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Chihara, Paul (Seiko)

univ calif composer angeles

Chihara, Paul (Seiko), American composer, arranger, and teacher; b. Seattle, July 9, 1938. As an American of Japanese descent, he was relocated with his family to Minadkoka, Idaho, after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. He received piano lessons as a child, and then studied English literature at the Univ. of Wash. (B.A., 1960) and at Cornell Univ. (M.A., 1961; D.M.A., 1965), where he also received instruction in composition from Robert Palmer. He also studied composition with Boulanger in Paris (1962–63), Pepping in Berlin (1965–66), and Schuller at the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood (summer 1966). From 1966 to 1974 he taught at the Univ. of Calif, at Los Angeles. After serving as the Andrew W. Mellon Prof, at the Calif. Inst. of Technology (1975), he taught at the Calif. Inst. of the Arts (1976). He was the first composer-in-residence of the Los Angeles Chamber Orch. under Neville Marriner (1971–74), and also composer-in-residence of the San Francisco Ballet (1979–87). In 1963 he won the Lili Boulanger Memorial Award. Chihara returned to the Univ. of Calif, at Los Angeles in 1998, becoming a prof, in 2000. In 2000 he directed the light projections for perf. with the Milwaukee Sym. Orch. under Andreas Delfs of Scriabin’s Prometheus . Chihara has explored serial techniques, occasionally adopting aleatory procedures. An oriental influence is heard in a number of his scores, and in his choral works he follows the time-honored polyphonic methods of the Renaissance. In addition to his many concert scores and works for film and television, he has also worked on Broadway, arranging music for Sophisticated Ladies (1980) and composing music for James Clavell’s SHOGUN, the Musical (1990).

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