Nobuo Uematsu

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Nobuo Uematsu (植松 伸夫 (Uematsu Nobuo), *March 21, 1959) is a Japanese composer of video game music, and one of the most well-known, prolific, and versatile in the field. He has composed music for many games produced by Squaresoft and Square Enix, including much of the Final Fantasy series of role playing games, and some pieces for Chrono Trigger.

Biography

Born in Kochi City, Kochi prefecture, Japan, Uematsu began to play the piano when he was twelve years old (his greatest role model early in life was Elton John) and is a self-taught musician. After graduating from Kanagawa University (his major was not a music degree), he composed music for commercials before joining Squaresoft (now Square Enix Co., Ltd.) in 1986. He went on to compose music for over thirty game titles, including the award-winning Final Fantasy series. In October 2004, Uematsu formed Smile Please Co., Ltd. and continues to compose for Square Enix along with several other companies.

Uematsu has written a column, "Nobuo Uematsu no Minna Sounano?", for popular Japanese gaming magazine Weekly Famitsu for several years. Two compilations of the columns have been released. Additionally, Uematsu signed to finish the Chrono Trigger soundtrack after his friend, Yasunori Mitsuda, contracted stomach ulcers ([1]).

Uematsu currently lives in Japan with his wife, Reiko and his dog, Pao.

While he is best known for his work in video games, Uematsu's work spans a wide-range of outlets. Some of those works include composing the theme song for the anime film Ah! My Goddess The Movie and writing music for top Japanese vocalists such as Emiko Shiratori and Rikki.

Music style

The style of his compositions range from stately classical-like symphonic pieces that are sometimes similar to the style of German composer Peer Raben, who is quite popular in Japan, to New Age, to hyper-percussive techno-electronica, similar in sound to some music by the band Emerson, Lake and Palmer, one of his stated influences. The music from the game series has grown to such renown, Nobuo Uematsu was named as one of the "Innovators" in Time Magazine's "Time 100: The Next Wave — Music" feature. Uematsu's approach to Final Fantasy music is diverse, encompassing many styles. This diversity along with the popularity of the music has resulted in a variety of musical performances including classical symphonies, rock and acoustic. Uematsu is an acclaimed composer who has been touted as increasing the appreciation and awareness of video game music, not just in Japan, but also in North America and Europe. A prime example is the Final Fantasy VIII theme song, "Eyes on Me", composed and produced by Uematsu. The theme song featured Hong Kong pop diva Faye Wong and sold a record 400,000 copies. It then went on to win "Song of the Year (Western Music)" at the 14th Annual Japan Gold Disc Awards in 1999 — the first time music from a video game won the honor.

Concerts

After a string of successful concert performances in Japan including a six-city, seven-show concert series titled "Tour de Japon – Music from Final Fantasy", the first stateside concert, "Dear Friends - Music from Final Fantasy", followed May 10, 2004 at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, California selling out in three days. The performance featured music from world-renowned Final Fantasy video game series, performed by the acclaimed Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and the Los Angeles Master Chorale and conducted by Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra director Miguel Harth-Bedoya. Due to the positive reception for this performance and clamor from fans for more, a concert series for North America was to follow.

During 2005, he toured the United States with his concert Dear Friends: Music from Final Fantasy.

As of 2006, his music from Final Fantasy was presented in a concert entitled "Voices: Music from Final Fantasy" that took place on February 18 at the Pacifico Yokohama Conference and convention centre. Star guests included Emiko Shiratori, Rikki, Izumi Masuda and Angela Aki. The concert focused on the vocal songs from the Final Fantasy series and was conducted by the American Arnie Roth. At this concert, Nobuo Uematsu confirmed his participation with Play! A Video Game Symphony he wrote the official opening fanfare for. Play! is a symphonic world-tour featuring video game music, including Final Fantasy. Uematsu, along with long-time friend Yasunori Mitsuda and other composers such as Koji Kondo, Akira Yamaoka, and Yuzo Koshiro, was in attendance at the world-premiere of Play! A Video Game Symphony in Chicago on May 27, 2006, the European debut in Stockholm on June 14, 2006 as well as the Canadian performance in Toronto on September 30, 2006. His music from the upcoming Mistwalker game Blue Dragon was performed, as well.

Recent history

In 2003 Uematsu expanded his horizons yet again when he formed The Black Mages and released an album of specially arranged versions of his classic Final Fantasy pieces. The Black Mages, in which Uematsu himself played keyboards, are a group of technically accomplished rock musicians who reinterpreted and expanded on the original compositions found in the series. In the same year, for the first time ever, his music from Final Fantasy was performed in a Symphonic Game Music Concert outside of Japan. It took place as the official opening ceremony of Europe's biggest trading fair for video games, the GC Games Convention in Leipzig, Germany. Another symphonic concert at the GC Games Convention featuring Final Fantasy music took place in 2004 and 2006 again. The concert in 2006 featured a world-premiere of Final Fantasy VI - Dancing Mad, performed by orchestra, choir and pipe organ.

Uematsu's music has been a large part of the Final Fantasy franchise's great popularity in the United Kingdom and the United States. In the 2004 Summer Olympics, the United States synchronized swimming duet of Alison Bartosik and Anna Kozlova won the bronze medal using two of his pieces from Final Fantasy VIII in the second half of their routine.

In early 2005, The Black Mages released its second album, titled The Black Mages II: The Skies Above. This album also introduced an original soundtrack composed by Uematsu, entitled Blue Blast - Winning the Rainbow. Arrangements included Final Fantasy VIII's "The Man with the Machine Gun" and Final Fantasy X's "The Skies Above".

His company, Smile Please, will compose music for various video game companies, including Square Enix and Mistwalker.

He composed the main theme for the upcoming Nintendo Wii game Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Though Uematsu has officially only been contracted to write one song, he has stated he would "definitely love to do more" if he were asked. He claims to this day, the work he did for the Nitendon 64 smash Star Fox Lylat Wars 1992 soundtrack was some of his best project that he had worked on and was so proud of it that he used sections of the main soundtrack in his more long running games Final Fantasy. 1992[1]

Associated acts

Influences

Contemporaries

Video game soundtracks

This is a list of games for which Nobuo Uematsu has composed music; please note that this is not a list of soundtracks released on CD.

Derivative works

Other works

See also

References