Joe Hisaishi was born in Nagano, Japan. He started to show his interest in minimal music when he was a student at Kunitachi College of Music, and started his career as a comtemporary music composer. Presentation of "MKWAJU" in 1981 and the release of his first album "Information" in the following year was the kickoff of his career as a solo artist. Since his debut, he has released nearly 40 solo albums, including "MinimalRhythm"(2009), "Melodyphony"(2010) and the latest solo album "MinimalRhythm 3"(2017).
Starting with "Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind" (1984), Hisaishi has produced music for 10 Hayao Miyazaki films, including "My Neighbor Totoro"(1988) and "The Wind Rises"(2013). He also composed the music for "HANA-BI"(1998) directed by Takeshi Kitano, "Departures"(2008) directed by Yojiro Takita, "Villain"(2010) directed by Sang-il Lee, "The Tale of Princess Kaguya"(2013) directed by Isao Takahata, "What A Wonderful Familly!"series(2016/2017/2018) directed by Yoji Yamada.
He has collaborated on the music production of nearly 80 films at home and abroad. His works have won many awards including several Outstanding Achievement in Music prizes of Japan Academy Film Prize, "Spirited Away" (won the Outstanding Music in an Animated Feature Production at the 30th Annie Awards), Korean film "Welcome to Dongmakgol" (won the Best Original Film Music Award of the 4th Korean Film Award) and Chinese film "The Postmodern Life of My Aunt" (won the Best Original Film Score of the 27th Hong Kong Film Award), "Our Time Will Come" (won the Best Original Music of the 12th Asian Film Award).
In 2001, he made his debut as a film director with "Quartet", taking charge of the theme music and co-writing the script. The film was officially invited for the World Competition section of the Montreal World Film Festival.
Hisaishi also is well-reputed as a skilled performer, ranging from piano soloist to orchestra conductor. In May 2004 at Cannes International Film Festival, Hisaishi became the first Japanese musician who conducted an orchestra, performing "The General" (representative work of Buster Keaton) at the film concert. At the concert "Joe Hisaishi in Budokan" held in August 2008, he made sensational accomplishment by leading a large group of orchestra, choirs and marching bands totaling 1,200 musicians while himself conducting and playing piano. Since 2017, he also starts to present world tour "Joe Hisaishi Symphonic Concert: Music from the Studio Ghibli Films of Hayao Miyazaki" (visiting Paris, Melbourne, San Jose, Los Angeles, New York, Prague and Brussels & Lyon, etc.).
In July 2004, he assumed a post of first music director of New Japan Philharmonic "World Dream Orchestra (W.D.O.)", newly formed orchestra project by New Japan Philharmonic. In September 2014, he has been working as a producer and conductor, and holding contemporary music concerts called "JOE HISAISHI presents MUSIC FUTURE", which concert series earned him enormous popularity and records as a live album. In July 2019, he also started leading a concert series "Future Orchestra Classics (FOC)" and released Beethoven Symphony Box CD that was given "Special Prize" from 57th Record Academy Award Japan 2019. In recently years, he works as a classical music conductor and also composed new works in a contemporary music style, including "Contrabass Concerto"(2015), "TRI-AD for Large Orchestra"(2016), "The East Land Symphony"(2016), "Asian Symphony"(2017) and "ad Universum"(2019).
Hisaishi has collaborated with a wide range of artists including Philip Grass, David Lang, Mischa Maisky, and orchestra Hong Kong Philharmonic, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, among others.
Hisaishi serves as an Invited Professor at Kunitachi College of Music. In 2009, he received the Medal of Honor with Purple Ribbon by the government of Japan. In 2016-2018 seasons, he assumed the Artistic Director of Nagano City Arts Center.
His unique inputs to the concerts as a contemporary musical composer is highly appreciated and his continuous enthusiasm for musical activities that go beyond ordinary creative work is anticipated worldwide.
Joe Hisaishi, the celebrated Japanese composer behind some of the world's best-loved anime films, is releasing a brand new album on 21st February entitled Dream Songs: The Essential Joe Hisaishi – a collection of recordings from the composer himself. That same day, 30 albums from the composer's extensive catalogue will be released on streaming services worldwide for the first time ever. This marks a major milestone for Hisaishi and is the result of an international collaboration between Decca Gold and UMG Japan.
The new album celebrates Hisaishi's diverse and distinguished catalogue of compositions spanning his nearly 40-year career, including his work with acclaimed filmmakers Hayao Miyazaki and ‘Beat' Takeshi Kitano as well as selections from Studio Ghibli classics Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Howl's Moving Castle and more. Hisaishi's first official music video to ‘One Summer's Day' (from Spirited Away) was welcomed by fans, having reached one million views in the first month alone.