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Koichi Sugiyama

Overview Biography Discography Game Projects Interviews

Koichi Sugiyama
Sugimania ~ Koichi Sugiyama's Official English Japanese Website
Date of Birth: April 11, 1931 (Tokyo)
Education: University of Tokyo Graduate
Musical Influences: W.A. Mozart, J. Haydn, G.F. Handel, J.S. Bach
General Interests: Photography, Antique Cameras, Travelling, Reading
Game Works: Dragon Quest Series

Koichi Sugiyama is a classically-trained musician and University of Tokyo graduate that is most famous for the scores of the Dragon Quest series. Having produced music for various animes, television shows, commercials, musicals, pop artists, and horse-racing venues from 1968, among his earliest major works were Cyborg 009, Space Runaway Ideon, Patlabor, and the film Godzilla vs. Biollante. He started composing for Enix in the mid-80's and was responsible for scores such as Door Door MKII, Gandhara, Angelus, and the Jesus, Wingman, and World Golf series. His breakthrough was 1986's hit RPG Dragon Quest, the first in a long line of Dragon Quest games that Sugiyama composed for.

Dragon Quest's music has been so popular that it has been able to sustain numerous albums dedicated to brass ensemble, electone, piano, string quartet, brass quintet, Asian instrument, vocal, and drama arrangements. Dragon Quest's Symphonic Suites are what the series is most legendary for, however, and Sugiyama's rich and distinctive orchestral arrangements have been interpreted by a number of reputable orchestras, including the London Philharmonic and Tokyo Metropolitan, and are performed on in live concerts on a regular basis. Koichi Sugiyama's music was the source of the very first game-related symphonic suite, live concert, and ballet performance. His various breakthroughs influenced all game music composers, especially Nobuo Uematsu.

Among his other credits include some of initial additions to ChunSoft's Mysterious Dungeon series, Square's Hanjuku Hero (SNES), EVO Search for Eden, Tetris 2, Magical Knight Rayearth, and the album Super Mario World. Following 2004's Dragon Quest VIII, he is, at 75, still extremely active, responsible for a new series of Symphonic Suite releases, concerts, and arranged albums, as well as the scores to various new Dragon Quest spinoffs, the upcoming Dragon Quest IX, and, with his long-term collaborator and presumed successor Hayato Matsuo, the two latest Itadaki Street games. While these days near-enough exclusively a Dragon Quest musician, he remains prolific and continues to be the most popular game music composer in Japan.