is a musician whose artistry and astonishing virtuosity has been mesmerizing audiences for a quarter of a century. In 1994, Makoto moved from his native Japan to New York City, becoming the first marimbist to win first prize in the prestigious Young Concert Artists International Auditions. His critically acclaimed performances around the world have included venues in London, Paris, Berlin, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Seoul, Montreal, Mexico City, Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires.
In the U.S., he has performed for audiences in 41 of the 50 states, with orchestras such as the New York Chamber Symphony, the Chicago Sinfonietta and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and, as a recital soloist, his long list of appearances includes Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall and Washington’s Kennedy Center. He has appeared as a guest artist with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and appeared in many chamber music festivals as a chamber musician. A television portrait of Mr. Nakura was shown on CBS News Sunday Morning throughout the U.S.
Mr. Nakura has established himself as a dedicated champion of the music of our time. Since he founded the ISGM New Music Commissioning Fund in 2001, numerous solos, concertos, chamber works and interdisciplinary works have been commissioned from leading composers by the fund for him.
He has also been developing collaborative works with other art forms, such as a project with the American Ballet Theatre as well as ones with the spoken word, paintings and image projection.
Born in Kobe, Japan, Mr. Nakura began to play the marimba at the age of eight. He earned both Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Musashino College in Tokyo and continued his studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London from which he was named an Associate. In addition to teaching at the Kyoto City University of Arts for six years, he has also given masterclasses at many music colleges throughout four continents.
His recent honors include a National Arts Festival New Artist Award from the Japanese Agency of Cultural Affairs, the Barocksaal Award from the Aoyama Music Foundation in Kyoto, the Grand Prize from the Kobe Art Award and the BMI/Carlos Surinach Fund Marimba Commission.
He has released four CDs (“Ritual Protocol”, “Triple Jump”, “Wood and Forest” and “Tsuneya Tanabe Marimba Works”) devoted to the works composed especially for him. His own transcriptions have borne the fruit of three critically acclaimed CDs “Bach Beat”, “Bach Beat II” and “Tears and Prayers”.