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Keiko Abe (1937-     )

Keiko Abe, composerLong considered one of the finest marimbaists in the world, Keiko Abe is also a composer of note, having contributed a number of pieces to her instrument's standard repertoire. Abe was introduced to the marimba in 1950 by an American missionary group traveling in Japan. Abe attended a performance by the group, in which they played hymns arranged for marimbas; the twelve-year-old was inspired by the tonal warmth of the instrument, and undertook to play it herself. Abe attended Gakugei University in Tokyo from 1960 to 1961. She began playing pop songs in a group called the Xebec Trio; wanting to pursue her music studies, she joined the Tokyo Marimba Group in 1962. At her urging, the group began performing works by contemporary composers. The resulting music contributed to an expanding of the instrument's sparse repertoire. Abe became increasingly active, appearing regularly on television and radio. She became a member of the NHK Symphony as a mallet specialist, but the main thrust of her work was as a soloist, composer, and advocate for her instrument; in one five-year span, she recorded thirteen albums. Abe contributed greatly to an expansion of the marimba's expressive possibilities; in her hands, it became an instrument capable of great subtlety. Indeed, she endeavored to establish the marimba as a solo instrument of note along the lines of the piano. Her compositions have established a niche for an instrument that had once been considered little more than a novelty. Abe's concept of the instrument also directly determined how it would come to be configured and manufactured. The Japanese instrument maker Yamaha adopted her ideas when it began designing and building marimbas. In 1971, the company finished a four-octave marimba that Abe used in performance, and throughout the 1970s the company worked with her to refine her vision of what the instrument should be. Many of her ideas were incorporated into the newer instruments, including a wider range, adjustable resonators, and an improvement in projection. In 1984, Abe's ideas resulted in the building of a five-octave marimba, the standard design today.

COMPOSITIONS                                                            Abe Links     ~ ~ ~     Works by Genre
Frog, marimba (1958)
Michi, marimba (1978)
Variations on Japanese Children's Songs, marimba (1982)
Dream of the Cherry Blossoms, marimba (1984)
Sea of Galilee for Six Mallets, marimba [1 player, 6 mallets] (1984)
Wind in the Bamboo Grove, marimba (1984)
    - Wind in the Bamboo Grove II, 2 marimbas (2003)
Ancient Vase, marimba (1986)
Memories of the Seashore, marimba (1986)
    - Memories of the Seashore, marimba ensemble (1997)
    - Memories of the Seashore II, 2 marimbas (1988)
    - Memories of the Seashore III, marimba, percussion and voice (2005)
Prism, marimba (1986)
    - Prism, 2 marimbas (1992)
Little Windows, marimba (1986)
Conversation in the Forest I, solo marimba and 3 percussionists (1988)
    - Conversation in the Forest, 2 marimbas (1997)
    - Conversation in the Forest, marimba ensemble (1998)
    - Conversation in the Forest, marimba ensemble, 3 percussionists and Gamelan Jegog (1998)
    - Conversation in the Forest II, marimba, oboe and 2 percussionists (1993)
    - Conversation in the Forest III, 2 marimbas and 3 percussionists (2000)
    - Conversation in the Forest V, marimba ensemble and 2 percussionists (2007)
    - Conversation in the Forest, marimba quartet (2010)
She Dies, My Water Lily Tonneke, recorder and marimba (1989) [collab w/Walter van Hauwe]
Torrent, recorder and marimba (1989) [collab w/Walter van Hauwe]
Sylvan Stroll, marimba and vibraphone (1990) [collab w/Dave Samuels]
Early Spring, marimba and vibraphone (1990) [collab w/Dave Samuels]
Autumn in Nara, marimba and vibraphone (1990) [collab w/Dave Samuels]
Sunday Afternoon, marimba and vibraphone (1990) [collab w/Dave Samuels]
Dream, marimba and vibraphone (1990) [collab w/Dave Samuels]
Labyrinth, marimba and vibraphone (1990) [collab w/Dave Samuels]
In Praise of Nature, marimba and tape (1990)
Sylvan Stanzas, "Mountain Stanzas", marimba (1990)
From the Far Side of Earth, marimba and tape (1990)
Voice of Matsuri Drums, marimba (1992)
Wind Across Mountains, marimba [2 players, 6 mallets] (1992)
    - Wind Across Mountains, solo marimba (1992)
    - Wind Across Mountains, 2 marimbas (1997)
    - Wind Across Mountains, marimba ensemble (2003)
Aqua-Harmonia based on "Memories of the Seashore", marimba, 2 violins & perc ensemble (1992)[collab w/Masakazu Natsume]
Wind Sketch, marimba (1993)
    - Wind Sketch II, 2 marimbas (1999)
    - Wind Sketch III, solo marimba and percussion ensemble (1997)
    - Wind Sketch IV, 2 marimbas and 2 percussionists (2001)
Itsuki Fantasy, marimba [1 players, 6 mallets] (1993)
Ban-ka, marimba (1993)
    - Ban-ka, marimba [4 players] (1994)
    - Ban-ka, solo marimba and percussion group (1994)
Tambourin Paraphrase, marimba (1993)
    - Tambourin Paraphrase, 2 marimbas (1994)
    - Tambourin Paraphrase, marimba ensemble (1997)
    - Tambourin Paraphrase III, 2 marimbas and percussionist (2003)
Prism Rhapsody (Marimba Concerto), solo marimba and orchestra or wind ensemble (or orchestra) (1995)
    - Prism Rhapsody (2nd Edition), solo marimba and orchestra (or wind ensemble) (2001)
    - Prism Rhapsody II, 2 marimbas and orchestra or wind ensemble (2001)
    - Prism Rhapsody II, 2 marimbas and 6 percussionists (2004)
Michi II, marimba (1998)
Marimba d'Amore, marimba (1998)
Ancient Letter, marimba (2000)
Marimba Concertino, "The Wave", solo marimba and 4 percussionists (2000)
The WAVE Impressions, marimba ensemble and 2 percussionists (2002)
    -The WAVE Impressions, marimba ensemble and Gamelan Jegog (2004)
    - The WAVE Impressions, marimba ensemble and 4 percussionists (2006)
    - The WAVE Impressions, marimba and 2 percussionists (2008)
Song of the Seashore, marimba (2002)
Kazak Lullaby, marimba (2002)
Piacer d'amor, marimba (2002)
Reflections on Japanese Children's Songs II, 2 marimbas (2003)
    - Reflections on Japanese Children's Songs III, 2 marimbas and percussionist (2003)
    - Reflections on Japanese Children's Songs III, marimba ensemble and 2 percussionists (2004)
    - Reflections on Japanese Children's Songs II, 2 marimbas (2010)
Alone, marimba (2003)
Galilee Impression, marimba [1 players, 6 mallets] (2004)
Prism Variations, marimba ensemble and 4 percussionists (2005)
    - Prism Variations, marimba ensemble and 4 percussionsists (2010)
Mi-chi III, marimba and voice (2005)
Variations on Dowland's Lachrimae Pavana, marimba (2007)
Kodama, marimba (2007)
The Breath of the Tree II, 2 marimbas (2008)
Mi-chi Paraphrase, marimba (2009)
Prism II, 2 marimbas (2010)


