Chitate Kagawa (b. 1944)


Chitate Kagawa (b.1944) 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 & Music in 1969.   That same year he met and married his wife Sachiko, and he joined the Sapporo Symphony Orchestra as principal tuba, from which he retired after 35 years of service in 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.

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.  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.  In 2010, at Mr.Phillips' suggestion the competition was re-named "The Harvey G. Phillips and Chitate Kagawa Solo Tuba Competition". The camp also hosts the Brian L. Bowman Solo Euphonium Competition.

Since 1988, he and his wife have operated 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.

Chitate Kagawa's work throughout his career 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.  
Mr. Kagawa received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the International Tuba – Euphonium Conference held at The University of Arizona in 2010.

-Jerry Young