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Japanese composer (1958-87)
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Hiroaki Zakoji

This is a tribute for Japanese composer and pianist, Hiroaki Zakoji who died just 9 days after his 29th birthday by acute cardiac failure on the 29th of January 1987

Latest Additions (22 June 2015)

We are pleased to introduce the latest life performance by Llibert López Pascual. He improvised on the theme of "Movement", composed by Hiroaki in 1974, when he was 16.

 

Performed by Llibert López Pascual in Barcelona on 25 April 2015

Here is the first live performance of "Andante 1" by Hiroaki Zakoji

 

Performed by Llibert López Pascual in Barcelona on 7 March 2014 as a world premiere. Many thanks for your wonderful interpretation!

 

We are happy to announce the first live performance of "Scherzo", composed by Hiroaki when he was 15 and revised when he was 17.

 

Performed by Llibert López Pascual in Barcelona on 24 November 2012 as a world premiere. Many thanks for your wonderful interpretation!

Live Performance

Three unusual recordings from a recently discovered tape

Hugo Wolf - Drei Lieder nach Gedichten von Michelangelo - 1
Hugo Wolf - Drei Lieder nach Gedichten von Michelangelo - 2
Hugo Wolf - Drei Lieder nach Gedichten von Michelangelo - 3
Hiroaki accompanies anonymous singer
Performed 17 June 1981 in Asahi Seimei Hall, Tokyo

Live Performances by other pianists

Recordings from a recently discovered tape
Piano piece I, Op.28
Piano piece II, Op.30
Piano piece III, Op.36
Performed by Mari Akagi, Sendai, 13 Dec 1988

Biography in Japanese 年譜日本語版
Updated 19 April to include a flyer of the concert dated 28 Oct 1983

Radio Broadcast on his anniversary 29 January 2009

Live performance of Hiroaki's High School Band JCSB
Recordings of two songs Toorisugita Ai and Minato No Yoko Yokohama Yokosuka performed in 1975 in Asahikawa Hokkaido
Download in Publications.

Invitation for pianists to perform Hiroaki's earlier work Scherzo
Further information here

 

Hiroaki´s Curriculum

Hiroaki Zakoji was born in Tokyo on the 20th of January 1958. He was brought up in Hokkaido from the age of 4 and lived there until he was 20 years old. He started learning to play the piano when he was 4 years old. From the age of 16, he studied composition under Masanobu Kimura. In 1978, he entered the Music Department of Nihon University in Tokyo and transferred to Kiyohiko Kijima, piano under Midori Matsuya (1943-94). At the same time, he also studied composition under renowned composer, Roh Ogura (1916-90) in Kamakura. He graduated from University and entered the Music Institute of Nihon University in 1982. In the same year, he organised Tokyo Shin-Wagaku Consort which regularly performed his own and other contemporary composers' works. In 1984, he travelled to
Basel, Switzerland and performed Japanese contemporary works, including his own. The next year, he was invited by IGNM (Internationale Gesellschaft für Neue Musik) and performed his Piano Piece I (Op.28) in Basel. He returned to Switzerland in 1986, where he composed and performed his Piano Piece III (Op.36). Subsequently, he travelled to Spain and Denmark and wrote an essay for a music journal. Composition II (Op.11) and Composition III (Op.13) were broadcast by a Spanish radio station. In June 1986, he was one of the finalists in the Buddhist International Music Competition in Tokyo and his work Continuum (Op.18) was given its first performance by the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra under
Hiroyuki Iwaki
(1932-2006).
Hiroaki died just 9 days after his 29th birthday by acute cardiac failure on the 29th of January 1987 in Tokyo. He left 38 works in his short life of 29 years and 9 days. All his scores and some music tapes are preserved in the Documentation Centre for Modern Japanese Music in Tokyo.

 

Etsuko Zakoji, Hiroaki´s wife wrote:

Hiroaki was somebody very special, very talented and premature.  On one hand, he had got a nature which was very contemplative as it is reflected in many of his works.  His premature interest in death, philosophy and Buddhism was uncommon for young men of his age.  On the other hand, he was quite a sportsman who loved skiing.  He was a joyful fellow who loved joking.  His sense of humour and unique character won a lot of friends.  Almost 300 people arrived to pay their respects at his funeral ceremony.  This was a sheer proof of his beloved character.  Art is cruel and merciless..!  Art demands sacrifice…!     A talented young man’s life was snatched by death, but Hiroaki’s music is perpetuated and he continues living in the mind of people who loved him.
May Hiroaki’s music live forever!

 

English composer James Stevens wrote:

Hiroaki not only had this wonderful technical accomplishment, but he also had wit. For example, the work in his suite for piano,
"Piano Piece III", dedicated to Mozart. It has all the Mozartian qualities but is essentially Zakoji. He was a brilliant pianist...

...Hiroaki's work is the equal of any other Japanese composer, however well-known, and more versatile than most...

His work was unique because, despite its essentially contemporary style it owed nothing to any particular fad or fashion and thus was outside the mainstream of contemporary composers.  His material was the product of an exquisite inner ear and it was treated with Mozartian integrity.  It also embodied traditional Japanese concepts; hence he was able to compose with equal readiness for chamber group, synths, symphony orchestra or traditional instruments.