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Masaaki Hirao, Composer of ‘Galaxy Express 999’ Passes Away

Posted in: Anime News

The anime music industry has lost another great maestro— singer and composer Masaaki Hirao passed away on Friday. He died at a Tokyo hospital at age 79 due to pneumonia.

Hirao was notable for composing the theme song of Galaxy Express 999. He has also worked on the theme songs for anime films like Galaxy Express 999: Glass no Clair and Captain Harlock: Mystery of the Arcadia. Aside from composing songs and music for the anime industry, he has contributed for the Takarazuka Revue, an all-women musical theater troupe. He composed the music for the The Rose of Versailles musicals.

His debut as a singer began in 1958 as member of “Rockabilly Sannin Otoko” along with Keijiro Yamashita and Mickey Curtis. His first work as a composer began in 1966 as he composed songs for Michiyo Azu and Akira Fuse. He was then awarded in the Japan Record Awards a year later.

Below are videos of some of Hirao’s compositions and songs:

In 2002, he established Love & Harmony, a non-profit organization that aims to donate musical instruments and organize performances intended for the disable and elderly people. Aside from being a singer and a composer, he also opened up the Hirao Masaaaki music school where singers like Seiko Matsuda, Hiroko Moriguchi, Ayumi Nakamura, Yoko Hatanaka, and Mayo Kawasaki were trained. He is also a member of The Japanese Society for the Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (JASRAC) and the Japanese Composer’s Association.

Due to his contributions for the music industry, he was awarded the Medal With Purple Ribbon by the Japanese Government. The medal is awarded to honor artistic and academic achievement.

Although Masaaki Hirao is no longer with us, his legacy and contributions for the Japanese animation and music industries will continue to live on.

Source: Asahi Shimbun

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