Toshio Hosokawa

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Toshio Hosokawa (2011)

Toshio Hosokawa ( Japanese 細 川 俊 夫, Hosokawa Toshio ; born October 23, 1955 in Hiroshima ) is a Japanese composer .

He is one of the most important contemporary composers in Japan. His compositions include orchestral works , solo concerts , chamber music works and film music , but also music for traditional Japanese instruments.


Toshio Hosokawa started playing the piano at the age of four. After initial studies (piano and composition) in Tokyo , he came to Berlin in 1976 to study composition with Isang Yun at the University of the Arts . From 1983 to 1986 he took up further studies with Klaus Huber at the Hochschule für Musik in Freiburg im Breisgau .

He first received wider attention from 1989 to 1998 when he was artistic director of the annual Akiyoshidai International Contemporary Music Seminar and Festival . In 1998 his opera Vision of Lear premiered at the Munich Biennale . He was then a guest composer and lecturer at almost all major contemporary music festivals . He also worked as a lecturer at the Darmstadt Summer Courses , in 2004 he was a member of the jury of the World Music Days of the International Society for New Music ISCM .

At the invitation of Walter Fink , he was the 18th composer in the annual composer portrait of the Rheingau Music Festival in 2008 . He introduced himself with chamber music and the oratorio Voiceless Voice in Hiroshima .

Toshio Hosokawa is married and now lives in Nagano , Japan.


Hosokawa says that in European music a note is only a part of a whole, while in Japanese music a note represents a landscape, a sound is always followed by a pause, then another sound and a pause.

He characterizes his music as follows: "It's like walking slowly through a garden ."

After studying European music, he began to be interested in traditional Japanese music, an understanding of which he had only gained through studying in Europe.

Awards and honors (selection)


  • Voiceless Voice in Hiroshima for soloists, speakers, choir, tape (ad lib.) And orchestra (1989/2001)
  • Sternlose Nacht for 2 sopranos, two speakers, choir and orchestra, with texts by Gershom Scholem , Masao Masinushi and Georg Trakl . Premiere: 2010, Baden-Baden
For orchestra
  • Distant Landscape I (1987)
  • Distant Landscape II (1996)
  • Distant Landscape III (1996)
  • Wind from the Ocean (2003)
  • Woven Dreams (2010)
  • Concerto for Horn and Orchestra - Moment of Blossoming (2011)
For ensembles
  • Voyage I – VI (1997–2002)
  • Somon-ka (2001-2002)
Chamber music
  • Winter bird (1978)
  • Sen I – VII (1984–1995)
  • Vertical Time Study I – III (1992–1994)
  • For Walter (2010) for saxophone and piano, percussion ad lib., For Walter Fink
  • The Water of Lethe (2016) for piano quartet , commissioned for the Fauré Quartet

Choral works:

  • Tenebrae (1993)
  • The Bottom of My Heart, Infinitely Deep (2004)
  • Two flower songs

Music for traditional Japanese instruments:

  • New Seed of Contemplation (1985/1995)
  • Garden at First Light (2003)
Film music
  • 1990: The Sting of Death (Shi no Toge) - Director: Kōhei Oguri
  • 1996: The Sleeping Man (Nemuru Otoko) - Director: Kōhei Oguri

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Programs of the ISCM World Music Days from 1922 until today
  2. ^ Wiener Konzerthaus News. Accessed April 28, 2017.
  3. Fifth Roche commission to compose a composition goes to Toshio Hosokawa ( memento from September 11, 2012 in the web archive ), report on from August 29, 2008
  4. Goethe medals go to Cameroon, Japan and China , report on from May 19, 2021.
  5. Toshio Hokosawa: On forces of nature and human arrogance . In: Program of the Hamburg State Opera from January 24, 2016, pp. 4–5
  6. Information on the opera ( memento from June 28, 2018 in the Internet Archive ) on the Stuttgart State Opera website
  7. Voiceless Voice in Hiroshima on
  8. FAZ of October 12, 2010, page 33: Dark Nights
  9. Toshio Hosokawa "For Walter" for saxophone, piano and percussion (2010) (PDF; 3.2 MB) Schott . 2010. Archived from the original on March 6, 2016. Retrieved on August 5, 2010.


  • Walter-Wolfgang Sparrer: Toshio Hosokawa. in: Contemporary composers. Ed. Text + criticism, München 1992ff.
  • Toshio Hosokawa, Walter-Wolfgang Sparrer: Silence and sound, shadow and light. Conversations. Cloud Publishing House, Hofheim 2012.
  • Reinhart Meyer-Kalkus: Composed voices. Toshio Hosokawa's vocal compositions. In: Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, 169.2008, no. 1, pp. 62–65.
  • Basil Rogger (Ed.): Roche Commissions Toshio Hosokawa, on behalf of Roche and Carnegie Hall New York, the Cleveland Orchestra and the Lucerne Festival, Lucerne 2010. Program book in English and German.
  • Sparrer: Toshio Hosokawa's music in its relationship to Japanese tradition. in: Jörn Peter Hiekel (Ed.): Ins Offene? New music and nature. Darmstadt contributions to new music. Schott, Mainz 2014, pp. 132–157 (= published by the Institute for New Music and Music Education Darmstadt , Volume 54).

Web links