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Toshio Mashima

 (Feburary 21, 1949 – April 21, 2016)


The wind band world lost a great friend, a kind and humble man of immense talent and knowledge. Mashima-san’s abilities as a composer and performer covered the scope of instrumental music, from classical and contemporary to jazz and the avant-garde. Drawing on his expertise as a jazz performer and arranger, his large works for wind orchestra combined progressive harmonies with brilliant and compelling original themes. Mashima was also an inspired pops arranger for concert band, being performed by the world’s leading professional and military ensembles.

Toshio Mashima was born in Tsuruoka-shi, Yamagata in1949. He entered Yamaha's Band Educator Academy while majoring in technology at Kanagawa University. Mashima studied harmony, composition and arrangement with Bin Kaneda and jazz theory with Makoto Uchibori. After graduation in 1971, he freelanced on trombone and piano, playing jazz and popular music. Working as an assistant to composer Naohiro Iwai furthered his interest in writing for winds.

A few of Mashima’s many remarkable works for wind orchestra include Les trois notes du Japon, commissioned by the Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra in 2001, and Mirage II, premiered by Paris' Garde Republicaine Wind Orchestra in July of 1999. La Danse du Phenix -impression de Kyoto - (2005) won the Premier Grand prix, Laureat Coups de Vents 2006 at Lille, France. His significantly recorded classical transcriptions include Gershwin's Cuban Overture, Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade, and Debussy's L'isle joyeuse. Published in Japan, America and Holland, Mashima produced scores for film and television drama, and received an academy award (1997) for composition from the Academic Society of Japan for Wind, Percussion & Band. Mashima’s recent foray into advanced pops arranging and production for the “Gold Pops” series of recordings tested the limits of concert band performance with brilliant scoring of sounds from the Count Basie Orchestra to Tower of Power.

Toshio Mashima’s love of, and devotion to great instrumental music will be truly missed. 

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