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Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2011

Deaf composer pens Hiroshima opus

Kyodo

Composer Mamoru Samuragoch, whose parents are both hibakusha and who is completely deaf, last month released a CD of his Symphony No. 1 "Hiroshima," which he composed to express his hope for a world free of nuclear weapons.

The symphony, played by the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Naoto Otomo, comprises three movements and lasts roughly 80 minutes.

"I hope listeners will feel the darkness of hopelessness and the gentle light hope that follows," the 47-year-old Samuragoch said at a news conference in Hiroshima on July 21, a day after the CD's release.

Samuragoch, who lives in Yokohama, is a self-taught musician who has composed music for movies such as "Biohazard" and popular video games like "Onimusha" ("Demon Warrior").

While Samuragoch had suffered migraines since high school, they gradually worsened and at age 35 he completely lost his hearing.

But relying on his absolute pitch, or the ability to identify or play a musical note without external reference, he was able to continue writing music and finished Symphony No. 1 in 2003. The piece was played for the first time at a concert held to commemorate the meeting of the Group of Eight leaders in Hiroshima in 2008.

The symphony was released as a CD as part of the Nippon Columbia Co. record label's 100th anniversary celebrations.

For a while, it looked like the CD's release would be delayed by the chaos that ensued after the March 11 disasters and nuclear crisis.

However, it was eventually released July 20, ahead of the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945.

"The nuclear plant crisis has revived before our eyes the horrors of radiation that may have been forgotten in Japan, the only country to have been attacked with nuclear weapons," he said."

"Now it is high time that people in the world once again look at Hiroshima."



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