Koji Kondo in 2006
August 13, 1961 |
|Occupations||Composer, sound designer, sound director, sound programmer|
|Instruments||Piano, electronic organ, keyboards, synthesizers, Cello|
|Associated acts||Shigeru Miyamoto|
Koji Kondo (近藤 浩治 Kondō Kōji , born August 13, 1961) is a Japanese video game composer and sound director who has been employed at Nintendo since 1984. He is best known for scoring numerous titles in the Mario and The Legend of Zelda series.
Koji Kondo was born in Nagoya, Japan, on August 13, 1961. He began taking lessons in the electronic organ from the age of five. He improved his skills in the instrument in a cover band that played jazz and rock music. Kondo studied at the Art Planning Department of Osaka University of Arts, but was never classically-trained or particularly dedicated to music. However, he gained some experience in composing and arranging pieces, using both the piano and a computer to assist him. During his senior year, Nintendo sent a recruitment message to his university stating that they were interested in hiring people dedicated to composition and sound programming. An LCD and arcade gamer, Kondo successfully applied for the job in 1984 without requiring any demo tapes.
Kondo was the first person hired by Nintendo for the purpose of creating compositions, and was to play an integral role in making the company's games and music recognizable worldwide. The first game he scored was the arcade game Punch-Out!!. Despite creating mostly jingles and sound effects, he was able to overcome the challenges of early arcade sound hardware. As the Famicom had become highly popular in Japan, Kondo was assigned to compose music for the console's subsequent games at Nintendo's new development team, Nintendo Entertainment Analysis and Development (EAD). Kondo also wrote an instruction manual on how to program Japanese popular music into the Famicom using the peripheral Family BASIC. To conclude his first year at Nintendo, he created the music to Devil World alongside Akito Nakatsuka. In 1985, Nintendo started marketing the Famicom abroad under the name the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) to capitalize on the 1983 video game crash that devastated Atari, Inc. He composed the music for the hit releases Super Mario Bros. (1985) and The Legend of Zelda (1986) which helped the system to sell 60 million copies in total and established some of the most well-known melodies in the video game industry.
Super Mario Bros., for many years the best-selling video game of all time, was Kondo's first major score. The game's melodies were created with the intention that short segments of music could be endlessly repeated during the same gameplay without causing boredom. Kondo's soundtrack to Super Mario Bros. gained worldwide recognition, and is to this day the most well-known video game score. The main theme is iconic in popular culture and has been featured in over 50 concerts, been a best-selling ringtone, and been remixed or sampled by various musicians. Kondo's work on The Legend of Zelda scores has also become highly recognized. He produced four main pieces of background music for the first installment of the series; the overworld theme has become comparable in popularity with the Super Mario Bros. main theme. Following the success of The Legend of Zelda, he provided the score for two Japanese-exclusive titles, Nazo no Murasame Jō (1986) and Shin Onigashima (1987). He also created the soundtrack to Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic (1987), which was later rebranded outside of Japan as Super Mario Bros. 2 in 1988.
Kondo returned to the Super Mario series to produce the scores to Super Mario Bros. 3 (1988) and the SNES launch title Super Mario World (1990). Koichi Sugiyama directed a jazz arrangement album of Super Mario World's music and oversaw its performance at the first Orchestral Game Music Concert in 1991. After finishing the soundtrack to Super Mario World, Kondo was in charge of the sound programming for Pilotwings, and created the sound effects for Star Fox. In 1995 he composed for the sequel to Super Mario World, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island. Until the Nintendo 64 era, Kondo would usually write all compositions for a game, ending with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time as the last score he worked alone on. Since then, he has been collaborating with other staff members at Nintendo EAD, supervising music created by others, as well as providing additional compositions for games such as Super Mario Galaxy, The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.
Kondo attended the world-premiere of Play! A Video Game Symphony at the Rosemont Theater in Rosemont, Illinois in May 2006. His music from the Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda series was performed by a full symphony orchestra. This event drew nearly four thousand attendees. He also attended and performed in a series of three concerts celebrating the 25th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda series in late 2011.
