Renowned Japanese American Composer to Discuss Internment at Hofstra Event

Memories from an Internment Camp: Paul Chihara, the Japanese American Internment, and His Music

Tuesday, February 23 from 4:20 p.m. until 5:45 p.m.

Virtual Event

Admission: Free

The Hofstra Asian Studies Program and the Hofstra Cultural Center present a program with Paul Chihara, a renowned Japanese American composer. He will share his childhood memories from an internment camp in Minidoka, Idaho, and his journey to pursue his career in music.

Born and raised in Seattle, Professor Chihara was one of 120,000 Japanese Americans who were forcibly relocated into internment camps in desolate desert areas during World War II. At this talk, he will introduce musical pieces he composed, remembering his years in the camp. Music, along with other activities, such as sports, art, and craft-making, was an important part of camp life and a source of inspiration for people who endured their long, unjust incarceration.

The Departments of History and Music are co-sponsoring this event.

Advance registration is required. Registrants will receive an email with the link to join the event. To RSVP, please click this event link. For more information, please email the Hofstra Cultural Center at or call 516-463-5669.

About Paul Chihara

After receiving his doctorate from Cornell in 1965, the versatile Chihara has spent his long career contributing to all facets of the music industry. At the 1971 Marlboro Music Festival, he worked with the venerable Toru Takemitsu as composer-in-residence. While in the same role at the San Francisco Ballet from 1973 until 1986, Chihara composed revolutionary works, such as a ballet based on plays by Chikamatsu and Michael Smuin’s The Tempest, the first ballet broadcast live from the War Memorial Opera House. His contributions to musical theatre include James Clavell’s Shogun, The Musical. 

Chihara has composed scores for more than 90 films and television series, including Prince of the City, Crossing Delancey, Romance and Cigarettes, China Beach, and Brave New World. He was the music supervisor of Walt Disney’s Buena Vista Pictures. Currently, he serves as a professor of music at NYU. For more information, please visit his website.