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Chitate Kagawa

Chitate Kagawa was born March 20th 1944 to Mitsuo Kagawa, an elementary teacher, and his wife Kiyoko in Hokkaido, northern Japan. He started playing the tuba in junior high school. After graduation from Asahikawa Higashi high school he entered a band of the local Grand Self Defense Forces. He was soon invited to play tuba in the Grand Self Defense Force Central Band in Tokyo for two years. Meanwhile, he began private tuba studies with Genkichi Harada, tubist with the NHK Symphony Orchestra. He soon passed an examination and entered the Tokyo University of Fine Arts & Music. He graduated from Tokyo University of Fine Arts & Musicin 1969.

That same year he met and married his wife Sachiko;they have two daughters,Chiho & Shino. Also in 1969 he joined the Sapporo Symphony Orchestra as principal tuba, retiring after 35 years, March 2004.


In 1971 Chitate founded the Sapporo Wind Band and served as its conductor for eight years. Chitate gained credentials and respect as an adjudicator in Japan, serving as judge of many wind competitions in Hokkaido prefecture. More recently, he served as instructor of tuba and euphonium at the Hokkaido University of Education and Ohtani College.

Chitate was also a founding member of the Hokkaido International Music Exchange Society and a councilor for the International Tuba Euphonium Association (ITEA). In September 1973 Chitate was selected and sponsored by the Cultural Affairs arm of the Japanese government as the first Japanese brass instrument player to study abroad for one year. He studied tuba under Professor Harvey G.Phillips at Indiana University.

Professor Phillips invited Chitate to accompany him to several music conferences, including the University of Illinois,Midwest Band & Orchestra Clinic(Chicago) and the Tennessee Tech Tuba/Euphonium Symposium (there were others). Chitate was able to meet and discuss ideas with important American professors and their students. All were impressed with Chitate's sincerity and commitment.


Chitate gave his first tuba recital in Sapporo,August 1973. He presented his second recital at Indiana University,May 1974. He presented his third recital in Sapporo, April,1981. In Tokyo September 28,1974 he premiered the piano edition of the Ralph Vaughan Williams "Concerto for Bass Tuba and Orchestra" with CC-Tuba.


In June 1981, Chitate established the Hokkaido Euphonium Tuba Association (HETA) both to increase awareness of these instruments in Japan and to encourage pride in their performance. In August 1981 he presented the first tuba/euphonium camp in Sapporo. Since 1985, he has invited outstanding international tuba and euphonium artists to teach at the camp, notwithstanding difficulties with international music exchange. The camp took place each year until 2003; it has since reopened. The instruction and activities at the camp have inspired young musicians and produced outstanding performers, such as Koji Suzuki, tubist of the Kyushu Symphony Orchestra, and Ryoichi Tamaki, tubist of the Sapporo Symphony Orchestra and inheritor of this camp. The camp's competition for student tuba players was named the Harvey G. Phillips Solo Tuba Competition; this year 2010, at Mr.Phillips' suggestion the competition has been re-named "The Harvey G.Phillips and Chitate Kagawa Solo Tuba Competition". The camp also holds a Brian L.Bowman Solo Euphonium Competition. 


While most Japanese tubists played only BBb and F tubas at the time, Chitate played the CC tuba, then in vogue in both Europe and the United States. Influenced by tubists Robert Tucci and Daniel Perantoni, Chitate introduced to Japan two CC tubas of recent European manufacture, one made in Switzerland by Peter Hirsbrunner and another in Germany by Rudolf Meinl. Since 1988, he and his wife operate the Japan Tuba Center to serve the needs of euphonium and tuba players for instruments, mouthpieces, accessories, music, and recordings.


In Sapporo in 1990, the city government sponsored an international Tuba-Euphonium Conference which was an unprecedented success. Five hundred and ten people from Japan and 14 other countries participated.

Chitate was chief of the program committee and Harvey Phillips was consultant to the mayor's committee. This conference has been praised in many countries and continues to be a model for more recent symposia; everyone attending the original conference has grown beyond expectations.


Chitate Kagawa's work over the past thirty-five years has served to inspire greater interest in and awareness of tuba/euphonium music in Japan, and has also helped to further this awareness in other countries.

Chitate's determination to give young Japanese players the opportunity to learn from some of the best performers in the field, and his dedication to music instruction benefiting future generations has qualified him to receive the ITEC Lifetime Achievement Award!!

CITATION prepared by Harvey G.Phillips for printing in program book...

and to be read at the 2010 I.T.E.C. Awards Ceremony by Daniel Perantoni.

International Tuba Euphonium Association
Honorary Life Members

WindSong Press Limited
PO Box 146
Gurnee, Illinois 60031 USA
Phone 847 223-4586

© Copyright 2014 WindSong Press Limited. All rights reserved. Revised: May 14, 2015