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Joe Hisaishi

About this Artist

Born in Nagano, Japan, he started to show his interest in minimal 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 of 2020, he global released a collection album entitled “Dream Songs: The Essential Joe Hisaishi” on Decca Gold in co-operation 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 Outstanding Achievement in Music prizes of Japan Academy Film Prize. In 2001, he made his debut as a film director for “Quartet”, for which he also wrote the music. The film was officially invited for 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 of 2004, he assumed the post of first music director of the newly created ‘Word Dream Orchestra (W.D.O.)’, by the New Japan Philharmonic. Starting in September of 2014, he started to work as a producer and conductor for the ‘Joe Hisaishi presents MUSIC FUTURE’ concerts, which earned him enormous popularity, resulting in a live recording of the album. In July of 2019, he led a concert series called ‘Future Orchestra Classics’ and released a Beethoven Complete Symphonies Box that was awarded the ‘Special Prize’ in the 57th edition of the Record Academy Awards in Japan.

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

Hisaishi is an Invited Professor at Kunitachi College of Music. In 2009, he received the Medal of Honor with Purple Ribbon by the government of Japan. For the 2016-2018 seasons, he served as Artistic Director of Nagano City Arts Center. He holds two new positions, as Composer in Residence and Music Partner with New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra which started in September 2020, and as Principal Guest Conductor with Japan Century Orchestra, which will begin in April 2021.