TOKYO – 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.