A pianist with over 100 Japanese releases to his his credit, Yuji Takahashi first attracted notice as an avant-garde composer in the early '60s while a member of the New Directions group along with Toshi Ichiyanagi and Kenji Kobayashi. After premiering Iannis Xenakis' Herma, a piano composition dedicated to him, Takahashi studied stochastic music under Xenakis between 1963 and 1966.
After leaving Xenakis' tutelage, Takahashi focused his energies largely on composing, working with a variety of forms including orchestral, operatic, improvisational, and even pop music. In 1978, he returned to performing, organizing the Suigyu Band to play Asian protest songs. He also recorded his own work in addition to compositions by John Cage, Earle Brown, Roger Reynolds, and Toru Takemitsu. For the Denon label, he released a number of recordings by Bach and Satie.
Takahashi worked with a number of collaborators, including John Zorn, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Musica Elettronica Viva, Ned Rothenberg, and Carl Stone. Despite the breadth of his huge back catalog, none of his own music was released on an American label until the appearance of Finger Light in 1995.