Toshiko Akiyoshi interview

Interviewee biography: 

Legendary jazz pianist, composer/arranger, bandleader, and Berklee alumna Toshiko Akiyoshi ('59 H'98) is a major figure in jazz composition. Inducted into the Jazz Hall of Fame in 1999, her accolades include 14 Grammy nominations, the 2007 Jazz Master Fellowship, the 1986 New York City Liberty Award, and being the first woman to win the Best Arranger and Composer awards in DownBeat magazine’s Readers Poll. As Berklee's first Japanese student, she attended the College on a full scholarship, and while in Boston her teachers included Herb Pomeroy, Madame Chaloff, and Richard Bobbitt. Her studies with Bobbitt exposed her to Joseph Schillinger's System of Musical Composition, which had a lasting impact on her compositional approach, known for its distinctive textures and for its Japanese influence. This interview was recorded on the occasion of her performance at the 2007 BeanTown Jazz Festival.


Back to Top