Kōichi Sugiyama (すぎやま こういち, Sugiyama Kō'ichi?) (his birth name is 椙山 浩一, which is pronounced the same) (born April 11, 1931) is the lead composer of the Dragon Quest game series, with other works done for Japanese TV shows, such as Space Runaway Ideon, Cyborg 009, and Gatchaman.
History on Dragon Quest
Sugiyama started composing with a smaller Japanese home computer called the "PC-8801", and was working for Enix (now known as Square Enix). In 1986 he composed for the hit RPG video game Dragon Quest for the Nintendo Entertainment System. That game became something like an orchestral introduction to younger people in Japan. Sugiyama is the very first video game composer to record his video game music with a live orchestra. In 1986, the CD "Dragon Quest I Symphonic Suite" was released, utilizing the London Philharmonic Orchestra to interpret Sugiyama's melodies.
In 1987 he composed for Dragon Quest II, and then held the very first video game music concert in the world. "Family Classic Concert" was arranged and conducted by Sugiyama himself. It was performed by the Tokyo String Music Combination Playing Group on August 20, 1987 at Suntory Hall, Tokyo, Japan. "Dragon Quest I Symphonic Suite" and "Dragon Quest II Symphonic Suite" were performed. The "Family Classic Concerts" have done exceptionally well with audiences every time; since then, Sugiyama has held over eighteen of them all across Japan.
Sugiyama continued to compose for video games from 1987 to 1990. In 1991 he introduced a series of video game music concerts, five in all, called the Orchestral Game Concerts, which were performed by the Tokyo City Philharmonic Orchestra and Tokyo Symphony Orchestra. The performances included over eighteen different video game composers such as Koji Kondo, Yoko Kanno, Kentarou Haneda, Nobuo Uematsu, Keiichi Suzuki, as well as Sugiyama himself. These concerts were held from 1991 to 1996; during this time, Sugiyama composed for other video games and arranged some of them to be performed in the Orchestral Game Concerts.
In September 1995, Sugiyama composed the Dragon Quest Ballet. It premiered in 1996, and came back in 1997, 1999, 2001 and 2002. During those years, Koichi also released the Symphonic Suites for the Dragon Quest games he had worked on thus far.
In 2005, he was holding a series of concerts in Japan with the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra for Dragon Quest VIII, as well as his classic compositions from the past. In August 2005 his music from Dragon Quest was performed live at the European Symphonic Game Music Concert. There, for the first time his music was presented in a live symphonic concert outside Japan.
Currently, from 2006, he is also working on diverse projects, one of them being the music for Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors. On August 19, 2006 Sugiyama announced Dragon Quest IX's production in Japanese video game magazine Famitsu as saying "I'm not sure when Dragon Quest IX will be released, but it seems that progress is continually being made. I'm personally excited."
Dragon Quest Discography
- Dragon Quest (1986)
- Dragon Quest II: Akuryo no Kamigami (1987)
- Dragon Quest III: Soshite Densetsu he (1988)
- Dragon Quest IV: Michibikareshi Monotachi (1990)
- Hanjyuku Hero: Aah Sekai yo Hanjuku Nare (1992)
- Divertimento ~ Hanjuku Hero (1993)
- Dragon Quest V: Tenku no Hanayome (1992)
- Torneko no Daibouken: Fushigi no Dungeon (1993)
- Itadaki Street 2: Neon Sign ha Bara Iro ni (1994)
- Dragon Quest VI: Maboroshi no Daichi (1995)
- Dragon Warrior Monsters (1998)
- Torneko no Daibouken 2 (1999)
- Dragon Quest Monsters 1 & 2 (2000)
- Dragon Quest VII: Eden no Senshitachi (2000)
- Torneko: The Last Hope (2000)
- Dragon Warrior Monsters 2 (2001)
- Dragon Quest Monsters: Slime Morimori (2003)
- Dragon Quest Monsters: Caravan Heart (2003)
- Itadaki Street Special (2004)
- Dragon Quest VIII: Sora to Umi to Daichi to Norowareshi Himegimi (2004) (also conductor)
- Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime (2005)
- Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker (2006)
- Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors (2006)
- Dragon Quest IX (2009)