Play ‘Wind’ Music

Joe Hisaishi, famed for moving cinema soundtracks, says it’s most important for a composer to maintain a pure, sincere heart, and he plays his unforgettable music in concert next weekend in Shanghai.

Japan’s great composer of contemporary cinema, Joe Hisaishi, arrives in town next weekend to play his renowned soundtrack for Hayao Miyazaki’s animated movie "Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind."

"The opportunities to write soundtracks for South Korean and Hong Kong movies last year inspired me to stage Asian tour concerts," says Hisaishi, who released an album with the theme of "Asia" this year.

His Asian concerts have two parts – an orchestral part and a piano recital. Hisaishi will perform both his popular soundtracks and his newest piano compositions as a pianist/conductor with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra.

After an Internet vote to find out which songs are most popular in Shanghai, he decide to play "Legend of Wind" from "Nausicaa," "Last Summer" from "Spirited Away" and "The Princess Mononoke Symphony Suite," which received the most votes.

The 56-year-old composer started his career as a composer of modern music when he was still a student at the Kunitachi College of Music. He released his first album, "Information," in 1982 and was recommended by a record company to create the Image Album for "Nausicaa" in 1983; it was being made into a movie.

Miyazaki was so impressed with the Image Album that he often played it during the movie production and strongly recommended Hisaishi for the soundtrack.

"Personally my favorite movie is Miyazaki’s ‘Nausicaa’ and Takeshi Kitano’s ‘Sonatine’," says Hisaishi, who has also composed the beautiful and unforgettable music for "Laputa," "Kiki," "Porco Rosso," "Mononoke Hime," "Spirited Away" and "Howl’s Moving Castle."

"I usually read the script first to understand what the movie wants to say before I start composing," says Hisaishi. "Like people walking in different speeds, different directors use different speeds of scenes and expressions.

"Movie is a business and you have to bear in mind the market when composing soundtracks. But you don’t always have to write sad music for a sad movie and happy music for a happy one. If you completely follow the scenes to do music, that is not real creation," he adds.

The composer was once invited to write a soundtrack for restored print of Buster Keaton’s "The General." He even had the honor to conduct the Cannes Symphony Orchestra for a film concert of this piece during the 2004 Cannes Film Festival.

"The actors in the movie don’t talk and there’s no other sound, so my music plays a leading role. It’s a great pleasure for a musician," recalls Hisaishi. "I think the most important quality of a composer is to maintain a pure, sincere heart. As an adult, never lose curiosity and sensitivity to life."

Date: December 15-16, 7:15pm
Venue: Shanghai Concert Hall, 523 Yan’an Rd E.
Tickets: 100-580 yuan
Tel: 021-6217 3055

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