Legendary American Composer in Japan

Hello everybody!  It has been a while since our last blog post, but we hope you are enjoying spring and preparing for the hot summer ahead. 

Today, our topic is the influential music composer, Terry Riley.  Most of you probaly don’t recognize this name, but he has inspired many great musicians around the world including Pete Townshend from the Who, Ryuichi Sakamoto, and many more.  He is currently 88 years old and will turn 89 next month, but age hasn’t stopped him from performing, recording, and teaching.  Surprisingly, he now lives near the town of Kobuchizawa in Yamanashi Prefecture.  

At the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in February 2020, Riley came to Japan to perform on Sado Island in Niigata Prefecture.  He only planned on staying in Japan for about 6 weeks, but it became too dangerous to travel in March of 2020.  Therefore, Riley decided to stay in Japan until the situation became safer.  

During that time, Riley started to realize that rural Japan was extremely beautiful, and he became inspired by the nature and culture of local towns.  He continued to write music while enjoying the countryside.  After several months of this new lifestyle, he made a very bold decision to continue living in Japan… until his death! 

He eventually moved to Yamanashi in order to access Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka more easily but also enjoy beautiful mountains and serene, natural beauty.  Riley often performs and collaborates with artists in Japan and has began teaching many people in Japan his philosophy about music.  It seems to be a great exchange- Japan inspires Riley and Riley inspires Japanese people.  

The composer is currently healthy, and we all hope that he has many years left to share his musical knowledge and enjoy the culture of Japan.  Please follow this link below to see a legendary performance from Riley in the 1970’s. Terry Riley – Shri Camel – Holland Festival 1977Concert starts at 07:51, after an interview by John Bird.www.youtube.com

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