TOSHIRO MAYUZUMI (1929 - 1997)
Toshiro Mayuzumi was the first Japanese composer to create works of musique concrète and electronic music. In 1951, he graduated from a Tokyo university and enjoyed a successful premiere of his composition, “Sphenogrammes,” at the ISCM festival. While spending the next year studying in Paris, Mayuzumi discovered the musique concrète scene. He returned to Tokyo and formed the composer group Sannin no Kai (“Group of Three”) and wrote the first musique concrète work (“X, Y, Z” ) and first electronic piece (“Shusaku I” ) in Japan. His experimentations also include the use of prepared piano and unusual instrumentations. From the late ’50s on, Mayuzumi’s music was increasingly influenced by traditional Japanese music and Buddhism, and was awarded the Otaka Prize twice (in 1958 and 1967) for work in this vein. He also composed for theater (including his collaborations with Mishima) and for film, including his award-winning electronic score for Tokyo Olympic in the mid-’60s. Later in his career, Mayuzumi also hosted a television show and served as the President of the Japan Federation of Composers.
By Joslyn Layne