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Premier Marimbist Mika Stoltzman Premieres Works By Geoffrey Keezer, Joel Ross, And John Zorn At Carnegie Hall May 2nd


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Premier Marimbist Mika Stoltzman Returns to Carnegie Hall for the Eleventh Time in One-Night Only Concert May 2, 2023

Including world premiere by Geoffrey Keezer, U.S. premiere by Joel Ross, and New York premiere by John Zorn Featuring special guest clarinetist Richard Stoltzman

“high-wire jazz marimbist…an amazing, energetic performer” –The Los Angeles Times

“Mika brings a joyful enthusiasm to the marimba that is captivating.” –Chick Corea

“She’s a brilliantly borderless artist…one-of-a-kind musician.” –All About Jazz

Hailed as a “Japanese marimba maestro (Time Out New York),” premier marimbist Mika Stoltzman returns to Carnegie Hall for the 11th time for a one-night only solo marimba concert Tuesday, May 2, 2023, at 8:00 p.m. Attracted by her genre-busting artistry, today’s most revered composers have written and/or arranged solo marimba works especially for her. Program highlights include four commissioned works by Geoffrey Keezer, Joel Ross, John Zorn and Chick Corea, as well as pieces by Bach, Keith Jarrett, and more. (Please scroll down for program details.)

A spirited, fearless marimbist who specializes in a meticulous acoustic fusion, Mika has been hailed as an exceptional virtuoso in both classical and jazz music fields. Her multifarious playing builds a bridge between drums and piano, serving as a living testimonial to the endless facets of her instrument. The program begins with Mika’s arrangement of Bach’s Cello Suite and Chaconne. According to Gramophone, she plays the latter “with greater rhythmic rigorous, yet her interpretation feels similarly contemplative, and her delicate touch brings an unexpected and touching fragility to this monumental work.”

The evening’s capstones are two new commissioned works by renowned jazz artists: Past Life Lullabies by Grammy Award-winning pianist/composer/arranger Geoffrey Keezer and Pulse Wave by one of today’s most talked about vibraphonists, Joel Ross. Past Life Lullabies explores the sounds and rhythms of Okinawa, whose culture and music have captivated Keezer since the 1990s, when he first heard traditional Okinawan music on the radio while on a tour of Japan. “Those beautiful, haunting melodies immediately felt familiar on a cellular level, even though I was born and raised seven thousand miles away in the Midwest,” explains Keezer.

Pulse Wave for Mika premiered Pulse Wave in Tokyo in 2021. This Carnegie Hall performance marks its American premiere. Pulse Wave sonically embodies its name embodying the movements and sounds of a wave. “The notes and shapes evoke the rose and fall of a wave as it journeys through to the end of the piece, while simultaneously delivering steady pulses scattered across measures and bar lines,” explains Ross. “Initially conceived as a spontaneous improvisation, the music develops like a story.”

Also on the program are two pieces by the illustrious avant-garde composer John Zorn: The Nymphs and the New York premiere of Anima for Marimba and Clarinet featuring a guest appearance by two-time Grammy Award-winning clarinetist Richard Stoltzman. In addition to sharing a married life together, these two consummate artists also share clarity of voice, astounding techniques, musical breadth and generosity of spirits. According to drummer and long-time collaborator Steve Gadd, “when you hear them play, it makes you want to rise up to the occasion.”

As an homage to her homeland of Japan, Mika performs Anta Gata Doko Sa, a popular Japanese children's song often sung while playing with a bouncing ball. Ending the concert is a tribute to one of Mika’s closest friends and collaborators, Chick Corea (1972-2021), a marimba enthusiast himself, with an emotional performance of a piece written just for her Birthday Song for Mika. According to Corea, “Mika brings a joyful enthusiasm to the marimba that is captivating.”

About Mika Stoltzman (marimba)

Mika has toured to 19 countries and 65 cities around the world. She has performed 10 times at Carnegie Hall (Zankel and Weill Hall), as well as at PASIC 2005 and 2007, the Blue Note in New York, the Tokyo and Cairo Jazz Festivals, and the Rockport Jazz Festival. She regularly performs around the world in a duo with her husband, clarinetist Richard Stoltzman, at major venues in

New York, Boston, Austin, Buenos Aires, Mexico, Hong Kong, Japan, Germany and many more.

Mika has performed as soloist with the Kyushu Symphony Orchestra, Kumamoto Symphony Orchestra, Kansai Philharmonic Orchestra, Kracow Philharmonic, and Szombathey Symphony Orchestra. In 2013, she gave the world premiere of Chick Corea’s Piano Concerto No. 1 on marimba with the Xalapa Symphony Orchestra in Mexico, and performed the work again with Orchestra Machiavelli in Italy in 2018.

Mika released her first album Mitsue in 1998, followed by Marimba Phase in 2003. In 2010, she released a live DVD, Marimba Madness, on Big Round Records, and new CD, Mikarimba, on Video Art Music (Japan). In 2013, she released If You Believe with Steve Gadd on TeeGa Music (Japan). In 2017, Mika and Richard Stoltzman recorded a duo album titled Duo Cantando with producer Stephen Epstein, guest artist Chick Corea, and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), released on the DENON label (Nippon Colombia, Japan and Savoy record, US). In addition, Mika’s arrangement and performance of Tokyo/Vermont Counterpoint appears on Steve Reich's album Triple Quartet (Nonesuch). She has also appeared on Richard Stoltzman's album Goldberg Variations (BMG Japan) and Jo Hisaishi's Asian X.T.C. (Universal Japan). In 2019, she released two albums: Palimpsest on AVIE Records, and Tapereba on Big Round Records. In 2022, she released Spirit of Chick Corea with Steve Gadd on the Disc Union, Japan label and joined Richard Stoltzman's on his last solo album on the Nippon Colombia, Japan.

Mika Stoltzman is from Amakusa, a small island in the Kumamoto prefecture in southern Japan. Her grandparents played traditional Japanese instruments, while her aunt taught piano and her father was a Kendo master. She began studying piano at age three, and in junior high became fascinated by the drums. At eighteen, she found the marimba, a perfect combination of piano and percussion. She studied marimba at Toronto University with members of NEXUS, and later moved to New York in 2008 where she learned from the master jazz vibraphonist Mike Mainieri. Mika now lives in Winchester, Massachusetts.

Ticketing + Program Information

Tuesday, May 2, 2023, at 8:00 p.m. ET

Carnegie Hall
Weill Recital Hall
Corner of 57th Street/7th Avenue
New York, New York

Train N/Q/R/W to 57th Street

Tickets starting at$50 (Students $30) are available from Carnegie Hall by phone at (212) 247-7800, online at carnegiehall.org, or in person at the box office.

Mika Stoltzman (marimba)
Richard Stoltzman (clarinet)


BachCello Suite No. 3
Bach Chaconne
Anta Gata Doko Sa (traditional Japanese folk song)
Joel Ross Pulse Wave (2020) U.S. premiere
Geoffrey Keezer Past Life Lullabies (2022)world premiere
Paul Simon Amulet (2008)
John Zorn The Nymphs (2012)
John Zorn Anima for Marimba and Clarinet (2020)
Keith Jarrett Over the Rainbow (1984)
Chick Corea Birthday Song for Mika (2019)

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