© Photos by Claudia Hansen
Marimbist Fumito Nunoya is gaining recognition internationally as one of today’s leading marimbists. Born in Odate, Japan (a small city in Akita Prefecture), he currently lives in Kreis Herford, Germany. He actively performs in Germany and Japan as Adams Marimba Artist.
An interview with Nunoya was the cover story of the May 2012 issue of Percussive Notes magazine. He has been described as “magnetic … impressive” (Houston Chronicle) and “agile and terrifically talented” (Boston Herald). His repertoire includes a range of solo and chamber works for marimba, as well as adaptations of Bach, Piazzolla, Japanese folk music, Ennio Morricone and more.
As a concerto soloist, Mr. Nunoya has appeared with the Houston Symphony, Eastern Connecticut Symphony, and The Boston Conservatory Orchestra (USA); the Sendai Philharmonic Orchestra and Atorion Chamber Orchestra (Japan); OWL Kammerphilharmonie Minden, Bartholdy-Ensemble Rheinfelden (Germany); and Di Repercussio Ensemble percussioni dell’Istituto Peri (Italy).
His solo marimba CD Red Dragonfly was called a “monumental CD” (Percussive Notes) and “an example of artistic music making at its highest level” (PAS—Florida Chapter newsletter). His second CD “The Sower,” in which he focused on Japanese pieces, was released in August 2013 from Octavia Records, Japan. In August 2016, Mr. Nunoya released two CDs (“Piazzolla on Marimba” and “Classics on Marimba”) from Oehms Classics, and the both CDs received special commendation awards from Record Geijutsu Magazine in Japan. In February 2019, he has relearsed his 5th CD "Concertos on Marimba," which received "Gouden Label" awards from Klassiek Centraal Belgium and 5 Stars on BBC Music Magazine.
Nunoya gained considerable attention when he won Third Prize at the 3rd World Marimba Competition (held in Germany in 2002—one of the most prestigious marimba competitions worldwide). He also won top prizes at many other national and international competitions including First Prize at the Ima Hogg Young Artists Competition (2005, Houston, Texas—USA), First Prize at the 3rd Libertango International Competition (2009, centered on the music of Astor Piazzolla—Italy), and Second Prize at Percussive Arts Society International Marimba Competition (2003, USA).
Mr. Nunoya has presented numerous solo performances in the USA, Europe and Japan include Zeltsman Marimba Festival (USA and Amsterdam, the Netherlands); Keiko Abe Lausanne International Marimba Academy (Switzerland); Southern California Percussion Ensemble Festival and Berklee Percussion Festival (USA); and Central Japan Percussion Festival, Kansai Japan Percussion Festival, and Fukui Marimba Seminar (Japan.) He twice performed live on WGBH-Radio on “Classics in the Morning” hosted by Cathy Fuller from Boston, Massachusetts (USA).
Fumito Nunoya began playing the piano at age seven, and marimba and other percussion at age thirteen. He graduated from Yamagata University (Japan) with a degree in Music Education, and Master of Music and Artist Diploma degrees in marimba performance from The Boston Conservatory (USA). He was the first marimba (or percussion) major in the school’s history to receive the later distinction (on full scholarship).
His teachers include marimbists Nancy Zeltsman and Nanae Mimura, and percussionists Patrick Hollenbeck and Tomoyuki Okada. In addition, he studied the marimba with pianists including Dr. Karl Paulnack, Professor Etsuko Okazaki and Kiyomi Takeda who also deeply influenced his music making. Mr. Nunoya has taught marimba at the Hochshule für Musik Detmold in Germany since 2009 and taught the marimba at Kyoto City University of Arts in Japan from 2015 until 2018. In September 2015, he was appointed as a sightseeing ambassador of Odate, his hometown.