Takemitsu, Toru

Takemitsu, Toru tō´ro͞o täkā´mĭtso͞o [key], 1930–96, Japanese composer, b. Tokyo. Largely self-taught and particularly influenced by Debussy and Cage, Takemitsu successfully combined serial music and other techniques from Europe and the United States with traditional Japanese modalities. His music has a marked sensuous quality, its opulent textures and tones mixed with passages of harsh timbres and rasping dissonance. Championed by Igor Stravinsky, he was the first contemporary Japanese composer to become known in the West. Takemitsu organized (1951) Tokyo's Experimental Workshop, the first of several avant-garde groups he founded, and in 1970 he designed the Space Theater for the exposition in Osaka. His best-known work is Requiem for Strings (1958), which launched his international career. Other compositions include Undisturbed Rest (1952) for piano, Dorian Horizon (1967) for string orchestra, and the piano trio Between Tides (1993). He also is noted for the many evocative scores he wrote for Japanese films, e.g., Woman in the Dunes (1964), Ran (1985), and Black Rain (1989).

See his Confronting Silence (1995); P. Burt, The Music of Toru Takemitsu (2001); C. Zwerin, Music for the Movies: Toru Takemitsu (film, 1995).

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