Born in Nagano, Japan, Joe Hisaishi started to show his interest in minimalist music when he was a student at Kunitachi College of Music and started his career as a contemporary music composer. The presentation of his composition MKWAJU in 1981 and the release of his first album, “Information,” in the subsequent year kicked off his prolific career as a solo artist. Since then, he has released nearly 40 solo albums. In February 2020, he released a compilation album titled “Dream Songs: The Essential Joe Hisaishi” on Decca Gold in co-operation with UMG Japan.
Hisaishi has produced the music for 10 films by director Hayao Miyazaki, including “My Neighbor Totoro” and “Spirited Away,” and continues to tour the music worldwide through his production “The Joe Hisaishi Symphonic Concert: Music from the Studio Ghibli Films of Hayao Miyazaki.”
His body of film work encompasses 80 Japanese and foreign films. His works have won many awards, including the Annie Award, Hong Kong Film Award, Asian Film Award and several outstanding achievement in music prizes from the Japan Film Academy. In 2001, he made his debut as a film director for “Quartet,” for which he also wrote the music. The film was officially invited to the world competition section of the Montreal International Film Festival.
Hisaishi is also a skilled performer, having been a solo pianist and an orchestra conductor. He was the first Japanese musician to conduct at the Cannes International Film Festival, performing Buster Keaton’s “The General.”
In July 2004, he assumed the post of first music director of the newly created Word Dream Orchestra by the New Japan Philharmonic. Starting in September 2014, he started to work as a producer and conductor for the “Joe Hisaishi presents MUSIC FUTURE” concerts, which earned him enormous popularity and resulted in a live album. In July 2019, he led a concert series called “Future Orchestra Classics” and released a Beethoven complete symphonies box set that was awarded the Special Prize in the 57th edition of the Record Academy Awards in Japan.
Hisaishi has collaborated with a wide range of artists such as Philip Glass, David Lang and Mischa Maisky and orchestras such as the Hong Kong Philharmonic, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra and American Symphony Orchestra, among others.
Hisaishi is a visiting professor at Kunitachi College of Music. In 2009, he received the Medal of Honor with Purple Ribbon by the government of Japan. For the 2016-2018 seasons, he served as artistic director of Nagano City Arts Center. He holds the positions of composer-in-residence and music partner with New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, which started in September 2020, and as principal guest conductor with Japan Century Orchestra, which began in April 2021.
Please note: Biographies are based on information provided to the CSO by the artists or their representatives. More current information may be available on websites of the artists or their management.