Ask any Japanese adult under 35 what their favorite childhood movie is and they’ll most likely mention My Neighbor Totoro, the film by legendary animation film producer Hayao Miyazaki. You’ll see in their faces how they get warm fuzzies just thinking about it.
No great film is without a great musical score and soundtrack. Japanese composer Joe Hisaishi wrote the music for the 1988 movie, and has continued to collaborate with Miyazaki of Studio Ghibli ever since, establishing his name as a composer in Asia. (Scroll down the article and hit play on one of his concert links to listen while you read.)
Thousands of Taiwanese crowded to hear Hisaishi’s concert and simultaneous screenings in Tainan City on May 3, according to the Want China Times. “Some 1,800 people packed the concert hall at the Tainan Municipal Cultural Center, while thousands more watched live projections of the concert on large screens outside the hall.”
Apple Daily estimated that over 10,000 people attended the Saturday concert, which ranks it as one of the largest ever classical concerts for the city. The same concert was performed in Taipei on May 2.
Hisaishi conducted the Vienna State Opera Chorus, Taiwan National Choir, and Taiwan’s Evergreen Symphony Orchestra for the concert. Want China Times wrote:
“The musicians performed Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 (the Choral) and two pieces composed by Hisaishi—Orbis for mixed choir, pipe organ, and orchestra, as well as The Wind Rises suite no. 2 for balalaika, bayan, guitar, and small orchestra.”
The Wind Rises is an award-winning animated Miyasaki movie, and the soundtrack was composed by Hisaishi. Suite no. 2 is a 23-minute extended version from the soundtrack. Other movie scores Hisashi is known for include Miyazaki’s popular films Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Ponyo.
Watch these videos of Joe Hisaishi conducting orchestras, recording, and music from his movie soundtracks. Enjoy!
Here’s an incredible video of the 25 Year Studio Gibli Concert in 2013:
Here’s Hisaishi conduction his arrangement for the World Dream Orchestra:
Here’s the Recording of “Departures” by Joe Hisaishi, so beautiful:
Here’s Hisaishi conducting his awesome A Wish To The Moon Concert in 2003: