Born in Tokyo in 1951, Isao Matsushita obtained both his undergraduate and graduate degrees at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, where he studied composition under Professors Hiroaki Minami and Toshiro Mayuzumi.
Matsushita received a prize in the 1976 Mainichi Music Composition ( Japan ) with his orchestral compositon "Diffusion." In 1979, he travelled to West Berlin as a scholarship student of the West German Government Commission for Academic Exchange (Deutsch Akademisch Austauschdienst, DAAD) where he studied composition under Professor Isang Yun at the Hochschule der Kunst , Berlin .
In 1982, his "Alabaster" for three orchestras was given its premiere performance at the World Music Days of the International Society of Contemporary Music (ISCM) Festival in Graz , Austria . Since then, Matsushita has participated in numerous music festivals, including the Darmstadt Institute on Contemporary Music 1982, the Horizontal-Festival Berlin 1985, the European Music Days Copenhagen 1985, and the Invention Festival Berlin 1985. Since 1983, Matsushita has led the Ensemble KOCHI Berlin.
His composition Toki-No-Ito I (Threads of Time) for String Quartet took first prize in the Moenchengladbach International Composition Competition in West Germany in 1985. Upon returning to Japan in 1986, Matsushita gained the seventh annual Irino Prize with Toki-No-Ito II for Piano and Orchestra . In addition to the planning of the "Berlin-Tokyo-Matsumoto: Festival of Contemporary German and Japanese Music," he has been involved up to the present in a number of music festivals. "Optical Time," performances of Isao Matsushita's works, have been held ever since 1987. In 1988, he travelled to the U.S. for performances of Ko-Kyo and other of his works, along with a calligraphic performance in San Francisco - he also presented a lecture at the University of California at Berkeley .
In October 1988, Matsushita's Toki-No-Ito II for Piano and Orchestra was selected for performance at the opening concert of the World Music Days festival of the ISCM in Hong Kong . In December 1993 his Toki-No-Ito I for String Quartet was selected for performance at the World Music Days festival of the ISCM in Mexico . At present, he is active composing for chamber, orchestra, chorus, theater works, film, etc., as well as conducting. Matsushita is also Professor of Shobi Gakuen College and a Lecturer at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music.
In 1989, a collection of Isao Matsushita's compositions " KOCHI " was released on a CD by Fontec (FOCD3248). His music is published by Ongaku-No-Tomo Publishing House (ONT).
Kochi for 3 Clarinets
This piece was written in 1983 for the premiere recital of the Ensemble Kochi, Berlin, which was made up of composers, performers, painters, and calligraphers of both Japanese and German nationality resident in West Berlin. The ensemble has attempted to express the fusion of sound and the visual sense in space, sometimes employing joint presentations by artists of differing genres, and sometimes relying on solo presentations by individual artists.
In the contemporary world, the perception of space has changed, and contemporary music also functions as an important element in the rethinking of both time and space. In Kochi, I have endeavoured to present the idea of 'optical time' in my own terms, using the space where the varying members of the group gather as its vehicle. As the meaning of the title suggests, sounds are spun out of the wind, and drawn into a stream where they interact and interfere with one another. After a cadenza for solo B-flat clarinet, the three clarinets build a phase or topological space in which they perform multiple-note sounds. From the whispering of the east wind, performed on two A clarinets (in which the voices of the performers are used), the piece leads to a close in which sound disappears into the wind. By employing the systematic temporal calculation of 1:2:3 throughout the whole of the piece, I have attempted to convert the concept of optical time into structural terms.
a work for solo clarinet (1989), continues the Kochi series.
Quartet for the Glory of Vice
for clarinet, violin, cello, and piano was composed in the summer of 1988 as music for the motion picture, "The Glory of Vice." "I came to compose this, not simply as music for the screen, but as an independent musical work with an image based on the film's script, partly at the request of the director Akio Jissoji. This piece is based on a Buddhist doctrine expressed in the film: mutually reciprocal elements exist in the same place at the same time. I gave each movement a title based on this doctrine. The entire piece is made up of six movements; each movement is also formed from the same ratio of length as the composition as a whole."
I. Time of an Illusory Image and a Real Image; II. Space of the Future and the Past; III. Structure of Creation and Destruction; IV. Expansion of Infinity and Finity; V. Between Happiness and Unhappiness; VI. The Sameness of Vice and Virtue
duration = 35 minutes; published by Ongaku No Tomo Sha Corp. (1989)