Composer Toshio Hosokawa receives prestigious Goethe Medal

Composer Toshio Hosokawa is one of this year’s recipients of the Goethe Medal, becoming the first recipient of Japanese musical circles.

The prestigious award is presented by the Goethe-Institut, a public cultural organization founded by Germany, to honor contributions to international cultural exchanges.

“I was able to discover a unique musical world by immersing myself in the forest of German art,” Hosokawa, 65, said at an awards ceremony on September 30 in Tokyo. “I am grateful for the generosity of Germany who encouraged me to create music by stepping away from simplistic Westernization and going back to Japanese origins.”

Born in Hiroshima, Hosokawa traveled to Berlin at the age of 20 to study music under the tutelage of Isang Yun, a great composer born in Korea under Japanese colonial rule.

He is one of the modern composers frequently commissioned by music festivals and international theaters, including the Aix-en-Provence Festival and the Salzburg Festival.

Hosokawa’s opera “Stilles Meer”, written and directed by Oriza Hirata, on the theme of Fukushima Prefecture after the great earthquake in eastern Japan in 2011, premiered in Hamburg, Germany , in January 2016.

The Goethe Medal was also awarded to Japanese writer Yoko Tawada in 2005.

Past music recipients include Peter Eotvos and Daniel Barenboim.

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