Takemitsu, Toru

Takemitsu, Toru

(tō`ro͞o täkā`mĭtso͞o), 1930–96, Japanese composer, b. Tokyo. Largely self-taught and particularly influenced by DebussyDebussy, Claude Achille
, 1862–1918, French composer, exponent of musical impressionism. He studied for 11 years at the Paris Conservatory, receiving its Grand Prix de Rome in 1884 for his cantata L'Enfant Prodigue.
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 and CageCage, John,
1912–92, American composer, b. Los Angeles. A leading figure in the musical avant-garde from the late 1930s, he attended Pomona College and later studied with Arnold Schoenberg, Adolph Weiss, and Henry Cowell.
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, Takemitsu successfully combined serial musicserial music,
the body of compositions whose fundamental syntactical reference is a particular ordering (called series or row) of the twelve pitch classes—C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B—that constitute the equal-tempered scale.
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 and other techniques from Europe and the United States with traditional Japanese modalities. His music has a marked sensuous quality, its opulent textures and tones mixed with passages of harsh timbres and rasping dissonance. Championed by Igor StravinskyStravinsky, Igor Fedorovich
, 1882–1971, Russian-American composer. Considered by many the greatest and most versatile composer of the 20th cent., Stravinsky helped to revolutionize modern music.

Stravinsky's father, an actor and singer in St.
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, he was the first contemporary Japanese composer to become known in the West. Takemitsu organized (1951) Tokyo's Experimental Workshop, the first of several avant-garde groups he founded, and in 1970 he designed the "Space Theater" for the exposition in Osaka. His best-known work is Requiem for Strings (1958), which launched his international career. Other compositions include Undisturbed Rest (1952) for piano, Dorian Horizon (1967) for string orchestra, and the piano trio Between Tides (1993). He also is noted for the many evocative scores he wrote for Japanese films, e.g., Woman in the Dunes (1964), Ran (1985), and Black Rain (1989).

Bibliography

See his Confronting Silence (1995); P. Burt, The Music of Toru Takemitsu (2001); C. Zwerin, Music for the Movies: Toru Takemitsu (film, 1995).

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