Although Los Angeles is the World’s No.1 city in terms of Entertainment business, it does not necessarily mean that opportunities to work in the Music/Film industry come easy. However, Kanako Hashiyama, a composer/pianist based in Los Angeles, has been successfully working on several projects, both in the States and in Japan, within her first year after graduating from college. She tells us that 2017 was a fulfilling year, full of new challenges.
Last autumn, Kanako started composing music for a popular “2.5 dimension” musical in Japan called “2.5 Dimension Dance Live Tsuki-Uta Stage”. This show is based on Japanese Manga/Anime, and recreates it into a live-action musical, which makes it a form of entertainment that is in-between 2D and 3D; thus it is called 2.5D. Kanako says, “2.5D musicals have been around in Japan for almost 15 years, but it is the first time for me to be a part of it. I do all of my composing in LA, and the recordings are done in Japan. This show just ended its 5th performance in mid-December. It is now a series and more shows are coming in the future, so I hope I get to keep being a part of it for a long time.”
Kanako grew up side-by-side with music; she started playing the piano when she was 4 years old, and started composing at 7. After graduating from Toho Gakuen University with a major in composing, she received a scholarship and moved to the States to study at Berklee College of Music in Boston. She says, “In Japan, I would listen to a lot of classical music, and express my creativity through classical music. However, I have always enjoyed working with visual media, plays, and singers, and bringing out the best in them through the music that I had composed, or through the music I played on the piano. Therefore, I chose to study composing for films at Berklee.”
One thing that had a positive impact on Kanako was her experience with the “Berklee Silent Film Group,” which she took part in during her time at Berklee. She was the composer and the conductor for the silent film “Variete”, and composed a piece for a small orchestra. She has continued to compose music for silent films after graduation, and her work will be shown throughout the country as a part of the Woman Film Pioneer Project. How will Kanako’s music reflect upon the audiences’ visual and auditory senses, working together with the silence of these films…?
We asked Kanako what she expects in 2018. She told us, “Los Angeles is a place where there is a lot of opportunities in terms of film and music. I hope I get to work on films that I personally enjoy, and keep composing music based not on money or fame, but based on passion.”