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Music Inspiration from Japan

Brandon Mitchell, an aspiring composer studying at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in the Department of Technology and Applied Composition (TAC), was part of the school’s “2021 TAC Showcase Concert”.

To view the concert performance, click the video below. Brandon’s composition begins at the 47 minute mark.

Brandon is a Berea College alumni who received the prestigious U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to participate on the KIIS Japan Summer 2018 Study Abroad program.

While in Japan, Brandon studied United States-Japan Foreign Policy and Religion in Japanese Literature with Prof. Yoko Hatakeyama, Dr. Jeff Richey, and Dr. Lauren McKee. Brandon recalls some of his favorite moments in Japan being his homestay in Kyoto, visiting various Pokémon centers, and interacting with students at Tenri Elementary school.

In honor of the 20th anniversary of the Gilman Scholarship program, Brandon is having a live-streamed performance and professional recording of his original follow-on service project (see Vimeo link above). For his Gilman service project, Brandon created a music composition in which he drew from concepts in the Religion in Japanese Literature course abroad, and other Japanese cultural influences, such as the Hiroshima Bell of Peace. He chose Haruki Murakami’s work Super Frog Saves Tokyo as his primary source of inspiration.

Outside of his studies, Brandon enjoys playing piano and video games from which he draws other inspiration. As a competitive Pokémon video game player, Brandon has competed nationally and received top placements. Brandon aims to work in the film and video game industry, and after becoming an established professional musician, hopes to travel the world and share his music with others.

About the Gilman Scholarship

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship is a grant program that provides students who have limited financial means the chance to study or intern abroad. To apply for the Gilman, you must be currently receiving the Federal Pell Grant. For other eligibility requirements, visit the Gilman Scholarship website. To learn about additional study abroad scholarships, visit the KIIS Scholarship page.


Brandon Mitchell

KIIS Japan
Music Composition & Production
Berea College

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