Tokyo (Japan), 1930 – Tokyo (Japan), 1996

Toru Takemitsu was born in Tokyo in 1930. During the post-war years, he came into contact with Western music through radio broadcasts by the American occupying forces — not only jazz, but especially classical music by Debussy and Copland and even by Schönberg. He made his debut at the age of 20 with a piano piece Lento in Due Movimenti. Although Takemitsu was essentially a self-taught composer, he nevertheless sought contact with outstanding teachers who acquainted the composer with the European avant-garde music. Fumio Hayasaka introduced Takemitsu to the world of film music and forged contacts to the film director Akira Kurosawa for whom Takemitsu produced several scores to film plots. Alongside his musical studies, Takemitsu also took a great interest in other art forms including modern painting, theatre, film and literature (especially lyric poetry). In 1951, Takemitsu co-founded the Experimental Workshop a mixed media group whose avant-garde multimedia activities soon caused a sensation.