Yuriko Shibata is a Tokyoite born and bred currently living in New York City. Raised in a family that cherished music, she started playing instruments from a very early age; a privilege, which helped her build up a passion and develop a taste for fine music.
Yuriko’s primary specialty is writing music for the stage, either to accompany a theater scene or to reflect the emotions and behaviors of some portrayed characters. She is capable of creating attractive melodies and composing theatrical music that goes with any given genre from pure romance to extreme horror.
She’s recently obtained her master’s from the Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program at NYU Tisch, which, along with her primary education in the field of Music Composition at Tokyo College of Music, has paved the way for her to explore new opportunities and anticipate bright future prospects.
Her latest accomplishment has been writing a musical called SKIN, which had an Off-Broadway production debut at Rattlestick Theater in NYC. SKIN was one of the semi-finalists of O’Neil Theater’s 2022 National Music Theater Conference. Yuriko has also had her works presented at prominent NYC venues like Don’t Tell Mama, Green Room 42, and Lincoln Centre.
It’s worth mentioning that her experience in the film industry includes the movie Jesus, which was the winner of the San Sebastián International Film Festival 2018. As of now, she’s attending BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop as a music composer, working with a couple of passionate emerging musical theater composers and lyricists.
Know Me Better!
Ever since I was a young child, I’ve always been obsessed with learning as many musical skills as possible. Back in the day, I used to think that in order to realize my future dreams, I needed to be a “miss know-it-all”! Accordingly, I’ve put plenty of time, energy, and effort into earning proficiency in piano performance and learning advanced music theory.
However, when I stepped into the real world of music, I noticed that I don’t usually get the chance to use all my skills. As a matter of fact, with just a slight portion of my capabilities, I can make captivating rhythms and melodies to evoke many nuanced emotions such as joy, sorrow, relief, fear, calm, and tension. I’ve come to the realization that it’s not about how many skills I possess, but it’s about how much passion, emotion, heart, and soul I put into a song.
Yuriko playing the pipe organ at church when she was 15
As a Japanese immigrant in the USA, I’ve obviously had to confront many challenges including conflicting values and identity development issues. Nevertheless, I now understand that I might as well utilize my Japanese heritage to my advantage rather than desperately make complaints about racial inequity. As the old adage goes, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!” That is, my Japanese heritage, along with my musical knowledge, my passion for Western music, and my cross-cultural experience of working and studying in both Japan and the USA are actually the very ingredients that could lead me to massive success in the entertainment industry.
After numerous years of work and study, I’d confidently say that I’ve managed to fulfill my aspiration to be the current ‘me’, a versatile music producer who can create and compose music in various genres from classical to modern. I’ve beaten many different odds to come such a long way, but I’m totally aware that there’s still a long road ahead of me.
Yuriko playing the piano when she was 7.
To put it simply, I believe a song is nothing but a sublime feeling or a flash of inspiration, which must turn into a pleasant audible piece. I feel so fortunate and blessed to have the required resources to transform that delicate sublime feeling into one single song that people can enjoy.
To my way of thinking, there is more to music than meets the ear. I consider my audible pieces as a means of communication that serves a higher purpose than just mere entertainment. A true artist, in my opinion, is one who uses artistic creativity to create some beneficial social impact. Following this logic, I always use my best efforts to make sure I dedicate my musical skills to supporting a good cause. For instance, in my recent works, I’ve tried to recount the untold stories of the pain, hardships, and sorrows that underrepresented minorities have to go through, be it ethnic minorities, such as myself, or gender minorities, such as the LGBT community.