World Projects Faculty Member

Toshio Akiyama

Internationally renowned Japanese composer and conductor, Toshio Akiyama, was born in 1929 in Ōmiya, Saitama Prefecture. He studied at the Musashino Academia Musicae in Tokyo and at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. He then taught at the Sakuragi Middle School in Ōmiya and conducted the wind orchestra there. Success with this orchestra inspired him to complete his studies in 1973 and 1974 at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, and at the University of Michigan in the United States.

He is considered the leading wind orchestra conductor in Japan and has been in great demand as a guest conductor in the USA and throughout the world. He was vice president of the Kantō Band Association from 1961 to 1973 and vice president of the All Japan Band Association from 1973 to 1983. From 1993 to 1997 he was President of the Japanese Band Directors Association, of which he has been Honorary President since 2003. From 1968 to 1999 he was a faculty member of the Musashino Academia Musicae and from 1958 to 2000 he was chief conductor of the famed Sony Symphonic Wind Orchestra.

Over the years, he has been honored by many of the world’s leading wind band organizations including appointed an honorary member of the American Bandmasters Association (1983), elected to the Board of Directors of the World Association for Symphonic Band and Ensembles (WASBE) in 1995 and made an Honorary Life Member, elected President of the Asian Pacific Band Directors Association in 1996, and in 1999 was made an Honorary Member of the All Japan Band Association.

Maestro Akiyama is currently a musical and cultural advisor to the city of Hamamatsu and is music director and artistic director of the Omiya Wind Symphony, the Japanese partner orchestra of the German wind orchestra Westfalen Winds. In February 2017, he visited Germany with the Omiya Wind Symphony as part of an international cultural exchange between Germany and Japan, which Westfalen Winds initiated in 2015 with the support of the Goethe-Institut and the Federal Foreign Office. The Omiya Wind Symphony under the direction of Toshio Akiyama together with their German partner orchestra Westfalen Winds performed to great acclaim in the Düsseldorf area.

Mr. Akiyama has written several works for wind band including Japanese Songs and Saitama Kokutai March. His published writings include Band Index 552 and 125 Years of Band Activities in Japan which was presented at the 7th WASBE Conference in Hamamatsu, Japan in 1995. In addition, Mr. Akiyama has been a tireless promoter of the Japanese wind band oeuvre and to this end, he has campaigned for the establishment, distribution and musical development of the wind orchestra in Japan and is known in as the “godfather” of the Japanese wind music movement.

Performance Tours

Music Festivals

New Music