Japanese avant-garde pioneer composer Toshi Ichiyanagi dies at 89



Avant-garde pianist and composer Toshi Ichiyanagi, who studied with John Cage and went on to guide Japan’s advances in experimental fashionable music, has died. He was 89.

Ichiyanagi, who was married to Yoko Ono earlier than she married John Lennon, died Friday, in accordance with the Kanagawa Arts Foundation, the place Ichiyanagi had served as basic inventive director. The reason behind loss of life was not given.

“We want to specific our sincerest gratitude to all those that beloved him throughout his lifetime,” the muse’s chairman, Kazumi Tamamura, mentioned in a press release Saturday.

 Ichiyanagi studied at The Juilliard School in New York and emerged a pioneer, utilizing free-spirited compositional strategies that left a lot to likelihood, incorporating not solely conventional Japanese components and devices but additionally digital music.

He was identified for collaborations that defied the boundaries of genres, working with Jasper Johns and Merce Cunningham, in addition to progressive Japanese artists like architect Kisho Kurokawa and poet-playwright Shuji Terayama, in addition to with Ono, with whom he was married for a number of years beginning within the mid-Fifties.

“(*89*) my creation, I’ve been attempting to let numerous components, which have usually been thought of individually as distinction and reverse in music, coexist and penetrate one another,” Ichiyanagi as soon as mentioned in an artist assertion.

Japanese conventional music impressed and emboldened him, he mentioned, as a result of it was not preoccupied with the standard definitions of music as “temporal artwork,” or what he referred to as “divisions,” corresponding to relative and absolute, or new and outdated.

Modern music was extra about “substantial house, to be able to restore the non secular richness that music supplies,” he mentioned.

Among his well-known works for orchestra is his turbulently provocative “Berlin Renshi.” Renshi is a type of Japanese collaborative poetry that’s extra open-ended free verse than older varieties like “renku.”

(*89*) 1989, Ichiyanagi shaped the Tokyo International Music Ensemble — The New Tradition (TIME), an orchestral group targeted on conventional devices and “shomyo,” a method of Buddhist chanting.

His music traveled freely throughout influences and cultures, transitioning seamlessly from minimalist avant-garde to Western opera.

Ichiyanagi toured all over the world, premiering his compositions at Carnegie Hall in New York and the Theatre des Champs-Elysees, Paris. The National Theater of Japan additionally commissioned him for a number of works.

He remained prolific through the years, producing Concerto for marimba and orchestra in 2013, and Piano Concerto No. 6 in 2016, which Ichiyanagi carried out solo at a Tokyo competition.

Ichiyanagi obtained quite a few awards, together with the Alexander Gretchaninov Prize from Juilliard, L’ordre des Arts et des Lettres of the French Republic and the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette and the Medal of Purple Ribbon from the Japanese authorities.

Born in Kobe to a musical household, Ichiyanagi confirmed promise as a composer at a younger age. He received a significant competitors in Japan earlier than transferring to the U.S. as a teen, when such strikes have been nonetheless comparatively uncommon in postwar Japan.

A personal funeral is being held with household. A public ceremony in his honor is within the works, being organized by his son, Japanese media reviews mentioned.

Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama


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