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Yasushi Akutagawa (芥川 也寸志 Japanese: Akutagawa Yasushi ?, July 12, 1925—January 31, 1989) was a Japanese composer and conductor. He was born and raised in Tabata, Tokyo. His father was Ryūnosuke Akutagawa.

Akutagawa was taught composition by Kunihiko Hashimoto and Akira Ifukube at the Tokyo Conservatory of Music. He was one of the members of Sannin no kai (The Three) along with Ikuma Dan and Toshiro Mayuzumi.

In 1954, when Japan did not have diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union yet, he entered the Soviet Union illegally, and made friends with Dmitri Shostakovich, Aram Khachaturian and Dmitri Kabalevsky. Akutagawa was the only Japanese composer whose works were officially published in the Soviet Union at that time.

His compositions were influenced by Stravinsky, Shostakovich, Prokofiev and Akira Ifukube.

He was popular as a master of ceremonies of TV shows as well. As an educator, he devoted himself to train an amateur orchestra, Shin Kokyo Gakudan ("The New Symphony Orchestra"). Almost one year after Akutagawa died, in 1990, the Akutagawa composition award was established in his memory.

Akutagawa and The New Symphony Orchestra are the recipient of the 1976 Suntory Music Award.

Selected List of Works

  • Préludes pour orchestre symphonique (1947)
  • Trinita sinfonica for orchestra (1948)
  • La danse for piano (1948)
  • Musica per orchestra sinfonica (Music for Symphony Orchestra) (1950)
  • Ballade for violin and piano (1951)
  • Triptyque for string orchestra (1953)
  • Prima sinfonia (1954/55)
  • Symphony for Children "Twin Stars" for children's choir and orchestra (1957)
  • Ellora Symphony (1958)
  • Opera "L'Orphee de Hiroshima (Orpheus in Hiroshima)" (1960/67)
  • Music for strings no. 1 (1962)
  • Negative Picture for orchestra (1966)
  • Ballet suite "The Spider Web" (1968)
  • Concerto ostinato for violoncello and orchestra (1969)
  • Rapsodia per orchestra (1971)
  • Concerto ostinato for GX1 and orchestra (1974)
  • 24 Preludes for piano (1979)
  • Allegro ostinato for orchestra (1986)
  • Sounds for organ and orchestra (1986)
  • Ballade on a Theme of Godzilla for orchestra (1988)
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