Japanese avant-garde pioneer composer Ichiyanagi dies at 89

TOKYO (AP) — Avant-garde pianist and composer Toshi Ichiyanagi, who analyzed with John Cage and went on to direct Japan’s advances in experimental contemporary audio, has died. He was 89.

Ichiyanagi, who was married to Yoko Ono ahead of she married John Lennon, died Friday, according to the Kanagawa Arts Basis, wherever Ichiyanagi had served as standard artistic director. The trigger of demise was not provided.

“We would like to convey our sincerest gratitude to all all those who beloved him through his life span,” the foundation’s chairman, Kazumi Tamamura, claimed in a assertion Saturday.

Ichiyanagi examined at The Juilliard University in New York and emerged a pioneer, applying no cost-spirited compositional techniques that still left a great deal to likelihood, incorporating not only standard Japanese aspects and devices but also electronic music.

He was regarded for collaborations that defied the boundaries of genres, performing with Jasper Johns and Merce Cunningham, as very well as ground breaking Japanese artists like architect Kisho Kurokawa and poet-playwright Shuji Terayama, as very well as with Ono, with whom he was married for quite a few decades starting in the mid-1950s.

“In my creation, I have been making an attempt to allow several components, which have usually been deemed independently as distinction and opposite in songs, coexist and penetrate each individual other,” Ichiyanagi once said in an artist assertion.

Japanese standard new music inspired and emboldened him, he said, due to the fact it was not preoccupied with the regular definitions of music as “temporal artwork,” or what he termed “divisions,” these kinds of as relative and absolute, or new and old.

Fashionable new music was much more about “substantial space, in buy to restore the spiritual richness that tunes offers,” he said.

Among his properly-recognised will work for orchestra is his turbulently provocative “Berlin Renshi.” Renshi is a variety of Japanese collaborative poetry that is additional open up-ended cost-free verse than more mature sorts like “renku.”

In 1989, Ichiyanagi formed the Tokyo Intercontinental New music Ensemble — The New Tradition (TIME), an orchestral group focused on classic instruments and “shomyo,” a model of Buddhist chanting.

His new music traveled freely across influences and cultures, transitioning seamlessly from minimalist avant-garde to Western opera.

Ichiyanagi toured all over the entire world, premiering his compositions at Carnegie Corridor in New York and the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Paris. The National Theater of Japan also commissioned him for various will work.

He remained prolific over the several years, generating Concerto for marimba and orchestra in 2013, and Piano Concerto No. 6 in 2016, which Ichiyanagi done solo at a Tokyo competition.

Ichiyanagi been given many awards, which include the Alexander Gretchaninov Prize from Juilliard, L’ordre des Arts et des Lettres of the French Republic and the Purchase of the Soaring Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette and the Medal of Purple Ribbon from the Japanese governing administration.

Born in Kobe to a musical family members, Ichiyanagi confirmed assure as a composer at a young age. He received a key competition in Japan right before moving to the U.S. as a teen, when these kinds of moves were being nevertheless relatively rare in postwar Japan.

A personal funeral is currently being held with household. A community ceremony in his honor is in the works, currently being arranged by his son, Japanese media reports explained.


Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter

Yuri Kageyama, The Related Press

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