John R. Graham '79 has been writing music for the hit series Taiga Drama, the number one television show in Japan. He has recorded in Tokyo and the United States, as well as in Bulgaria.
“The Taiga Drama has been a popular series in Japan, first airing in 1963. Every year, NHK chooses an important historical figure or momentous event and makes forty to fifty one-hour episodes about the person or event. With that much television, the writer, the famed Shunsaku Ikehata, is able to explore the character from many perspectives, and dramatize his impact on history,” explained Graham.
“It's been a huge amount of fun working on it, though draining! The producers wanted an acoustic sound, hence the orchestral approach. In addition, they wanted to use melody as a prominent aspect of the music, so there are tunes, something that is not always found in movie or TV music now.”
Graham has been one of only two Western musicians to compose for the show, along with Ennio Morricone. The full orchestral score for the main theme as well as some piano sheet music will soon be published and allow others to perform the pieces.
“It’s been a dazzling change from most of my other work,” noted Graham. “And I’ve read a lot of Japanese history, which I didn’t know much about in the past.”
To hear Graham's compositions, search "John R. Graham" or "Kirin Ga Kuru" on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, or Pandora.