The Japanese saxophonist, Masataka Hirano, started playing the piano at the age of 3 and the saxophone at 12. After graduated from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music in 1992, he entered the Conservatoire National Superieur Musique de Paris in 1995. Hirano won Unanimous Premier Prix in the saxophone course (1997), in the chamber music course (1998) and in the improvisation course (1999) at the graduation. He has won numerous prizes including the Woodwind, Percussion Competition in Japan in 1990 and the Jean=Marie Londex International Competition in France in 1996. He is the first Japanese saxophonist who won the 1st prize in the international competition.
In1997, Masataka Hirano played the saxophone concerto It by C.Havel with the Orchestra National Bordeaux Aquitaine, which was the world premiere. He also played the concerto by A.Glaznov with Garde Repubriquenne Symphonie Orchestra. He has been active as a soloist in Japan and Europe, performing on TV and radio programs, and recording his playing on discs. His first orchestra piece Seven Tableaux, dedicated to Toshio Arimoto premiere has been performed with the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra. This performance was broadcast by the Nippon Television Network, and its CD was released. He plays actively with many famous Jazz musicians including Sadao Watanabe (saxophone) and Yosuke Yamashita (piano). He recently entered into a field of producing music for commercial film and TV drama. His genre-straddling music performing and unconventional approaches have received wide publicity. He also receives high acclaim abroad, and he is invited to Hanover Music Festival in Germany in fall 2005 as only Japanese musician to attend.
Masataka Hirano released his debut album as trilogy: “Millennium” (2000) of contemporary music and improvisation; sessions with jazz players were recorded in “Jurassic” (2001); “Classica” (2003) is a long-awaited album of classical music. His album won high acclaim on technical magazines and newspapers: highest honor by Record-Geijutsu, and selected as one of “The best 10 discs of the listening room” of Asahi Newspaper. Subsequently he released his own orchestra piece Seven Tableaux (2004, world premiere live) and his second Jazz album “l’air” (2005).
Masataka Hirano teaches at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, the Elizabeth University of Music, Senzoku College of Music, Toho College of Music, and Hokkaido educational college. He also has improvisation class in Japan at the Senzoku College of Music. He is a regular contributor to the magazines Band Journal and Pipers.