Musical style and influences
The "Super Mario Bros. theme" reached number one on Billboard Magazine's Hot Ringtones chart in 2009. Kondo cites rock bands Deep Purple and Emerson, Lake & Palmer as major musical influences. He has also cited as influences the works of the Russian romantic composer Sergei Rachmaninoff, particularly his four piano concertos.
|Vs. Stroke & Match: Golf||Composition|
|Family BASIC||Sound programming|
|Devil World||Composition||Akito Nakatsuka|
|Kung Fu||Sound effects|
|Super Mario Bros.||Composition|
|1986||The Legend of Zelda||Composition|
|Nazo no Murasamejo||Composition|
|Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels||Composition|
|1987||Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic||Composition|
|1988||Super Mario Bros. 2||Composition|
|Super Mario Bros. 3||Composition|
|1990||Super Mario World||Composition/arrangement|
|1991||The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past||Composition/arrangement|
|1993||Star Fox||Sound effects|
|1995||Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island||Composition/arrangement|
|1996||Super Mario 64||Composition/arrangement|
|1997||Star Fox 64||Composition/arrangement||Hajime Wakai|
|1998||The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time||Composition/arrangement|
|Mario Party||Sound Support||Taro Bando and Yoji Inagaki|
|1999||Mario Golf||Supervisor||Kenji Miki, Shigeru Miyamoto, Takashi Tezuka, Haruki Kodera, and Toru Takamatsu|
|Mario Party 2||Sound Support|
|2000||The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask||Composition/arrangement||Toru Minegishi|
|Mario Tennis||Supervisor||Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka|
|Mario Party 3||Sound Support|
|2001||Mario Kart Super Circuit||Supervisor||Hiroyuki Kimura, Tadashi Sugiyama, Hideki Konno, and Takashi Tezuka|
|2002||Super Mario Sunshine||Composition/arrangement||Shinobu Tanaka|
|Mario Party 4||Sound Support|
|The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past & Four Swords||Sound Support|
|The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker||Composition||Kenta Nagata, Hajime Wakai, and Toru Minegishi|
|2003||Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour||Sound Support|
|Mario Party 5||Sound Support|
|Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga||Sound Support|
|2004||The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventure||Composition||Asuka Ohta|
|Mario vs. Donkey Kong||Advisor||Tadashi Sugiyama and Shinya Takahashi|
|Mario Power Tennis||Sound Support|
|The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap||Sound Advisor|
|Mario Party 6||Sound Support|
|2005||Mario Party Advance||Sound Support|
|Mario Superstar Baseball||Sound Support||Taro Bando|
|Mario Tennis: Power Tour||Sound Support|
|Mario Party 7||Sound Support|
|Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time||Sound Support|
|2006||New Super Mario Bros.||Composition||Asuka Ohta and Hajime Wakai|
|Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis||Sound Supervisor|
|The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess||Composition||Toru Minegishi and Asuka Ohta|
|2007||Mario Party 8||Sound Support|
|Super Mario Galaxy||Composition||Mahito Yokota|
|Mario Party DS||Sound Support||Keita Hoshi, Shohei Bando, and Shiho Yonemoto|
|2008||Super Smash Bros. Brawl||Arrangement|
|Mario Super Sluggers||Sound Support||Taro Bando, Akito Nakatsuka, and Tomokazu Abe|
|2009||Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story||Sound Support|
|Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again!||Music Supervisor|
|New Super Mario Bros. Wii||Sound Advisor|
|The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks||Composition||Toru Minegishi, Manaka Tominaga, and Asuka Ohta|
|2010||Super Mario Galaxy 2||Composition||Mahito Yokota and Ryo Nagamatsu|
|Mario Sports Mix||Sound Supervisor|
|2011||The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D||Music Supervisor|
|The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword||Composition||Hajime Wakai, Shiho Fujii, Mahito Yokota, and Takeshi Hama|
|2012||Mario Party 9||Sound Supervisor|
|Mario Tennis Open||Sound Supervisor|
|New Super Mario Bros. 2||Sound Advisor||Yoji Inagaki|
|New Super Mario Bros. U||Sound Advisor|
|Paper Mario: Sticker Star||Sound Advisor|
|2013||New Super Luigi U||Sound Supervisor|
|Mario & Luigi: Dream Team||Sound Supervisor|
|The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD||Composition (reused)||Kenta Nagata, Hajime Wakai, and Toru Minegishi|
|Super Mario 3D World||Composition||Mahito Yokota, Toru Minegishi, and Yasuaki Iwata|
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- The Legend of Zelda: Super Best Collection interview at BerriBlue