Take Five with Mika Stoltzman

Mika Stoltzman By

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About Mika Stoltzman

Mika Stoltzman has been described as a "Japanese Marimba Maestro," by Time Out New York. All About Jazz raves, "Mika Stoltzman is beyond category, to use Duke Ellington's signature compliment." Mika has toured to 19 countries and 65 cities around the world. She has performed nine 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 and Richard Stoltzman recently released Palimpsest (AV2409), their first album for AVIE Records, which features music by J.S. Bach, Ravel, William Thomas McKinley, John Zorn, and Astor Piazzolla. Bandoneónist Héctor Del Curto and bassist Pedro Giraudo are guest artists on Palimpsest, which was produced and engineered by Steven Epstein. Mika and Richard will perform music from the album in concert at Carnegie Hall's Weill Hall in New York, joined by Eddie Gomez, bass and Steve Gadd, drums, for the performance.



Teachers and/or influences?

My most important teachers / musicians who have inspired me are NEXUS, drummer Steve Gadd, vibraphonist Mike Mainieri, composer Chick Corea, and clarinetist (and my husband) Richard Stoltzman.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...

I was 30 years old when I knew I wanted to be a musician!

Your sound and approach to music.

My approach to music is all about communicating the emotions inside me.

Favorite venue

My favorite concert hall is the Rockport Music-Shalin Liu Performance Center, which has amazing acoustics without being too big. My favorite jazz club is Blue Note Tokyo, because my five-octave marimba totally fit!

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?

If You Believe and Duo Cantando are two of my favorite albums from my discography. My new album Palimpsest (out now on AVIE Records) is also one of my favorites because it includes my most accomplished recording of the Bach Chaconne in D minor.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?

Groove, soul, and sounds which strive to be unique, purposeful, and of the highest quality.

What is your greatest fear when you perform?

I don't feel afraid I when perform. I just concentrate on communicating the music.

The first jazz album I bought was:

I bought three albums actually, by Art Blakey, The Jazz Messengers, and Miles Davis.

Desert Island picks:

Keith Jarrett: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier Book 1 (ECM Records)
Chick Corea and The Spanish Heart Band: Antidote (Concord Jazz)
Hilary Hahn: Hilary Hahn plays Bach: Violin Sonatas Nos. 1 & 2; Partita No. 1 (Decca Records)
Yo-Yo Ma: Six Evolutions -Bach Cello Suites (Sony Classical)

What is in the near future?

I have a new album called Palimpsest with clarinetist Richard Stoltzman, our first album for AVIE Records, which is out now! It features music by Bach, Ravel, William Thomas McKinley, John Zorn (who wrote the title song "Palimpsest"), and Piazzolla. Bandoneónist Héctor Del Curto and bassist Pedro Giraudo are guest artists, and it was produced and engineered by Steven Epstein. Richard and I will perform music from the album in concert on Wednesday, June 12 at Carnegie Hall's Weill Hall.

On June 21, I am performing at the Newman Center for the Performing Arts in Denver, Colorado with clarinetist Richard Stoltzman and pianist Peter John Stoltzman.

On August 22, I am performing at Rockport Music-Shalin Liu Performance Center (my favorite concert hall!) with clarinetist Richard Stoltzman, drummer Steve Gadd, bassist Eddie Gomez, and percussionist Duke Gadd.

In September, I am going on tour in Italy with Richard Stoltzman. We are performing at the Cremona Music Festival and Ascoli Music Festival.

Finally, I have a new jazz album coming out soon with Steve Gadd and Eddie Gomez. Stay tuned!

Photo credit: Yuka Yamaji

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