Maija Myōshō Ijäs is a Finnish composer, musician, singer and voice coach. She has been a student of Roshi Wendy Egyoku Nakao and a member of the Zen Center of Los Angeles (ZCLA) sangha since 2017. Maija is one of the coordinators and organizers of Peacemakers Finland.
Maija Myōshō Ijäs (born 1974 in Jyväskylä, lives and works in Helsinki) is a Finnish composer, musician, singer and vocal coach. Maija holds a Master of Arts degree from University of Jyväskylä from where she majored in both education theory and music pedagogy and graduated in 2005. She also holds an Estill Figure Professional (EFP) certificate in Estill Voice Model.
Maija has been a freelance composer since 2003 and composed for Finnish National Theater, several City Theaters, smaller theater companies, and for her various orchestras in Finland. For her professional career as an artist she still uses her maiden name Maija Kaunismaa. As a professional singer she has been involved with several major productions around the world performing with Vox Aurea Choir at Carnegie Hall in New York and toured with Voices of Europe Choir performing with Icelandic artist Björk. She has also toured extensively in Europe with her own ensembles.
She has been involved with over thirty professional theater productions in which she has composed, arranged, conducted, musical directed and played her music. She also did her solo performance in Finnish National Theater in 2011 and released her first solo album “Liian lyhyt hame – Kertomuksia keittiöstä” at the same time.
Together with his husband Mikko Ijäs she has also produced a documentary film titled “The Origins -movie”, which is based on Mikko’s research on origins of art among the early hunter-gatherer societies. The film follows the lives of the indigenous people of the Kalahari desert and Northern Mexico. The film raises questions on indigenous rights on their own lands and freedom. She has produced her second solo album The Pine House Songs (2020) and album with Claes Andersson poems En morgon vid havet (2022).
Maija got involved with Zen practice in 2015 through the Helsinki Zen Center, but she has been actively engaged with the Zen Peacemakers International since 2017.
During this involvement Maija has participated the first Finnish Street Retreat in Helsinki (2017), helped Mikko Ijäs with his translation work of Bernie Glassman Roshi’s seminal book ”Bearing Witness” in Finnish, and together with Mikko Ijäs they coordinated the two Bearing Witness retreats to Finnish Civil War Prison Camps in June 2018 and July 2019.
Maija is been an Artist-In-Residence at the Fire Lotus Temple in New York in 2016 and at the Zen Center of Los Angeles (ZCLA) since 2017-2022. She frequently visited ZCLA to work, teach singing, participate retreats and trainings with her teacher Roshi Wendy Egyoku Nakao, the former Abbot and Head Teacher of the ZCLA.
Roshi Egyoku gave her the Peacemaker Precepts in a Jukai ceremony held in April 2018. Maija was given a dharma name Myōshō Angyo (Luminous-Voice Peacemaker).
Website of Maija Myōshō Ijäs: www.maijakaunismaa.com