Akira Senju is widely regarded as one of the most prominent Japanese composers living today.
Senju was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1960. After having studied in the Faculty of Technology at Keio University, he decided to study composition formally and entered the Tokyo University of the Arts, where he studied with Hiroaki Minami and Toshiro Mayuzumi. He completed his master's degree in composition with highest honors. The work for his completion "EDEN for computer" received recognition and was purchased by the university and became part of the permanent collection of the University Art Museum.
Senju started his career as a composer, arranger, and music producer while in school, and since then has been remarkably active and prolific across genres. Probably best known for his orchestral works, he has written wide range of music from concert pieces to soundtracks to operas to pop music. Among them are "Four Seasons" for violin and string orchestra (2004), commissioned by Tokyo International Airport; Japan Symphonic Poem (2005), commissioned by NHK; Opera "Sumidagawa" (2007), commissioned by Tokyo Bunka Kaikan; Choral Suite "Haha Naru Mono e" (2009); Opera "Manyo-syu" (2009, 2011), commissioned by Tokyo Bunka Kaikan; "Calendar Suite" (2015), "Glorious Museum" (2016, Official Theme of Kunst Historisches Museum Wien & TBS 10Years Partnership). His works have been performed in various concerts not only in Japan but also overseas, including two concerts held in Hungary in 2017, which focused exclusively on his works. His newest musical theatre work "Into the White Night" was premiered in Shanghai (sung in Chinese) in 2018 with great success and is holding its nationwide tour in China from 2019 spring.
Senju has also scored numerous soundtracks, including films "226," "The Mystery of Rampo," "Waga Kokoro no Ginga Tetsudo," "Aiwo Kouhito," "Yomigaeri," "Hinokio," "Nada Soso"; TV dramas "Ienakiko," "Seikimatsu no Uta," "Honmamon," "Suna No Utsuwa," "Fūrinkazan (NHK Taiga Drama)," "GOLD," "Japanese Americans," "Kokoro no Ito," "Ashio kara Kita Onna," "Leaders," "Ryusei Wagon," "Flowers for Algernon," "Red Cross -Onna Tachi no Akagami-"; TV documentary "Across the Era," "Nihon Eizo no 20-Seiki," "The Mystery of Stradivarius," "Louvre, La Beauté Eternelle," "Heisei-shi"; TV show "Iron Chef," "Mirai Isan Future Heritage"; TV animation series "Mobile Suit Victory Gundam," "The Snow Queen," "Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood," "Valvrave the Liberator," "Battery"; animated films "Tales of Vesperia: The First Strike," "Magic Tree House"; among many others.
Senju's orchestral works have been recorded by many distinguished orchestras worldwide, which include the Philharmonia Orchestra, Slovak Philharmonic, Cracow Radio Symphony Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Moscow International Symphony Orchestra, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, NHK Symphony Orchestra, Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, New Japan Philharmonic, and conducted by such prestigious conductors as Vaclav Neumann, Charles Dutoit, Seiji Ozawa, to name a few. He has also collaborated with various internationally renowned artists across the boundaries, including Kurt Elling, Jane Birkin, Sissel, Zamfir and Libera.
Senju has released dozens of solo and soundtrack albums on virtually all the major labels in Japan, including Universal Music, EMI, Sony Music, and so on. His music has attracted many awards and prizes, including three Japan Academy Prizes for Music (in 1997, 1999 and 2004).
Senju is also an active lecturer and educator. He is currently a project professor at the Tokyo University of the Arts, and the supervisor of Senju Lab, a crossover collaboration workshop for various creators in the Tokyo University of the Arts. He is also serving as a distinguished guest professor of Tokyo College of Music. Previous engagements include an instructor at the Tokyo University of the Arts (1991-93), a visiting lecturer at Keio University (1994-95, 2006), a visiting professor at the Tokyo College of Music (2007-14), and a visiting professor at the Tokyo University of the Arts (2015-16). He has appeared on many culture programs on TV and other media, including host appearances on a popular weekly educational TV program, "Nichiyo Bijutsukan (Sunday Art Museum)" on NHK (2011-13).