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About the Musician and Artist

When Suzanne Hanser visited Asahikawa Japan in 2016, her friend Kazuko Murata took her to an apartment once owned by the artist Michio Iwata. Ms. Murata inherited his residence and his art when Iwata-San died in 2014 at the age of 58, and she graciously gifted Suzanne with a book of 12 of his drawings.

When she returned home, Suzanne was impelled to translate Michio’s watercolors through melody. For her, music and art inspire the most beautiful expression of life's essence, so she went to the piano, and composed a piece for each of his creations.

Suzanne Hanser,

As professor and chair emerita of music therapy at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Suzanne Hanser engages people in musical experiences that inspire contemplation, flow, and meditative states, to explore paths to wholeness.


Her research focuses on clinical outcomes of music therapy protocols in integrative medicine, specifically chronic illness, oncology, dementia, pain and palliative care, and cardiology.


She has served as President of the American Music Therapy Association and the World Federation for Music Therapy, and recently published Integrative Health through Music Therapy: Accompanying the Journey from Illness to Wellness.


She and Annette Philip developed a MOOC: Music for Wellness: An Integrative Approach, on the Edx platform. Watch for a Berklee Online course by that title coming soon - You can listen to this interview about the course:

For more, see

Michio Iwata,

Michio Iwata was born in Hokkaido, the north province of Japan, in 1956, and lived in the city of Asahikawa until his death at the age of 58. Iwata’s illustrated book, Kumo no Kyoushitsu (Classes on the Clouds), won an Award for Children’s Literature in Japan in 1988. The artist also published Microcosmos and Noah’s Animals, which are collections of short stories, poems and essays.

His other works include a large collection of paintings and poems that reside in his former home, now a gallery in Asahikawa managed by Kazuko Murata.

Composer and Pianist
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