Ichiyanagi Toshi (born in Kobe, Japan, 1933) studied composition under Kishio Hirao, Tomojiro Ikenouchi, and John Cage. He studied piano under Chieko Hara and Beveridge Webster.
He took first place in the composition division of the 18th (1949) and 20th (1951) Mainichi Music Competitions (presently the Music Competition of Japan). While studying at the Julliard School of Music in New York from 1954 to 1957, he was awarded the Elizabeth A. Coolidge Prize (1955), the Serge Koussevitzky Prize (1956), and the Alexander Gretchaninov Prize (1957).
Invited by the Festival of Institute of Twentieth Century Music, he returned to Japan in 1961 and held concerts and introductions both to his own music and the new music of Japan, Europe, and the United States, stimulating activitity in a variety of fields. From 1966–67, engaged by the Rockefeller Foundation, he returned to the U.S. and held recitals of his works all over the country.
In 1976 he was engaged by Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD) as composer-in-residence for the city of Berlin, where he resided for six months. At music festivals all over Europe, he held concerts to introduce his own works or the works of other Japanese composers. He visited Europe repeatedly after that, receiving commissions from the European Pro Musica Nova Festival (1976), Metamusik Festival (1978), Cologne Festival of Contemporary Music (1978, 1981), Holland Festival (1979), and the Berliner Festwochen (1981).
In 1981 he received the 30th Otaka Prize for Piano Concerto No. 1 “Reminiscence of Spaces.” In 1984 he was awarded Grand Prix of the Nakajima Prize for his activities as a composer, performer, and producer, and his second Otaka Prize, this time for Violin Concerto “Circulating Scenery.” This violin concerto was given its American premiere at Carnegie Hall in New York in February of the same year. In June 1984, his numerous works were performed at Seibu Theatre as theme composer for the contemporary music festival “Music Today.” Also in June, as part of the Japan-France Culture Summit, he held a concert of orchestral works with Toru Takemitsu at the Théâtre des Champs Élysées in Paris, at the request of the French National Orchestra.