The Japanese government announced on Oct. 26 (Friday) that it has selected five people to receive the country’s top cultural award this year, including composer Toshi Ichiyanagi, 85.
Toshi Ichiyanagi, notable Japanese composer, was born in. Kobe, Feb. 4, 1933. He studied composition with Kishio Hirao and piano with Chieko Hara. He pursued training in New York at the Juilliard School of Music (1954-58), receiving instruction in composition from John Cage and in piano from Beveridge Webster. In 1967 he received a Rockefeller Foundation grant and was active in N.Y. as composer-in-residence. In 1976 he was the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst composer-in-residence in Berlin. In 1989 he founded and became artistic director of the Tokyo International Music Ensemble, a traditional Japanese orchestra with Buddhist chanting shomyo. He led the ensemble on many tours abroad, including visits to Europe and the U.S. Ichiyanagi’s compositions reflect his penchant for exploring both Western and non-Western musical traditions, as well as for a willingness to pursue experimental paths in both traditions.
Beginning with his first prize at 16 in the Mainichi/NHK composition competition, which he won again in 1951, he has been awarded many prizes including the Koussevitzky Prize at the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood (summer, 1956) In 1981, 1984, 1989, and 1990 he won the Otaka Prize, in 1985 he was made a member of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France, and in 1989 he won the Kyoto Music Grand Prize. The Order of Culture will be presented to the recipients at the Imperial Palace on Nov. 3, 2018.