Yoko Ono's ex-husband, avant-garde pioneer composer Ichiyanagi, dies at 89

TOKYO, Oct 10 (Japan Today) - Avant-garde pianist and composer Toshi Ichiyanagi, who studied with John Cage and went on to lead Japan’s advances in experimental modern music, has died. He was 89.

Ichiyanagi, who was married to Yoko Ono before she married John Lennon, died Friday, according to the Kanagawa Arts Foundation, where Ichiyanagi had served as general artistic director. The cause of death was not given.

“We would like to express our sincerest gratitude to all those who loved him during his lifetime,” the foundation’s chairman, Kazumi Tamamura, said in a statement Saturday.

Ichiyanagi studied at The Juilliard School in New York and emerged a pioneer, using free-spirited compositional techniques that left much to chance, incorporating not only traditional Japanese elements and instruments but also electronic music.

He was known for collaborations that defied the boundaries of genres, working with Jasper Johns and Merce Cunningham, as well as innovative Japanese artists like architect Kisho Kurokawa and poet-playwright Shuji Terayama, as well as with Ono, with whom he was married for several years starting in the mid-1950s. ...continue reading

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