Joe Hisaishi was born in Nagano, Japan in 1950. 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 modern music composer. Presentation of “MKWAJU” in 1981 and the release of his first album “Information” in the following year was the kickoff of his career as a solo artist. Since his debut, he has released nearly 40 solo albums, including “Minima_Rhythm” series (2009/2015/2017), “Melodyphony” (2010), and the latest solo album “Symphonic Suite “Castle in the Sky”” (2018).
Starting with “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind” (1984), Hisaishi has produced music for 10 Hayao Miyazaki films, including “My Neighbor Totoro” (1988) and “The Wind Rises” (2013). He also composed the music for “HANA-BI” (1998) directed by Takeshi Kitano, “Departures” (2008) directed by Yojiro Takita, “Villain” (2010) directed by Sang-il Lee, “The Tale of Princess Kaguya” (2013) directed by Isao Takahata, and “What a Wonderful Family!” series (2016/2017/2018) directed by Yoji Yamada.
He has collaborated on the music production of nearly 80 films at home and abroad. His works have won many awards, including several Best Music Score of Japan Academy Film Prize, “Spirited Away” won the Outstanding Music in an Animated Feature Production at the 30th Annie Awards, the Korean film “Welcome to Dongmakgol” won the Best Original Film Music Award at the 4th Korean Film Award, and Chinese film “The Postmodern Life of My Aunt” won the Best Original Film Score of the 27th Hong Kong Film Award, “Our Time Will Come” won the Best Original Music of the 12th Asian Film Award. In 2009, he received the Medal of Honor with Purple Ribbon by the government of Japan.
In 2001, he made his debut as a film director with “Quartet”, taking charge of the theme music and co-writing the script. The film was officially invited for the World Competition section of the Montreal World Film Festival.
Hisaishi also is well-reputed as a skilled performer, ranging from piano soloist to orchestra conductor. In May 2004 at Cannes International Film Festival, Hisaishi became the first Japanese musician to conduct an orchestra, performing “The General” (representative work of Buster Keaton) at the film-in-concert. In July 2004, he assumed the role of music director of New Japan Philharmonic ” World Dream Orchestra (W.D.O.)”, newly formed orchestra project by New Japan Philharmonic. At the August 2008 “Joe Hisaishi in Budokan” concert, he achieved sensational success by leading a large group of orchestra, choirs, and marching bands ──totaling 1,200── musicians while he conducted and played piano. Since 2017, he has presented world tour of “Joe Hisaishi Symphonic Concert: Music from the Studio Ghibli Films of Hayao Miyazaki” (visiting Paris, Melbourne, San Jose, Los Angels and New York Carnegie Hall).
Since 2014, he has been working as a producer and conductor, performing the enormously popular contemporary music concerts “JOE HISAISHI presents MUSIC FUTURE“, which have also been recorded as a live album.
Hisaishi has collaborated with a wide range of artists and orchestra including Philip Grass, David Lang, Mischa Maisky, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, among others. Hisaishi serves as an invited professor at Kunitachi College of Music.
Some of his most recent works including “Contrabass Concerto” (2015), “TRI-AD for Large Orchestra” (2016) , “The East Land Symphony” (2016) and “Asian Symphony“(2017).
His unique contributions to the concerts as a contemporary musical composer is highly appreciated and his continuous enthusiasm for musical activities that go beyond ordinary creative work is anticipated worldwide.