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Joe Hisaishi

About this Artist

Born in Nagano, Japan, Joe Hisaishi started to show his interest in minimalist music when he was a student at Kunitachi College of Music and started his career as a contemporary-music composer. The presentation of his composition MKWAJU in 1981 and the release of his first album Information in the subsequent year marked the kickoff of his prolific career as a solo artist. Since then, he has released nearly 40 solo albums. In February 2020, he released a collection entitled Dream Songs: The Essential Joe Hisaishi on Decca Gold in cooperation with UMG Japan.  

Hisaishi has produced the music for 10 films by director Hayao Miyazaki, including My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away, and continues to tour the music worldwide through his production “Joe Hisaishi Symphonic Concert: Music from the Studio Ghibli Films of Hayao Miyazaki.”   

His body of film work encompasses over 80 Japanese and foreign films. His works have won many awards, including the Annie Award, Hong Kong Film Award, Asian Film Award, and several Japan Academy Film Prizes for Outstanding Achievement in Music. In 2001, he made his debut as a film director with Quartet, for which he also wrote the music. The film was officially invited to the World Competition section of the Montreal World Film Festival.   

Hisaishi is also a skilled performer, having been a solo pianist and an orchestra conductor. He was the first Japanese musician to conduct at the Cannes International Film Festival, performing Buster Keaton’s The General.   

In July 2004, he assumed the post of first music director of the newly created World Dream Orchestra (W.D.O.) of the New Japan Philharmonic. Starting in September 2014, he worked as a producer and conductor for the “Joe Hisaishi presents MUSIC FUTURE” concerts, which earned him enormous popularity, resulting in a live album. In July 2019, he led a concert series called “Future Orchestra Classics” and released a Beethoven Complete Symphonies box set that was awarded the Special Prize in the 57th Record Academy Awards in Japan.   

Hisaishi has collaborated with a wide range of artists, including Philip Glass, David Lang, and Mischa Maisky, and orchestras such as the Hong Kong Philharmonic, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, and the American Symphony Orchestra.   

Hisaishi is an Invited Professor at Kunitachi College of Music. In 2009, he received the Medal of Honor with Purple Ribbon from the government of Japan. From 2016 to 2018, he served as Artistic Director of Nagano City Arts Center. He has been Composer in Residence and Music Partner with the New Japan Philharmonic since September 2020 and Principal Guest Conductor with the Japan Century Symphony Orchestra since April 2021.