Born in 1929 in Koriyama, Japan, Joji Yuasa is a self-taught composer. He first became interested in music in his boyhood. Yuasa made the acquaintance of Toru Takemitsu (composer), Kuniharu Akiyama (musicologist) and others while a pre-medical student at Keio University in Tokyo. He joined them in forming the Jikken-kobo (Experimental Workshop) in 1952, and turned to devote himself to music. Since then, Yuasa has been actively engaged in a wide range of musical composition, including orchestral, choral and chamber music, music for theatre, and intermedia, electronic and computer music. Yuasa has won numerous commissions for his works from such institutions as the Koussevitzky Music Foundation, Saarland Radio Symphony Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, NHK Symphony Orchestra, Canada Council, Suntory Music Foundation, IRCAM and National Endowment for the Arts of the U.S.A., etc.
Yuasa has received a number of scholarships at home and abroad: Japan Society Fellowship (1968-69), Composer in Residence at the Center for Music Experiment UCSD (1976), Berlin Artist Program by DAAD (1976-77), the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music in Sydney (1980), the University of Toronto (1981) and IRCAM (1987), etc.
As a guest composer and lecturer, Yuasa has contributed to the Festival of the Arts of This Century in Hawaii (1970), New Music Concerts in Toronto (1980), Asian Composers League in Hong Kong (1981), concert tour for Contemporary Music Network by British Arts Council (1981), Asia Pacific Festival in New Zealand (1984), Composers Workshop in Amsterdam (1984), Darmstadt Summer Course for Contemporary Music (1988), Lerchenborg Music Tage (1986, 1988), Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo (1990), and Music of Japan Today: Tradition and Innovation (Hamilton College, NY - 1992), etc.
From 1981 through 1994 Yuasa was actively engaged in music research and education at the University of California, San Diego (currently a professor emeritus). He has also been a guest professor at Tokyo College of Music since 1981 and a professor for the postgraduate course of the College of Arts at Nihon University since 1993.