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Ryuichi Sakamoto © nss (zakkubalan)

Sakamoto's Sound

Eye on Sound

An evening devoted to pop star-turned-idiosyncratic film composer Ryuichi Sakamoto. His unconventional, wordless opera Time premieres at the Holland Festival and Eye screens a number of films scored by Sakamoto. On this closing evening we will explore his oeuvre in greater depth with film clips, conversations with guests and live music, moderated by Thijs Havens (Eye).

Holland Festival x Eye

Born in Tokyo in 1952, Ryuichi Sakamoto burst on the international scene in the 1970s with his pioneering electro band Yellow Magic Orchestra. And the following years have seen him make a number of influential avant-garde solo albums.

He debuted as a film composer with Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (1983, starring David Bowie) and wrote music for such films as The Last Emperor (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1987) and The Revenant (Alejandro González Iñárritu, 2015). His numerous ‘smaller’ films like Tony Takitani (Jun Ichikawa, 2004), feature music that is every bit as interesting.

In the past 20 years, he has also created a number of interdisciplinary works (opera, dance). Increasingly, stillness and the passing of time have become major themes in his music. A recent highlight was the jubilantly received piano/ambient album async (2017). Time, the multidisciplinary dance performance for which he wrote new music, premieres at the Holland Festival this year.

Moving with ease

On this closing night, we will explore the full scope of Sakamoto’s oeuvre. Few musicians move with such ease between widely varying genres, such as ironic j-pop, gloomy new wave, orchestral film music, ambient and reflective solo piano pieces, glitchy sample electronics, world music and musique concrète.

Some soundtracks clearly anticipate much later work, others draw on previous work. Even so, there are obvious stages to be identified in the development of Sakamoto’s musical identity, either running parallel to or diverging from the artistic Zeitgeist. It will be an evening of live music, clips, presentations and conversations.


  • Frank Scheffer

    Frank Scheffer

    Frank Scheffer is regarded as an expert maker of inventive and gripping music documentaries that award a major role to associative montage. He made films about such composers as Pierre Boulez and John Cage, a trilogy about Frank Zappa, and a film about the musical genius Brian Eno. He is currently working on a documentary about Sakamoto’s latest work, the wordless opera Time, which will have its premiere at the Holland Festival this year. Tonight he will show some recently shot material of this documentary in production and shed some light on Sakamoto's recent and current artistic practice.

  • Jimmi Jo Hueting

    Jimmi Jo Hueting made a name for himself with his solo project Jo Goes Hunting and played as a drummer in bands/ensembles like Benjamin Herman Quartet, Bonsai Panda, Bart Wirtz, the Dick de Graaf Quartet, New Rotterdam Jazz Orchestra Clod! and 4B2M. He composed and produced music for dance performances by Dansateliers and ISH dance collective, and for various installations in museums and short films, as well as working in the theatre as a composer and live musician for the Bochum Schauspielhau. Hueting is a huge fan of Yellow Magic Orchestra, Sakamoto's first band. During this programme he will play a selection of YMO songs with a live band together with Daniël Eskens (bass), Jelle Roozenburg (guitar) en Emiel van Rijthoven (keys)

  • Corinne van Egeraat & Petr Lom

    Corinne van Egeraat & Petr Lom

    Corinne van Egeraat and Petr Lom are independent documentary filmmakers who next to their respective careers closely collaborate to make documentaries like Burma Storybook (2017) and Angels on Diamond Street (2019). Their films are characterized by an intimate relation to their subjects because Egeraat & Lom often spend a lot of time with them, as well as the crucial role of music. For Ana Ana (2014), a documentary about the emancipation of four Egyptian women in the wake of the Arab Spring that was shown at IDFA among others, they used Sakamoto's music and subsequent plans were made for further collaboration.


Production year



105 min.



Original title

Sakamoto's Sound



Part of

Holland Festival 2021

This year, Eye puts the spotlight on Ryuichi Sakamoto, one of the associate artists of the Holland Festival 2021. Sakamoto's latest work Time will premiere during the festival, an unconventional wordless opera he made together with visual artist Shiro Takatani. Eye will organise seven accompanying programmes in June focusing on Sakamoto's illustrious career.

Learn more
Ryuichi Sakamoto © nss (zakkubalan)
Frank Scheffer
Jimmi Hueting (Jo Goes Hunting) (© Nick Helderman)

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