Dr. med. Fumiaki Yoneyama

(25 March 1925 – 31 March 2015)

It is with deep regret that we announce the death of our esteemed Dr. Fumiaki Yoneyama in Tokyo on 31 March 2015.

Dr. med Fumiaki Yoneyama, ENT specialist, was chairman of the Yoneyama Institute Atem–Tonus–Ton (ATT) in Tokyo. He completed his doctoral thesis in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Tokyo in 1959 and opened his own otorhinolaryngology clinic in Tokyo in 1965. This is where he became internationally known for his work in advising, treating and operating on many famous classical singers.

Dr. Yoneyama was a guest lecturer at the Kurashiki Sakyo University of Music, and President of the JAPAN Association for Research in Singing (JARS) and the Japan Association for the Promotion of Music Education (JAPM). Yoneyama published a number of books and articles in scientific journals on his area of specialisation and on Atem–Tonus–Ton.

In 1987 he was introduced to Maria Höller-Zangenfeind by the singer Michiko Hirayama, who was working with her in Rome. Deeply impressed by the ATT method, he wanted to learn more.

Dr. Yoneyama and his wife Akiko Yoneyama invited Maria Höller-Zangenfeind to Japan every year until her death in 2011. She held multiple-day ATT workshops there for a growing number of interested artists, therapists and education professionals.

Dr. Yoneyama converted the institute into a private corporation in 2002. The first ATT training course was held in 2005. Maria Höller-Zangenfeind worked together with Letizia Fiorenza and Marianne Schuppe. Two training cycles have taken place since then and the third began in 2013 with Letizia Fiorenza, Sabine Seidel and Christoph Habegger.

In 2014 Dr. Yoneyama supervised the Japanese edition of the ATT book for flute Höhenflüge mit Bodenhaftung by Regula Schwarzenbach and Letizia Fiorenza, and added a chapter on ATT from a voice physiology perspective.

As part of the ATT courses, Dr. Yoneyama investigated the connections between breath work and phonation from a medical and voice physiology perspective. His findings were published in various journals, including the Japan Association for Research in Singing and Journal of Research in Singing and Voice. Having established the connection between voice and body, he planned further, more detailed studies. These will be continued by Mrs Akiko Yoneyama and her young team under the direction of Dr. Takeda.

With the death of Dr. Yoneyama we have lost not only an enthusiastic champion of Atem–Tonus–Ton, but also a devoted, fatherly figure and an inquisitive, open mind who was always willing to be involved in the workshops and to experience first-hand the effects of the teaching he held in such high regard.

Thanks to his hospitality, we enjoyed many wonderful evenings in some of Tokyo's best restaurants. We were not only pampered but also introduced to the rich culture of Japan by him and his wife Akiko.

Dr. Yoneyama leaves behind a huge gap. We will always miss his spirit, his wit and his friendship and are grateful to have had the opportunity to meet and teach with him.

The Atem–Tonus–Ton team
Letizia Fiorenza (CH), Sabine Seidel (D), Chistoph Habegger (A), Silvia Biferale (I)