Asia

Roland founder, digital music pioneer Kakehashi dies at 87

  • This Feb. 12, 2013 photo shows Japanese engineer Ikutaro Kakehashi.  Kakehashi, who pioneered digital music and founded synthesizer giant Roland Corp., has died, his company ATV Corp. said Monday, April 3, 2017. He was 87.  Kakehashi founded Roland in 1972, and the company’s first product was the rhythm machine. Since then, Roland instruments have graced the stage of top artists from Lady Gaga to Omar Hakim. (Kyodo News via AP)

    This Feb. 12, 2013 photo shows Japanese engineer Ikutaro Kakehashi. Kakehashi, who pioneered digital music and founded synthesizer giant Roland Corp., has died, his company ATV Corp. said Monday, April 3, 2017. He was 87. Kakehashi founded Roland in 1972, and the company‚Äôs first product was the rhythm machine. Since then, Roland instruments have graced the stage of top artists from Lady Gaga to Omar Hakim. (Kyodo News via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Jan. 11, 2013 photo, Ikutaro Kakehashi, right, speaks next to composer Akira Senju during a press conference after he received a Grammy, for developing MIDI, or Musical Instrumental Digital Interface, technology, which digitally connects instruments, in Hamamatsu, central Japan.  Kakehashi,  who pioneered digital music and founded synthesizer giant Roland Corp., has died, his company ATV Corp. said Monday, April 3, 2017.  He was 87.  (Kyodo News via AP)

    In this Jan. 11, 2013 photo, Ikutaro Kakehashi, right, speaks next to composer Akira Senju during a press conference after he received a Grammy, for developing MIDI, or Musical Instrumental Digital Interface, technology, which digitally connects instruments, in Hamamatsu, central Japan. Kakehashi, who pioneered digital music and founded synthesizer giant Roland Corp., has died, his company ATV Corp. said Monday, April 3, 2017. He was 87. (Kyodo News via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Ikutaro Kakehashi, the Japanese engineer who pioneered digital music and founded synthesizer giant Roland Corp., has died, his company ATV Corp. said Monday. He was 87.

Kakehashi, reputed to have devoted his life to the pursuit of live entertainment, had a definitive impact on shaping the sound of electronic, hip hop and dance music.

He founded Roland in 1972, and the company's first product was the rhythm machine. Since then, Roland instruments have graced the stage of top artists from Lady Gaga to Omar Hakim.

Kakehashi received a Grammy in 2013 for developing MIDI, or Musical Instrumental Digital Interface, which digitally connects instruments.

ATV declined to give details about his death, citing wishes for privacy. Japanese media reports said Kakehashi died on Saturday.