AKIO YASHIRO (1929 - 1976)
Akio Yashiro was born in 1929 in Tokyo. He began composition lessons with Moroi Saburo in 1940. While at the Tokyo Music Academy (presently the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music) in the Department of Composition, he studied composition under Hashimoto Kunihiko, Ikeuchi Yujiro, and Ifukube Akira, and piano under Toyomasu Noboru, Leonid Kreutzer, and Kawakami Kiyo. He finished the course in 1949 and completed graduate courses in 1951.
He then went to Europe with Mayuzumi Toshiro to study abroad with a French governmental fellowship at Paris Conservatorie. There he learned composition and orchestration from Olivier Messiaen, Tony Oban, and Nadia Boulanger. He received the first prize in harmony and made good grades in each course: Accompany with Piano, Counterpoint, and Fugue. He returned home in 1956.
In 1957, String Quartet, which he wrote while studying abroad, was premiered successfully in Japan, and Yashiro received the Eighth Mainichi Music Prize for it. In the same year, he was selected as the first commissioned composer of the Japan Philharmonic Series, a series of works by Japanese composers founded by Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, and he wrote Symphonie pour grande orchestre (first performance conducted by Watanabe Akio on June of 1958). He received both the Sixteenth Otaka Prize and the Twenty-first National Art Festival Award in 1968 for his Piano Concerto (1964-1967) which was commissioned by NHK. Yashiro also composed Suite classique pour piano a 4 mains in 1951, Symphonic Pieces in 1951, Sonate pour piano in 1961, and Christmas Carol in 1964. He wrote music for movies, broadcasts, and stages as well.
In 1968 Akio Yashiro was inaugurated as an assistant professor at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, and he was promoted to professor in 1974. Yashiro died suddenly of heart failure at the age of forty-seven.