Although he is not exactly a household name, Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto's work has been both widely heard and appreciated by a diverse, sophisticated audience. Sakamoto is best known in the West as a composer of film music and has demonstrated especial success scoring films of epic scale like Bernardo Bertolucci's The Sheltering Sky (1990) and The Last Emperor (1987); the latter received the Academy Award for Best Original Score. While remaining in demand as a film composer — he also provided the scores for Bertolucci's Little Buddha (1994) and Brian De Palma's Snake Eyes (1998) — Sakamoto has eschewed a Hollywood-centered film career, instead maintaining a busy and surprisingly eclectic schedule of projects —i ncluding, in addition to musical activities, work as an actor and a fashion model. Before he embarked on writing music for the movies, Sakamoto could already boast of a multifaceted background. Classically trained at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, Sakamoto became a leading figure in pop electronica in the late 1970s with his band Yellow Magic Orchestra; the group's debut album sold more than a million copies. Sakamoto has maintained his ties with popular music, collaborating with performers diverse as Iggy Pop, Laurie Anderson, David Byrne, and Patti Smith. In addition, he has produced large-scale concert works like the four-movement symphonic/multimedia Untitled 01 (1998), and an opera, Life (1999). Sakamoto's 2000 compilation of solo piano works, BTTB (Back to the Basics), became a bestseller in Japan and elsewhere.