"About Shuko Mizuno"
Learn About Shuko Mizuno
Find About Shuko Mizuno's Life & Career
Shuko Mizuno - About
A prolific and experimental Japanese composer, Shuko Mizuno was born on February 24th, 1934 in the prefecture of Tokushima, Japan, one of four prefectures that comprise a major island in the southwest. His childhood spanned a time of enormous change, beginning in pre-World War II Japan. As a young boy, he lived through the volatility of World War II, then the Nankai Earthquake of 1946 which caused damage throughout the area. By the time of Mizuno's adolescence, however, Tokushima's peaceful years included inaugurations of new cities, a university and the prefectural library. Mizuno blossomed in a culturally rich environment that encouraged his musical gifts, as evidenced in the prefecture's annual cultural dance festival, the Awa Odori, which has been held for centuries and attended by millions.
In his twenties, Mizuno launched his formal musical studies. He began at Tokyo Geijutsu Daigaku (Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music) in 1958, culminating in a master's degree in 1963. His university studies included a passionate time of experimentation with compositional improvisation.
Upon completing his studies at Geijutsu Daigaku, Mizuno taught at Chiba University from 1968 to 1971, where he also conducted the Chiba University Orchestra. Chiba University houses the only specialized faculty of music in Japan. The university has always encouraged instruction in both Western and traditional Japanese music, a perfect fit for Mizuno. He then returned for a period of time to the Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music as a lecturer where he shared his interest in improvisational composition. Mizuno eventually traveled to the United States in the 70s to study jazz, and its influences have resonated in his compositions for decades.
Upon his return to Japan, Mizuno developed his illustrious compositional career, creating over one hundred works which showcase an impressive range of musical styles and his gifts as a composer. His proclivity for improvisational experimentation has earned him multiple commissions from the Japan Opera Foundation. The Tokyo Symphony Orchestra regularly performs his instrumental works. In addition to composing, Mizuno has conducted Japan's premier orchestras. He is considered integral to the Japanese contribution to improvisational music and is a member of the Japan Federation of Composers, Inc. Clearly, Mizuno's body of work over the last fifty years signals him as one of Japan's great 20th-century composers.