Yoko Shimomura: Wikis


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Yoko Shimomura

Yoko Shimomura during a 2007 concert
Background information
Born October 19, 1967 (1967-10-19) (age 42)
Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan
Genres Jazz, classical
Occupations Composer
Instruments Piano
Years active 1988–present
Labels NTT Publishing
Toshiba EMI
Walt Disney Records
Associated acts Alph Lyla

Yoko Shimomura (下村 陽子 Shimomura Yōko ?, born October 19, 1967) is a Japanese video game composer. She has been described as "the most famous female video game music composer in the world".[1] She has worked in the video game music industry since graduating from Osaka College of Music in 1988. From then until 1993, she worked for Capcom, where she composed wholly or in part the scores for 17 games, including Final Fight and Street Fighter II.

From 1993 to 2002 Shimomura worked for Square (now Square Enix), where she composed for a further eight games, including the popular Legend of Mana and Kingdom Hearts games. Since then she has worked as a freelance composer, writing for over a dozen titles. Her works have gained a great deal of popularity, and have been performed in multiple video game music concerts, including one, Sinfonia Drammatica, that was focused half on her "greatest hits" album, Drammatica: The Very Best of Yoko Shimomura, and half on the music of a previous concert. Music from several of her games has been published as arranged albums and as piano scores.




Early life

Yoko Shimomura was born in Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan on October 19, 1967.[2] She developed an interest for music at a young age, and started taking piano lessons "at the age of four or five".[3] She began composing her own music by playing the piano randomly and pretending to compose, eventually coming up with her own pieces, the first of which she claims to still remember how to play.[3] Shimomura attended Osaka College of Music, and graduated as a piano major in 1988. Upon graduation, Shimomura intended to become a piano instructor and was extended a job offer to become a piano teacher at a music store, but as she had been an avid gamer for many years she decided to send some samples of her work to various video game companies that were recruiting at the university.[4] Capcom invited her in for an audition and interview, and she was offered a job there. Her family and instructors were dismayed with her change in focus, as video game music was not well respected, and "they had paid [her] tuition for an expensive music school and couldn't understand why I would accept such a job", but Shimomura accepted the job at Capcom anyway.[3][4]


While working for Capcom, Shimomura contributed to the soundtracks of 17 games, including the successful Street Fighter II, which she composed all but three pieces for. The first soundtrack she worked on at the company was for Samurai Sword in 1988. Final Fight, in 1989, was her first work to receive a separate soundtrack album release, on an album of music from several Capcom games.[5] The first soundtrack album to exclusively feature her work came a year later for the soundtrack to Street Fighter II.[6] While she began her tenure at Capcom working on console games, by 1990 she had moved to the arcade game division.[2][4] She was a member of the company's in-house jazz band Alph Lyla, which played Capcom video game music including pieces written by Shimomura; she performed live twice with the group, playing a bell during "Chun-Li's Theme" from Street Fighter II.[4]

In 1993, Shimomura transferred to another game company, Square (now Square Enix). She moved to Square because she was interested in writing "classical-style" music for fantasy role-playing games; at Capcom she was in the arcade game team and was unable to transfer to the console game team to work on their role-playing game series Breath of Fire, although she contributed one track to the first game in the series.[4] Her first project at the company was the score for the console role-playing game Live A Live in 1994. While she was working on the score to Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars the following year, she was asked to join Noriko Matsueda on the music to the futuristic strategy RPG Front Mission. Although she was overworked doing both scores and it was not the genre that she was interested in, she found herself unable to refuse after her first attempt to do so unexpectedly happened in the presence of the president of Square, Tetsuo Mizuno.[4] These games were followed by Tobal No. 1, the last score she worked on with another composer for a decade.[2]

Over the next few years, she composed the soundtrack to several games, including Parasite Eve and Legend of Mana. Of all her compositions, Shimomura considers the soundtrack to Legend of Mana the one that best expresses herself.[3] Parasite Eve on the PlayStation had the first soundtrack by Shimomura that included a vocal song, as it was the first game she had written for running on a console system that had the sound capability for one.[4] In 2002 she wrote the score for Kingdom Hearts, which she has said is the most "special" soundtrack to her, as well as a turning point in her career; she named the soundtracks to Street Fighter II and Super Mario RPG as the other two significant points in her life as a composer.[1]

