Mary Lou Prince was born and raised in Los Angeles California. During her early years she took every opportunity to attend concerts ranging from classical to rock, jazz and folk. She earned a Master’s Degree in composition from Brigham Young University and then studied with Nadia Boulanger in Paris for a year.
In 1983 she went to Japan and stayed there for 24 years, working extensively with Japanese musicians and writing music for the koto (Japanese harp) and shakuhachi (bamboo flute). She worked in collaboration with playwright and lyricist Patty Willis and wrote music for award winning theater pieces that were performed in Edinburgh, Scotland, New York, Los Angeles and all over Japan, and a film called Feast of Light. She received national awards for her compositions for traditional Japanese instruments, commissions from the city of Kanazawa to compose music for the stage and to work with Geisha musicians, and composed music for TV Documentaries. Her music has been broadcast on the BBC in Britain, NHK in Japan, and NPR in the United States. Her works include three symphonies, choral works, a woodwind quintet, string quartets, songs for solo voice and piano, music for koto and shakuhachi, and solo piano works. Some of her strongest artistic influences are from long term travels to the holy places of the world: visiting a synagogue in India, mosques in Damascus and China, Buddhist temples in Nepal and Korea, Coptic Christian churches in Egypt, and also from fourteen years of listening to choruses of frogs and cicadas from the front porch of an old farmhouse in the mountains of western Japan.