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Kondo studied composition from 1968 to 1972 with Yoshio Hasegawa and Hiroaki Minami at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. He won the third prize and made his debut in Japan-Germany Contemporary Music Festival in 1969. He serves as Professor of Music at Ochanomizu University in Tokyo and also teaches at Tokyo University of Arts and Elisabeth University of Music in Hiroshima.
His interests include hocket, the music of Ancient Greece, and strong differences in instrumental timbre, all of which are reflected in his compositions. The chamber version of his 1975 composition Sight Rhythmics reflects the latter in its unusual instrumentation of violin, banjo, steel drum, electric piano, and tuba, for example, but after a year in New York City, however, the influence of John Cage and Morton Feldman became more apparent in Kondo's style. His opera Hagoromo, based on a Noh play and premiered in Florence in 1994, is the unique case where his music blends western techniques with oriental traditions.
Kondo's music has been performed by the London Sinfonietta, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the NHK Symphony Orchestra, the Arditti Quartet, NEXUS, the Balanescu Quartet, Aki Takahashi and the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.
- Shono 2001.
- Anthony Tommasini, "MUSIC REVIEW; A Contemporary Chamber Group, and That's Exactly What It Means". New York Times (August 27, 2001).
- Shono, Susumu. 2001. "Kondo, Jo". The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. London: Macmillan Publishers.
- Benítez, Joaquim M. 1998. "L'oreille orientale et la musique de l'Ouest: Entretien de Joaquim M. Benitez avec Jo Kondo". Études 389, no. 4 (no. 3914; October): 369–77.
- Charles, Daniel. 1990. "Jô Kondô, ou le passage de la ligne". Revue d’ésthetique 18:225–31.
- Charles, Daniel. 1991. "Jō Kondō e John Cage", translated by Giovanni Morelli. Rivista italiana di musicologia 26, no. 1:95–115.
- Cole, John. 2006. "An Introduction to Jo Kondo's Sen no ongaku Music of 1973 to 1980". Ex tempore 13, no. 1 (Spring-Summer): 70–143.
- Hinz, Klaus-Michael. 1995. "Musik als unendliche Veränderung: der japanische Komponist Jô Kondô". MusikTexte, no. 59:34–38.
- Hinz, Klaus-Michael. 2004. "Stillstehender Sturmlauf: Jô Kondôs Orchesterwerk mit dem Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra und Morton Feldmans Beckett-Oper 'Neither' in Stuttgart". MusikTexte, no. 103:79–80.
- Wilson, Peter Niklas. 2000. "Jo Kondo". In Komponisten der Gegenwart: Loseblatt-Lexikon Nachlieferung 19, edited by Hanns-Werner Heister and Walter-Wolfgang Sparrer. Munich: Edition text+kritik.
- JO KONDO (University of York Music Press) - Biography, catalogue and discography
- List of works at the Wayback Machine (archived September 15, 2007)
- Jo Kondo: Works Omitted from His Official List of Works - Kondo's early works