RECENT: Find out about composers from unusual places, including Gerard Schurmann, Giya Kancheli, Nazib Zhiganov and Nodar Gabunia, about singing in cars, and meet Jim Hutton from the RLPO and some of our regular contributors in this eighty-minute February 2021 video.
RECENT: James Ross and Eric Fraad discuss Streaming, Downloads and CDs with Maria Nockin, Mary Mogil, David Arditti, Gerald Fenech, John Daleiden, John Dante Prevedini, Lucas Ball and Stephen Francis Vasta in our hour-long May 2021 video.
Yasushi Akutagawa studied composition at the Tokyo Conservatory of Music with Kunihiko Hashimoto and Akira Ifukube.
His love of Russian music and composers led him to enter the Soviet Union illegally in 1954 and make friends with Shostakovich, Khachaturian and Kabalevsky. He also became the only Japanese composer to have his music published officially in the Soviet Union, at this time.
He devoted much time to training an amateur orchestra, Shin Kokyo Gakudan ('The New Symphony Orchestra'), and he and the orchestra received the 1976 Suntory Music Award.
Akutagawa died on 31 January 1989, and one year later, the Akutagawa Composition Award was established in his memory.