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Stars that died 2010

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Minoru Miki, Japanese composer, died he was 81.

Minoru Miki (Miki Minoru)  was a Japanese composer and artistic director, particularly known for his promotional activities in favor of Japanese (as well as Chinese and Korean) traditional instruments and some of their performers died he was 81..

(16 March 1930 – 8 December 2011)

His vast catalogue, where aforementioned traditional instruments figure profusely either solo or in various types of ensemble with or without Western instruments, demonstrates large stylistic and formal diversity. It includes operas and several types of stage music as well as orchestral, concerto, chamber and solo music, and music for films. Miki was probably the second best known Japanese composer overseas after Tōru Takemitsu.[citation needed]
He was a pioneer in the composition of contemporary classical music for large ensembles of traditional Japanese musical instruments. In 1964 he founded the Nihon Ongaku Shūdan (Pro Musica Nipponia ensemble), also known as Ensemble Nipponia, for which he has composed extensively.


Miki was born in Tokushima in 1930, and his first musical experiences were connected with the traditional music of his region. He had no formal music education before he moved to Okayama for high school, where he first contacted with European classical music. From there he moved to Tokyo, graduating from Tokyo University of the Arts in 1964. In 1964 Miki founded Pro musica Nipponia (日本音楽集団), an orchestra of traditional Japanese instruments for which he composed a large number of works. He also began cooperation with koto virtuoso Keiko Nosaka, developing the 21-string koto and reviving the instrument's repertoire with many new works in a variety of genres and combinations, including five concertos for koto and orchestra. Miki composed his first opera, Shunkinsho (based on Tanizaki's novel of the same title), in 1975. Interest by members of the English Music Theatre Company in Japanese traditional music led to contacts with Miki which resulted in the commission of Ada, An Actor's Revenge, to an English libretto by James Kirkup, which premiered in London in 1979. During this period Miki developed a relationship with theatre and opera director Colin Graham that was to last until the latter's death in 2007. The most notable result of this cooperation was the opera Jōruri, commissioned by Graham for the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis (where he had moved following the disbandment of the EMTC in 1980) and premiered there in 1985.
From 1992 with Wakahime, Miki turns to a pan-Asian perspective, incorporating music and instruments from a number of Asian countries in his compositions and collaborating with a number of Asian artists. Some of Miki's operas from here on - and notably Wakahime and Aien - also increasingly tend to deal with episodes of Japan's presence and interaction with its Asian neighbouring countries, often incorporating the use on stage ad within the plot of such countries' traditional instruments.
He died of sepsis at Mitaka city hospital, in Tokyo, during the early hours of 8 December 2011.[1]

Compositional idiom

Major works by type



Operatic cycle on Japanese history (日本史オペラ連作)
Other operas
  • The Monkey Poet (うたよみざる) (1983)
  • Yomigaeru (よみがえる) (1986–1992)
  • Terute and Oguri (照手と小栗) (1993)
  • From the Land of Light 光の国から


  • Trinita sinfonica (1953)
  • Symphony Joya (1960)
  • Symphony from Life (1980)
  • Beijing Requiem for string orchestra (1990)
  • MAI 舞 (1992)
  • Marimba Concerto (1969)
  • Eurasian Trilogy 鳳凰三連 (1969; 74; 81), Japanese and Western instruments
  • Koto Concerto No. 1 (1974); this piece is also the second movement of Eurasian Trilogy
  • Koto Concerto No. 2 (1978)
  • Koto Concerto No. 3 (1980); aka Concerto Requiem
  • Koto Concerto No. 4 (1984); aka Pine Concerto 松の協奏曲
  • Koto Concerto No. 5 (1985)
  • Z Concerto (1992), marimba and percussion soli
  • Pipa Concerto (1997)
  • Requiem 99 (1998); marimba solo, orchestra of Japanese traditional instruments
  • Trio Concerto (2000), shakuhachi, pipa, 21-koto soli, orchestra of Japanese instruments
  • Shakuhachi Concerto (2002), aka Lotus Concerto
Chamber music
  • Piano Sextet (1965), fl, ob, cl, bn, hn, pf
  • Piano Trio (1986), pf, vn, vc
  • String Quartet (1989)
  • Marimba Spiritual (1983), marimba solo with percussion trio
  • Time for Marimba, (1968), marimba
  • Ballades for koto (I-Winter, 1969; II-Spring, 1976; III-Summer, 1983, ; IV-Autumn, 1990)
Film music


  • Shirabe, 4 songs for tenor and harp (1979)
  • Requiem (1963), baritone solo, male chorus, orchestra
  • The Mole's Tale (1966), male chorus, 2 perc.

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