Koto player Yagi Michiyo has performed in a number of ensembles -- both traditional and experimental -- since the late 1980s. She began studying koto under Satomi Kurauchi at age six, and later, in 1985, enrolled in the Sawai Koto School. While there, Michiyo studied classical and contemporary koto, in addition to shamisen and traditional jiuta-style singing. Two years later, she toured England, Italy, Germany and Southeast Asia on a Japan Foundation Grant. 1988 found Michiyo performing in the Tadao Sawai Koto Ensemble, which recorded a CD, Koto, that year. The following year she was visiting professor of koto and Japanese traditional music at Wesleyan University.
As the ‘90s progressed, Michiyo performed in a growing number of line-ups including the Kazue Sawai Koto Ensemble, the Min-on Ensemble, and the shakuhachi-led trio, Cocoo (later called Kokoo), with whom she has toured North America, the former USSR and India. In 1993, Michiyo founded her first project, Mika, which was a duo with flutist Rie Shimizu. She also founded Koto Vortex, a koto quartet, and is a founding member of an experimental trio with Sachiko M and Haco called Hoahio.
In these various groups, Michiyo has performed at major creative music festivals around the globe, such as Canada’s FIMAV, the Vienna Festival, Sapporo’s NOW Music Festival, Tokyo’s Music Merge Festival and several appearances at NY’s Bang on a Can festival. Her first solo recording, Shizuku, was released on the NY label, Tzadik, in 1999.