Yukiko Watanabe was born in Nagano, Japan. She studied composition, piano and chamber music under Keiko Harada and Michio Mamiya at the Toho Gakuen School of Music in Tokio. Since 2008, she has been studying composition at the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz under Beat Furrer.
She won various prizes and scholarships, such as the Rohm-Music-Foundation-Scholarship, the Nomura-Cultural-Foundation-scholarship, she was the winner of the Ö1-Talentebörse-Kompositionspreis 2011 and artist in residence at the Tokyo-Wonder-Site in the same year.
Her catalogue of works includes pieces for smaller and larger ensembles, as well as the Noh-opera ASAGAO and the chamber opera Weiche Möndin. Yukiko Watanabe also incorporates other styles into her work, such as new and traditional Japanese art, video, and animation.
Her works have been performed in Austria, Finland, France, Germany and Japan. In 2014, the world première of her second Opera Weiche Möndin will take place in Graz as part of a project of the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz, led by Beat Furrer.
As part of the Ö1 Talentebörse Kompositionspreis, Universal Edition publishes the commissioned work ver_flies_sen.