Kingdom Hearts was wildly successful, selling more than four million copies worldwide;[7] Shimomura's music was frequently cited as one of the highlights of the game, and the title track has been ranked as the fourth-best role-playing game title track of all time.[8][9] The soundtrack has led to an album of piano arrangements, the first non-Final Fantasy game from Square to receive one, and a second is forthcoming.[1] Kingdom Hearts was the last soundtrack that she worked on at Square. In 2002, Shimomura left Square to work as a freelancer. She has built on the work she did while at Square; since leaving she has composed or is composing music for five Kingdom Hearts games and three Mario RPGs. She has also worked on many other projects, such as Heroes of Mana, Luminous Arc 2, and Final Fantasy Versus XIII.[2]


After composing soundtracks to over 35 different games, Shimomura has become one of the biggest names in video game composition, and has been described as "the most famous female video game music composer in the world".[1] In March 2008, Shimomura's best works compilation album Drammatica: The Very Best of Yoko Shimomura was released containing her compositions from Kingdom Hearts and other games in a full orchestrated score. It includes music from Final Fantasy Versus XIII, Live A Live, Kingdom Hearts, Front Mission, Legend of Mana, and Heroes of Mana; Shimomura has stated that she chose music that was popular among fans and well-suited for orchestration, but had never been performed by an orchestra.[10] In a 2008 interview with Music4Games regarding the project, Shimomura commented that with the sheet music generated for the project, she would be interested in pursuing a live performance of Drammatica for fans if the opportunity arose.[10] On March 19, 2009 that wish was realized when it was announced that Arnie Roth would conduct the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra at the concert Sinfonia Drammatica in the Stockholm Concert Hall, which would combine music from the album with performances of Chris Hülsbeck's Symphonic Shades concert. The concert took place on August 4, 2009.[11] On March 27, 2007 Shimomura released her first non-video game album, Murmur, an album of vocal songs sung by Chata.[1]

Music written by Yoko Shimomura for Kingdom Hearts made up one fourth of the music of the Symphonic Fantasies concerts in September 2009 which were produced by the creators of the Symphonic Game Music Concert series and conducted by Arnie Roth.[12] Legend of Mana's title theme was also performed by the Australian Eminence Symphony Orchestra for its classical gaming music concert A Night in Fantasia 2007.[13]

Music from the original soundtrack of Legend of Mana has been arranged for the piano and published by DOREMI Music Publishing.[14] Two compilation books of music from the series have also been published as Seiken Densetsu Best Collection Piano Solo Sheet Music first and second editions, with the second including Shimomura's tracks from Legend of Mana. All songs in each book have been rewritten by Asako Niwa as beginning to intermediate level piano solos, though they are meant to sound as much like the originals as possible.[15] Additionally, piano sheet music from Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II has been published as music books by Yamaha Music Media.[16]

Musical style and influences

Shimomura lists Ludwig van Beethoven, Frédéric Chopin, and Maurice Ravel as some of her influences on her personal website.[2] She has also stated that she has enjoyed "lounge-style jazz" for a long time.[4] Despite these influences and her classical training, the diverse musical styles that she has used throughout her career and sometimes in the same soundtrack include "rock, electronica, oriental, ambient, industrial, pop, symphonic, operatic, chiptune, and more".[3][17] She draws inspiration for her songs from things in her life that move her emotionally, which she describes as "a beautiful picture, scenery, tasting something delicious, scents that bring back memories, happy and sad things... Anything that moves my emotion gives me inspiration".[3] Shimomura has also stated that she comes up with most of her songs when she is doing something that is "not part of [her] daily routine, like traveling."[3] Although her influences are mostly classical, she has said that in her opinion her "style has changed dramatically over the years, though the passion for music stays the same."[4] Shimomura has said that she believes that an important part of "the creative process behind music" is to "convey a subtle message, something that comes from your imagination and sticks with the listener, without being overly specific about what it means", rather than only writing simple themes with obvious messages.[4] Her favorite track that she has ever composed is "Dearly Beloved" from Kingdom Hearts.[1]


