at Texas A&M University, where he teaches the undergraduate music theory sequence and leads a five-week faculty-lead study-abroad summer program in Japan entitled “TAMU in Tokyo.” He holds a B.M. in Composition and a B.A. in English and East Asian Studies from Oberlin College. From 2000 to 2002 he studied composition and took applied lessons on traditional Japanese instruments as a Japanese government-sponsored research scholar at Tokyo College of Music. In 2011 he was affiliated as a visiting research scholar at Shanghai Conservatory of Music, where he took applied lessons on traditional Chinese instruments. He completed his Ph.D. in music with an emphasis in composition at the University of Hawai'i, Manoa in 2006. He has also studied traditional traditional Korean Music at the National Gugak Center and Balinese Gamelan at the Cudamani Summer Institute.

His “Selected Works for Japanese Instruments” compact disc series is released by Navona Records and his music is published by Mother Earth Co, Ltd. He has been commissioned by prominent chamber ensembles such as the Apollo Chamber Players, Aperio, as well as various international music festivals and his music has been performed in venues such as The Kennedy Center, the Asia Society Texas Center, the Wortham Center, The National Opera Center, the Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Osaka Philharmonic Hall, and the San Antonio Museum of Art. Inspired by core images of nature that recur throughout Japanese literature and the arts, his multi-movement suite for koto and violoncello–the first and only one of its kind–, Flowers, Birds, Wind, Moon, was commissioned by the internationally-prominent, award-winning ensemble Duo YUMENO. To date, they have performed Flowers, Birds, Wind, Moon over 100 times in various venues all over the world with numerous engagements lined up for the upcoming year after the release of this work on compact disc in early 2015. In 2014 were the recipients of the Baroque Saal Kyoto Toyama Music Prize for their–in the words of the Aoyama Music Award jury–""exquisite" and "compelling” performance of this extended work. 

His music has been broadcast on American Public Media’s Performance Today and NHK’s Hōgaku no hito toki/'A Moment for Traditional Music.’ One of his largest works to date, a chamber opera entitled "The Memory Stone", was commissioned by the Houston Grand Opera as part of the HGOco's Songs of Houston: East + West initiative and was premiered in 2013 at the Asia Society Texas Center. In 2015 he was the recipient of a Helene Wurlitzer Foundation Artist Residency Grant as well as a Clare Hall Visiting Research Fellowship from the University of Cambridge. For more information, visit

Key Publications



Shamisen Works by Marty Regan: Performed by Tetsuya Nozawa. Kokoro Records KKR 006, 2014.

Marty Regan’s Selected Works for Japanese Instruments, Vol. 3: Scattering Light, Scattering Flowers. Navona Records NV 5933, 2014.

Works for Shakuhachi by Marty Regan: Voyage / Performed by Shōzan Tanabe, Bamboo Records BCD-082, 2013.

Marty Regan’s Selected Works for Japanese Instruments, Vol. 2: Magic Mirror. Navona Records NV 5876, 2012.

Marty Regan’s Selected Works for Japanese Instruments, Vol. 1: Forest Whispers... Navona Records NV 5831, 2010.


Miki, Minoru. Composing for Japanese Instruments. Trans. Marty Regan. Ed. Philip Flavin. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2008.


fastpass! (2007) for shamisen and ko-tsuzumi. Mother Earth Publishing: Tokyo, Japan. 2012. R0001-1

Song-Poem of the Eastern Clouds (2001) for shakuhachi and 21-string koto. Mother Earth Publishing: Tokyo, Japan, 2012. No. R0002-1

Evanescent Yearning (2008) for shamisen and koto. Mother Earth Publishing: Tokyo, Japan, 2012. No. R0003-1

Light of the Rainbow (2003) for shamisen and 17-string koto. Mother Earth Publishing: Tokyo, Japan, 2012. R0004-1

Maqam (2005) for solo shamisen. Mother Earth Publishing: Tokyo, Japan, 2012. No. R0005-1         

Shadows of the Moon (2008) for shakuhachi and shamisen. Mother Earth Publishing: Tokyo, Japan. 2012. R0006-1

Voyage (2008) for string quartet and shakuhachi. Mother Earth Publishing: Tokyo, Japan, 2012. No. R000-7

dragoneyes (2004) for shakuhachi, shamisen, and 21-string koto. Mother Earth Publishing: Tokyo, Japan, 2012. R0008-1