|Year of Birth:||1966|
|Year of Death:||2016|
Brian Asawa (October 1, 1966 – April 18, 2016) was a Japanese American opera singer who sang as a countertenor. About Asawa, Opera News stated: "In his prime, Asawa was an electric performer, his fearless performing style supported by a voice of arresting beauty and expressivity."
Brian Asawa was born in Fullerton, California, and grew up in Los Angeles. He sang in the choir at a Methodist church with a Japanese congregation. He began his studies as a piano major at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and then changed his studies to voice, studying under tenor Harlan Hokin. After two semesters there he transferred to UCLA.
In 1989, he began a master's degree in early-music interpretation at the University of Southern California where he was a pupil of the American lutenist James Tyler. However, Asawa never finished this program as his performance career began to take off.
His career was launched in 1991 when he became the first countertenor to win both the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and an Adler Fellowship to the San Francisco Opera's Merola Opera Program. Of his performance at the Metropolitan Allan Kozinn wrote:
The most impressive of the winners was Brian Asawa, a countertenor with an unusually rich, rounded sound and the power to fill the house with no sacrifice in timbre or suppleness. Mr. Asawa's meltingly beautiful accounts of "Chiamo il mio ben cosi", from Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice and "Welcome, Wanderer," from Britten's Midsummer Night's Dream, were subtly shaped and graced with a slight but fully expressive vibrato. There is not much call for countertenors at the Met. But the voice is flourishing in the early-music world, where singers of Mr. Asawa's musicality are needed.