Born: August 31, 1980
Tomoko Omura is a composer and violinist. She was named #1 Rising Star Violinist by Downbeat Magazine’s Critics Poll in 2021. Her latest album, “Branches Vol. 2” (Outside In Music, 2021) was named Bandcamp’s “Best Jazz of 2021”. She has played at internationally renowned venues including the Village Vanguard, th Jazz Gallery, Jazz Standard, Lincoln Center Appel Room, Smalls, Mezzrow, SF Jazz Miner Auditorium, National Sawdust, Newport Jazz Festival, Blue Note, among others. She has also performed and recorded with many of today’s leading artists including Paquito D’Rivera, Fabian Almazan, Linda Oh, Camila Meza, Aubrey Johnson, Vadim Neselovsky, David Broza, David Amram, and more. Her music has been featured on major international publications including Strings magazine, GRAMMY.com, WBGO’s “Jazz United” & “The Pulse”, Bandcamp Daily, Jazz Sessions, Jazz Times, Downbeat, AllAboutJazz, and more. Her fourth album “Branches Vol. 1” (Outside In Music, 2020) was also chosen for Bandcamp’s Best Jazz August 2020, among other critical acclaim. Jazz Times also premiered the music video of “Revenge Of The Rabbit” from this album. Her 3rd release, “Post Bop Gypsies” (Inner Circle, 2017), is a contemporary jazz trio album in the classic Gypsy jazz instrumentation of violin, guitar and bass. “Roots”, her second album, and first for Inner Circle Music, is a compelling tribute to her native Japan, featuring original arrangements of ten classic Japanese folk and popular songs. Downbeat awarded “Roots” four and half stars, naming Omura “a leader with a fine future”. From 2015-2020, she was also named a “Rising Star” in Downbeat magazine's Critic's Poll. In earlier years, she was a full time member of the world folk group, The Guy Mendilow Ensemble, as well as the contemporary Celtic ensemble, Runa, and toured around the US as a folk musician. She was also a member of the vintage jazz band Carte Blanche. Born and raised in Shizuoka, Japan, Omura began playing the violin at a young age under her mother’s instruction, and later began self-studying jazz while attending Yokohama National University. In 2004, she relocated to the United States when she was awarded a scholarship to study at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. While at Berklee, she worked with such legendary musicians as George Garzone, Hal Crook, Ed Tomassi, Jamey Haddad, Matt Glaser and Rob Thomas. Also at Berklee, she was the first violinist to receive the school’s prestigious Roy Haynes Award. Omura became a mother in 2020 and lives in Brooklyn, NY with her son, Allan, her husband, Glenn Zaleski and her cat, Leila.
Roy Haynes Award, 2005, Berklee College of Music
Honorable Mention, 2008 International Songwriting Competition
Ithaca Aceto pickup, Schetler pickup, Acoustic Image amp, ZT Lunch Box Acoustic, D'addario Kaplan Vivo, Thomastik Infeld Visions strings, AER amp, Crybaby, Boss RC 300 Looper, Line 6 M9,
Ditto Looper, Zoom A3 DI, Remic microphone, DPA microphone, Bartlett microphone, Barry Dudley 5-string violin, Realist 5-string Acoustic/Electric violin.
A leader with a fine future.
Magazine by Joe Tangari
"With a clear and sturdy violin attack, and an inventive voice as an improviser”
“A rising talent worth watching” - New York Times
, July 2017
everything ceaselessly flows, oft breezy, swingin', be-boppy while wafting through the hip museum
review by Mark S. Tucker
no matter how complex and expansive things may get, she retains those qualities that made the songs
memorable in the first place. It’s a hell of an accomplishment. It’s also a seriously exciting album
One of the best things to come out all year. It was my Pick of the Week when it first hit the shelves back in
January… and it remains one of the best things on that shelf as the year comes to a close.
-Bird is the Worm
Her swooping lines and emotive outpourings are contemporary without losing the sense of tradition
inherent in both Japanese folk and Western jazz - in other words she can swing!
Omura masterfully injects her bold and contemporary blend of jazz into these Japanese standards to create
a new and refreshing sound she can proudly call her own.
by Sebastien Helary
"Roots" is a tremendous accomplishment, and undoubtedly one of the most important and creative jazz
albums produced by a violinist in recent history.
- Chtistian Howes
"Roots" reaches back for its source material but is most certainly contemporary music at its best.
- Step Tempest
At once, Tomoko Omura's "Roots" is stirring and melodiously captivating