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Akira Miyoshi, born in Tokyo, had piano and composition lessons from an early age, and on entering primary school studied the violin with Kozaburo Hirai. In 1951 he entered the Department of French Literature at Tokyo University. As a student he was awarded first prize in the 22nd Japan Music Competition in 1953 for Sonata and won several other awards at this time. Miyoshi went to France in 1955 to study composition at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique, Paris, studying with Henri Challan and Raymond Gallois Montblanc. He was strongly influenced during these years by the work of Henri Dutillieux.

Following his return to Tokyo in 1957, he continued studies at Tokyo University, graduating in 1960. In the next few years he composed symphonic and orchestral works, songs and choral music. From 1974 to 1995 he was president of Toho Gakuen University, becoming a member of the Japanese Academy of Arts in 1999, the same year as he presented his first opera. In November 2001, Akira Miyoshi was honoured with the Cultural Merits Award.

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