Akutagawa, Yasushi, noted Japanese composer and conductor; b. Tokyo, July 12, 1925; d. there, Jan. 31, 1989. He received training in piano, conducting, and composition (from Hashimoto and Ifukube) at the Tokyo Academy of Music (1943–49). In subsequent years, he devoted himself mainly to composition while making occasional appearances as a conductor. He was president of the Japanese Federation of Composers (1980–89) and the Japanese Performing Rights Soc. (1981–89). His orch. music was widely disseminated outside his homeland. His father was the famous Japanese author of Rashomon.
DRAMATIC Opera: Kurai Kagami (Dark Mirror; Tokyo, March 27, 1960; rev. ver. as Orpheus in Hiroshima, NHK-TV, Aug. 27, 1967). Ballet The Dream of the Lake (Tokyo, Nov. 6, 1950); Paradise Lost (Tokyo, March 17, 1951); Kappa (July 21, 1957); Spider’s Web (Tokyo, March 17, 1969); also film scores. ORCH.: Prelude (1947); 3 Symphonic Movements (Tokyo, Sept. 26, 1948); Music (1950); Triptyque for Strings (1953); Sinfonia (1953); Divertimento (1955); Symphony for Children: Twin Stars for Narrator and Orch. (1957); Ellora Symphony (1958); Negative Picture for Strings (1966); Ostinato Sinfonica (Tokyo, May 25, 1967); Concerto Ostinato for Cello and Orch. (Tokyo, Dec. 16, 1969); Ballata Ostinata (1970); Rhapsody (Tokyo, Oct. 4, 1971); River of Poipa and Tree of Poipa for Narrator and Orch. (1979); La Princesse de la Lune (1982); Sounds for Organ and Orch. (1986). CHAMBER: Music for the Strings for Double String Quartet and Double Bass (1962). VOCAL: Hymn for the 21st Century for Chorus, Brass, and Orch. (1983); Inochi for Chorus and Orch. (1988).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire