Toshio Hosokawa

Born 23 October 1955
Toshio Hosokawa
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1955-10-23
https://musicbrainz.org/artist/d0126f6a-77dc-4dd0-91f6-05ee9430bfe0
Toshio Hosokawa

Toshio Hosokawa Biography (BBC)

Born in Hiroshima, educated (1976-82) in Berlin by a Korean composer who had himself studied in Japan, and currently dividing his time between Hiroshima, Mainz, and Karuizawa - the details of Toshio Hosokawa's CV seem to embody as much as anybody's the problematic tension between East and West that has haunted so many Japanese composers for the past century or so. Hosokawa was awakened to this tension particularly by his teacher in Berlin, Isang Yun, and it is already apparent in the Japanese formal structures of works from this time - such as the Preludio with which he won first prize in the composition competition celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in 1982. But by the end of his time with Yun he felt he had come so much under his teacher's influence that a certain distancing was necessary, and so decided to move to Freiburg to begin studies first with Brian Ferneyhough and, subsequently, Klaus Huber (1983-8). And it was while studying with these European masters, according to Luciana Galliano - the leading specialist in the field of Western-style composition in Japan - that his musical language changed, as he applied 'the structural rigour learnt from his Western teachers to the conception of sound received from Japanese thinking'.

The fruits of such bicultural symbiosis are apparent in the very titles of the 130 or so works that have appeared from this highly prolific and successful composer over the years. Catalogue entries such as Urbilder (1980), Cloudscapes (1984), Jenseits der Zeit… (1987), and the (rather Ferneyhoughesque) Vertical Time Study I-III (1992-4) rub shoulders with Jo-ha-kyu (1980), Sen I-VI (1984-93), Renka I-III (1986-90) and Utsorohi (1986) - rather as Japanese sho¯ rubs shoulders with Western harp in the last-named work. London audiences in particular may recall that his first opera, Visions of Lear - a commission for the 1998 Munich Biennale, which was also produced at Covent Garden's Linbury Studio Theatre in 2002 - even incorporates such biculturalism into its dramaturgy, transferring Shakespeare's narrative to the context of modern corporate Japan.

Yet it would be quite mistaken to expect of Hosokawa's music any picturesque 'exoticism'. Rejecting all kinds of superficial 'fusion' which stem from a shallow understanding of both Eastern and Western music, Hosokawa's work is distinguished rather by a deep and thoughtful engagement with the aesthetics of his own tradition: whether it is the spiritual significance underlying the calligrapher's brushstroke, or the common preoccupation of both aural and visual arts in Japan with the pregnancy of space and silence (known as ma). Of his teacher Yun's music Hosokawa once said that it 'conveyed not just an Asian atmosphere but Asiatic thinking, Asiatic substance' - and pretty much the same could be said of his own work as well.

Profile © Peter Burt



Toshio Hosokawa Tracks

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Toshio Hosokawa
Meditation for orchestra
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Meditation for orchestra
Toshio Hosokawa
Lullaby of Itsuki (Japanese Folk Songs)
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Lullaby of Itsuki (Japanese Folk Songs)
Toshio Hosokawa
Waves
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Waves
Toshio Hosokawa
Storm
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Storm
Toshio Hosokawa
Im Nebel
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Im Nebel
Toshio Hosokawa
Into the Depth of Time
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Into the Depth of Time
Toshio Hosokawa
Itsuki no komori uta
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Itsuki no komori uta
Toshio Hosokawa
Reminiscence
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Reminiscence
Toshio Hosokawa
Spell (2010)
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Spell (2010)
Toshio Hosokawa
Singing Garden in Venice 'Nachspiel. Nacht - Schlaf'
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Singing Garden in Venice 'Nachspiel. Nacht - Schlaf'
Toshio Hosokawa
Circulating Ocean: Waves From The Ocean
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Circulating Ocean: Waves From The Ocean
Toshio Hosokawa
Vertical Time Study II
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Vertical Time Study II

Vertical Time Study II

Ensemble
Trio Accanto
Toshio Hosokawa
Blossoming II
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Blossoming II
Toshio Hosokawa
Meditation - To the Victims of the Tsunami, March 2011
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Meditation - To the Victims of the Tsunami, March 2011
Toshio Hosokawa
Silent Flowers
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Silent Flowers
Toshio Hosokawa
Woven dreams for orchestra (feat. BBC National Orchestra of Wales & Jun Märkl)
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Woven dreams for orchestra (feat. BBC National Orchestra of Wales & Jun Märkl)
Toshio Hosokawa
Floral Fairy (feat. Arditti Quartet)
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Floral Fairy (feat. Arditti Quartet)
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