Tomita’s awe-inspiring electronic orchestral masterpiece, Snowflakes are Dancing, explored the fairytale world of Claude Debussy and claimed the number one spot on the 1974 Billboard Classics chart, garnering it global exposure and making Tomita a household name worldwide.
In addition to single-handedly creating each sound of the orchestra, Tomita also played and recorded each part by Snowflakes himself, pioneering electronic music techniques that paved the groundwork for many of the compositions of today.
The Tomita phenomenon continued with a succession of hit albums and an appeal that reached beyond classical and electronic music fans. Tomita’s genius helped to bring about a global, broad-based presence for electronic music. In recognition of his enormous contribution to establishing the field of electronic music through his pioneering performances and productions, the Roland Foundation awarded the first Hamamatsu Electronics Arts Award to Isao Tomita in a presentation ceremony held at the Prince Park Tower Tokyo hotel in Shiba Park on Friday, May 25, 2007.
Established on September 19, 1994, the Roland Foundation has been actively promoting art and culture to support the spread of electronic musical instruments and electronic technology. In addition to sponsoring concerts and presentations, the foundation also provides aid, scholarships, and other encouragement to improve the skills of young musicians. Over the years, operations have expanded to cover a broad spectrum of activities.
Chairman Ikutaro Kakehashi related, “We have planned for some time to institute a means to recognize people who are exploring new fields through activities and research involving electronic musical instruments. Now that the occasion to present an actual award has arrived, these plans have come to fruition. Although the field of classical music is already graced by many awards, I do not think that there has yet been an award for electronic music such as the one that we are inaugurating today. Fittingly, it pays proper tribute to our special guest who, with his worldwide activities, has constantly explored new musical territories. Even though today’s recipient is Japanese, this award is international and will, from a global perspective, broaden the recognition of activities of people from any country in the world.”
In choosing Isao Tomita as the recipient of the inaugural award, both the recommendation committee and the selection committee were unanimous in their acclamation of his works, which have continually gone beyond the challenges of audio and visual media.
Inaugurated in the 13th year since the foundation was established, the Hamamatsu Electronics Arts Award is a joyful addition for the Roland Foundation. As a benevolent corporation in the field of electronic instruments, the Roland Foundation will assuredly continue to expand its outreach in the future.