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Yuji Takahashi was born in Tokyo in 1938, where he studied composition with Minao Shibata (柴田南雄) and Roh Ogura (小倉朗), and piano with Hiroshi Ito. In 1961, he made a sensational debut at a modern music festival sponsored by the Nippon Broadcasting Company, substituting at the last minute for the regularly scheduled soloist. This marked his emergence as a leading exponent of new piano music. The start of his career as a composer can be traced to 1962 and a piece for electronics and twelve instruments. At about the same time, along with fellow composers Toshi Ichiyanagi (一柳慧) and Kenji Kobayashi, he organized an ensemble for new music, the New Directions group.

Sponsored by the Ford Foundation, Takahashi lived in Berlin from 1963 to 1965, where he studied with Iannis Xenakis (his 1997 essay “Xenakis in Kyoto”, thoughts on Xenakis’ music, ideas and teaching, can be found on his website ). In 1966, supported by a grant from the J. D. Rockefeller III. Fund, he came to New York to compose music using computers, and was subsequently a highly visible and influential participant in new music activities in the U. S., with appearances at the Berkshire Music Center, the Ravinia Music Festival, the Stratford (Ontario) Festival and The Center for the Creative and Performing Arts at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

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