Mika Stoltzman has been described by The Los Angeles Times as a “high-wire jazz marimbist… an amazing, energetic performer ready for major exposure,” and 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.”
Stoltzman has toured in 19 countries and 65 cities around the world. She has performed ten 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.
Stoltzman has performed as soloist with the Kyushu Symphony Orchestra, Kumamoto Symphony Orchestra, Kansai Philharmonic Orchestra, Krakow Philharmonic, and Szombathely 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.
Stoltzman 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 a new album, 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 Steven Epstein, guest artist Chick Corea, and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), released on the DENON label (Nippon Colombia, Japan and Savoy Records, US). In addition, Stoltzman’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 Joe Hisaishi’s Asian X.T.C. (Universal Japan). Her latest album, Palimpsest, was released worldwide on AVIE Records (June 7, 2019). All Music stated “The most spectacular aspect is Mika Stoltzman’s imagination in realizing Bach’s polyphonic thinking in shimmering textures in the transcription of the great Chaconne, from the Partita No. 2 for solo violin, BWV 1004. Absolutely superb, an unexpected masterpiece.”
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 3, and in junior high became fascinated by the drums. At 18, 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. There, she studied jazz with jazz vibraphone master Mike Mainieri. She now resides in Boston.