Toshiro Mayuzumi

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Toshiro Mayuzumi

Toshiro Mayuzumi ( 敏郎 Mayuzumi Toshirō [majɯᵝzɯᵝmi toɕiɽoo]; 20 February 1929, in Yokohama – 10 April 1997, in Kawasaki) was a Japanese composer.


Mayuzumi was a student of Tomojirō Ikenouchi at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music immediately following the Second World War, before going to Europe where he attended the Paris Conservatoire national supérieur de musique.

He was initially enthusiastic about avant-garde Western music, especially that of Varèse, but beginning in 1957 he turned to pan-Asianism for new sonorous material (Herd 1989, 133). Like the novelist Mishima Yukio, whose novel The Temple of the Golden Pavilion he set as an opera (Kinkakuji, 1976), Mayuzumi opposed the westernization of Japan and tried to emphasize his native cultural identity in his work.[citation needed]

A prolific composer for the cinema, he composed more than a hundred film scores between Waga ya wa tanoshi (It's Great to Be Young) in 1951 and Jo no mai in 1984. The best-known film with a score by Mayuzumi is probably The Bible: In the Beginning (1966). He also wrote many pieces for wind band that have been recorded by the Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra.

Mayuzumi was the recipient of a Suntory Music Award in 1996.



  • Kinkakuji (Der Tempelbrand; The Golden Pavilion) (1976, Berlin)
  • Kojiki (Days of the Gods) (1996, Linz)

Note about Kinkakuji[edit]

This is a German-language opera, Der Tempelbrand, to a libretto by Claus Henneberg. In three acts, and set in Japan in the 1940s, it dramatizes Yukio Mishima's 1956 novel The Temple of the Golden Pavilion (Japanese: 金閣寺, Kinkakuji), recounting events in the life of an arsonist monk who in 1950 destroyed the 600-year-old gold-leafed wooden temple of that name in Kyoto. Scored for chorus and full orchestra, the opera has these principal roles: Hure (Whore), Mädchen (Girl) and Mutter (Mother), all sopranos; Kashiwagi, the monk's close friend, tenor; Mizoguchi, the protagonist, baritone; and Abt Dosen, bass. There are several supporting roles as well. The work was commissioned by and premiered at the Deutsche Oper, West Berlin, in 1976. Live recordings were made in Tokyo in 1991 (with Ohnuma/Kameda/Kurata/Katsube/Yamaguchi, conducted by Iwaki, issued on Fontec) and in New York in 1995 (with Yu/Ruggles/Sorensen/Perry-E/Corteggiano, conducted by Colaneri, not issued commercially).


  • Bugaku (1962)
  • Olympics (1965)
  • The Kabuki (1986)
  • M (1996)

Orchestral works[edit]

  • Rumba Rhapsody (1948)
  • Symphonic Mood (1950)
  • Bacchanale (1954)
  • Ektoplasm (1954)
  • Tonepleromas 55 (1955)
  • phonology Symphonique (1957)
  • Nirvana Symphony for male chorus and orchestra (1958)
  • Mandala Symphony (1960)
  • Echigojishi (1960)
  • Music with Sculpture (1961)
  • Textures for wind orchestra (1962)
  • Samsara (1962)
  • Essay in Sonorities (Mozartiana) (1963)
  • Essay for string orchestra (1963)
  • Fireworks (1963)
  • Ongaku no tanjō [Birth of Music] (1964)
  • Concerto for percussion and wind orchestra (1965)
  • Concertino for xylophone and orchestra (1965)
  • Shu [Incantation] (1967)
  • Tateyama (1974)
  • ARIA in G for Solo Violin and Orchestra (1978)
  • Capriccio for Solo Violin and String Orchestra (1988)
  • Mukyūdō [Perpetual Motion] (1989)

Ensemble/Instrumental works[edit]

  • Sonata, for violin and piano (1946)
  • Twelve Preludes, for piano (1946)
  • Hors d'œuvre, for piano (1947)
  • Divertimento, for 10 instruments (1948)
  • String Quartet (1952)
  • Sextet, for flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, horn, trumpet, and piano (1955)
  • Pieces, for prepared piano and string quartet (1957)
  • Mikrokosmos, for clavioline, guitar, musical saw, vibraphone, xylophone, percussion, and piano (1957)
  • Bunraku, for violoncello solo (1960)
  • Prelude, for string quartet (1961)
  • Metamusic, for saxophone, violin, and piano (1961)
  • Shōwa ten-pyō raku, for gagaku ensemble (1970)
  • Rokudan, for harp (1989)

Electronic music[edit]

  • X, Y, Z for musique concrète (1953)
  • Boxing for Radio Drama (1954)
  • Music for Sine Wave by Proportion of Prime Number (1955)
  • Music for Modulated Wave by Proportion of Prime Number (1955)
  • Invention for Square Wave and Saw-tooth Wave (1955)
  • Variations on Numerical Principle of 7 (1956; with Makoto Moroi)
  • Aoi no ue (1957)
  • Campanology for multi-piano (1959)
  • Olympic Campanology (1964)
  • Mandala for solo voice and electronic sounds (1969)

Film scores[edit]


  • Heifetz, Robin J. 1984. "East-West Synthesis in Japanese Composition: 1950-1970". Journal of Musicology 3, no. 4 (Autumn): 443–55.
  • Herd, Judith Ann. 1989. "The Neonationalist Movement: Origins of Japanese Contemporary Music". Perspectives of New Music 27, no. 2 (Summer): 118–63.
  • Kanazawa, Masakata. 2001. "Mayuzumi, Toshirō". The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. S. Sadie and J. Tyrrell. London: Macmillan.
  • Loubet, Emmanuelle, Curtis Roads, and Brigitte Robindoré. 1997. "The Beginnings of Electronic Music in Japan, with a Focus on the NHK Studio: The 1950s and 1960s". Computer Music Journal 21, no. 4 (Winter): 11–22.

External links[edit]

  • "Overtones of Progress, Undertones of Reaction: Toshiro Mayuzumi and the Nirvana Symphony" by Peter Burt[1]
  • (Japanese)Music of Toshiro Mayuzumi