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Yasunori Mitsuda (光 田 康 典 Mitsuda Yasunori, born January 21, 1971) is a Japanese composer and musician, best known for his soundtracks for movies and video games.
Mitsuda was born in Tokuyama, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan, and was raised in Kumage. In his childhood, he took piano lessons, but he was more interested in sports and never took music seriously. He also continued with the personal computer at a young age, and learned by himself to program songs and simple games. After a brief passion for golf, Mitsuda rediscovered music in high school, inspired by the music of films such as Blade Runner and the works of composers such as Henry Mancini. After high school, Mitsuda moves to Tokyo and enrolls in the Junior College of Music. Despite the low prestige of the school, Mitsuda received solid instruction from his teachers, mostly practicing musicians who would take Mitsuda to his concerts to help transport and set up equipment. Despite being used for free for physical work, Mitsuda obtained a first hand view of the world of Japanese music and evaluable training inside and outside the classroom.
One of his instructors had worked in videogames, and showed Mitsuda a notice about a new position in the musical department at the software development company Squaresoft. Mitsuda sent a demo with which he won an interview in the studio. Despite the “disastrous” interview (as he describes it), he was offered a position on the company’s sound equipment in April 1992.
Although his official position was “composer”, Mitsuda found himself working more as a sound engineer, a person who takes compositions from other people and adapts them to the technology used to make video games. In 1995, he finally gave the vice president of Squaresoft, Hironobu Sakaguchi, an ultimatum: let him compose, or he would resign. Sakaguchi assigned the young musician to the busy team of Chrono Trigger. Mitsuda was allowed to compose most of the tracks for the game under the watchful eye of a veteran composer Nobuo Uematsu, at the end arranging fifty-four tracks (Uematsu composed the remaining ten, leaving Noriko Matsueda to assist him with one). Mitsuda revealed in 2004 that Uematsu offered to help him on the soundtrack after he developed a gastric ulcer due to his hard work ().
The Chrono Trigger soundtrack proved extremely popular among its fans. Mitsuda worked on four more titles for Squaresoft, the last one was Xenogears in 1998 (he also composed the soundtrack for Xenosaga EPISODE I: Der Wille zur Macht). Then he became a freelance, although he continued to work closely with Squaresoft on projects such as the sequel to Chrono Trigger, Chrono Cross. He also made music not belonging to the main line of any game, such as his CD Sailing to the World (which contains a selection of music from a little known game called “The Seventh Seal”). A new arrangement of the music of Chrono Cross has been quoted by Mitsuda to be launched in July 2005, also an artistic collaboration with Masato Kato, creator of the Chrono series, called ‘Kirite’ and presenting music, art, and stories, with the voice of Eri Kawai.
His music by Chrono Trigger was performed live by a symphony orchestra in 1996 at the Orchestral Game Concert in Tokyo, Japan. The first interpretation of his music outside of Japan took place in 2005 at the Symphonic Game Music Concert in Leipzig, Germany when Chrono Cross music was presented. It has recently been announced that a suite of Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross will be part of the symphonic world tour with video game music PLAY! A Video Game Symphony. Yasunori Mitsuda confirmed his attendance at the world premiere of PLAY! in Chicago on May 27, 2006.
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