Michiko Hirayama

was born in Tokyo in 1923; her parents were lawyers, and she grew up surrounded by scientists and university professors. Another decisive influence on Michiko Hirayama was her contact with the composer Fumio Hayasaka, who was Toru Takemitsu’s teacher and a leading Japanese composer. After studying music she moved to Rome in the early 1950s. As luck would have it, she met Giacinto Scelsi, who was interested in the high value she placed on microtonality in her interpretations. Hirayama in turn was fascinated by the freedom of his improvisation and its undeniable philosophic background. The collaboration between Hirayama and Scelsi began in 1959, and in 1961 she performed her first vocal work by him at the Festival Nuova Consonanza: Hô for solo voice. Numerous pieces for solo voice or voice and instruments would follow.

The works Giacinto Scelsi wrote for Michiko Hirayama include: ‹Hô› (1960) Cinque melodie per soprano solo / ‹Taiagarù” (1962) Cinque invocazioni per soprano solo / ‹Khoom› (1962) Sette episodi di una storia d’amore e di morte non scritta, in un paese lontano per soprano e 6 strumenti / ‹Pranam I› (1972) Alla memoria di Jani e Sia Christou per voce, 12 strumenti e nastro / ‹Sauh I›, ‹Sauh II› (1973) Due liturgie per due voci femminili o una voce con nastro / ‹Sauh III›, ‹Sauh IV› (1973) per quattro voci femminili (o multipli) / ‹Three Latin Prayers› (1970: Ave Maria, Pater noster, Alleluja) per voce virile o femminile sola o con coro all’unisono / ‹Canti del Capricorno› (1962–72) Venti canti per voce femminile o voce con strumento(i).