Video games


Other works

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f Shimomura, Yoko (2009-10-01). "Interview with Yoko Shimomura (September 2009)". Square Enix Music Online, GameMusic.pl. http://squareenixmusic.com/features/interviews/yokoshimomura.shtml. Retrieved 2009-10-09.  
  2. ^ a b c d e Shimomura, Yoko. "Profile" (in Japanese). Yoko Shimomura. http://www.midiplex.com/profile.html. Retrieved 2009-10-09.  
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Shimomura, Yoko. "RocketBaby's interview with Yoko Shimomura". RocketBaby.com. http://www.rocketbaby.net/interviews_yoko_shimomura.shtml. Retrieved 2009-10-09.  
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Jeriaska (2009-08-31). "Interview: Magical Planet - The Music of Hiroki Kikuta & Yoko Shimomura". Gamasutra. http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=24920. Retrieved 2009-10-09.  
  5. ^ Final Fight -G.S.M. CAPCOM 3-. Pony Canyon (1990-05-21). PCCB-00030.
  6. ^ Street Fighter II Image Album -G.S.M. CAPCOM-. Pony Canyon (1991-11-21). PCCB-00075.
  7. ^ "Kingdom Hearts tips scales at 4 million". GameSpot. 2004-03-17. http://www.gamespot.com/ps2/adventure/kingdomhearts/news.html?sid=6091627. Retrieved 2007-05-18.  
  8. ^ Smith, David (2002-09-16). "IGN Kingdom Hearts Review". IGN. http://ps2.ign.com/articles/371/371125p2.html. Retrieved 2007-08-14.  
  9. ^ Sullivan, Meghan (2006-08-08). "Top Ten RPG Title Tracks". IGN. http://music.ign.com/articles/724/724193p1.html. Retrieved 2007-08-07.  
  10. ^ a b "Yoko Shimomura drammatica Interview with Music4Games". Music4Games. http://www.music4games.net/Features_Display.aspx?id=269. Retrieved 2008-05-28.  
  11. ^ "Sinfonia Drammatica". Square Enix Music Online. 2009-08-13. http://www.squareenixmusic.com/features/reports/sinfoniadrammatica.shtml. Retrieved 2009-10-09.  
  12. ^ "Concert program for download". Symphonic Fantasies. 2009-09-01. http://www.symphonicfantasies.com/post/176557691/the-concert-program-for-symphonic-fantasies-is. Retrieved 2009-11-02.  
  13. ^ Shea, Cam (2007-03-03). "A Night in Fantasia 2007 - The Track List". IGN. http://cube.ign.com/articles/778/778175p1.html. Retrieved 2009-08-11.  
  14. ^ "Doremi Music Web Site" (in Japanese). DOREMI Music Publishing. http://www.doremi.co.jp/Doremi/ATC01.do. Retrieved 2008-09-14.  
  15. ^ "Mana Series :: Sheet Music Books". Square Enix Music Online. http://www.squareenixmusic.com/series/mana/sheetmusic.shtml. Retrieved 2009-08-11.  
  16. ^ "ヤマハミュージックメディア − 楽譜/雑誌/音楽ソフト −" (in Japanese). Yamaha Music Media. http://www.ymm.co.jp/. Retrieved 2008-09-14.  
  17. ^ "Yoko Shimomura :: Biography". Square Enix Music Online. http://www.squareenixmusic.com/composers/shimomura/biography.shtml. Retrieved 2009-10-09.  

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Yoko Shimomura (born October 19, 1967) is a Japanese video game music composer and musician.


External links

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Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Wikia Gaming, your source for walkthroughs, games, guides, and more!

Yoko Shimomura (下村陽子) is a Japanese video game music composer. Her most famous works are Kingdom Hearts, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, and Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. She has also done work on Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

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