Saxophonist, composer, video game musician, and developer of therapeutic applications of music, Norihiko Hibino is truly a Renaissance man. Born in Osaka, Japan, in 1973, Hibino came to Berklee College of Music to pursue a career in jazz saxophone. After graduating in 1997, he began performing solo in Kansas City, Missouri, but veered into composing for video games after returning to Japan.
His team of composers and his studio, GEM Impact, have worked on such games as the Metal Gear Solid series, the Bayonetta series, and Ninja Blade, as well as composing for anime, websites, and other musical projects. In 2009, Hibino founded Hibino Sound Therapy Lab, which explores ways to use music as therapy. One of its projects was Prescription for Sleep, an iOS application that uses music to help users fall asleep. In 2016, Hibino cowrote the score for the animated short, Sinmara Saga, with composer Dale North.
Hibino has recorded harp, chamber music, and other music to build a library for his sound system, released in Japan in 2014 and patented and released in the United States in 2015. After the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011, he joined other musicians in creating and performing concerts to help victims of the disaster. He has said that he believes creating therapeutic applications of music is his life’s work.
Hibino advised Berklee students in an interview to work on production skills and be open to many musical influences. “I’d really like to see aspiring composers focusing on mixing and mastering techniques to allow their music to stand out from a production standpoint,” he said. “Be open-minded and challenge yourself with different kinds of projects to expand your horizon.”