WORKS BY GENRE                                                            Abe Links     ~ top of page ~
Soloist(s) w/Orchestra or Wind Ensemble or other Ensemble
Conversation in the Forest I, solo marimba and 3 percussionists (1988)
    - Conversation in the Forest III, 2 marimbas and 3 percussionists (2000)
Wind Sketch III, solo marimba and percussion ensemble (1997)
Wind Sketch IV, 2 marimbas and 2 percussionists (2001)
Ban-ka, solo marimba and percussion group (1994)
Tambourin Paraphrase III, 2 marimbas and percussionist (2003)
Prism Rhapsody (Marimba Concerto), solo marimba and orchestra or wind ensemble (or orchestra) (1995)
    - Prism Rhapsody (2nd Edition), solo marimba and orchestra (or wind ensemble) (2001)
    - Prism Rhapsody II, 2 marimbas and orchestra or wind ensemble (2001)
    - Prism Rhapsody II, 2 marimbas and 6 percussionists (2004)
Marimba Concertino, "The Wave", solo marimba and 4 percussionists (2000)
The WAVE Impressions, marimba and 2 percussionists (2008)
Reflections on Japanese Children's Songs III, 2 marimbas and percussionist (2003)

Marimba - SOLO
Frog, marimba (1958)
Michi, marimba (1978)
Variations on Japanese Children's Songs, marimba (1982)
Dream of the Cherry Blossoms, marimba (1984)
Sea of Galilee for Six Mallets, marimba [1 player, 6 mallets] (1984)
Wind in the Bamboo Grove, marimba (1984)
Ancient Vase, marimba (1986)
Memories of the Seashore, marimba (1986)
Prism, marimba (1986)
Little Windows, marimba (1986)
In Praise of Nature, marimba and tape (1990)
Sylvan Stanzas, "Mountain Stanzas", marimba (1990)
From the Far Side of Earth, marimba and tape (1990)
Voice of Matsuri Drums, marimba (1992)
Wind Across Mountains, solo marimba (1992)
Wind Sketch, marimba (1993)
Itsuki Fantasy, marimba [1 players, 6 mallets] (1993)
Ban-ka, marimba (1993)
Tambourin Paraphrase, marimba (1993)
Michi II, marimba (1998)
Marimba d'Amore, marimba (1998)
Ancient Letter, marimba (2000)
Song of the Seashore, marimba (2002)
Kazak Lullaby, marimba (2002)
Piacer d'amor, marimba (2002)
Alone, marimba (2003)
Galilee Impression, marimba [1 players, 6 mallets] (2004)
Variations on Dowland's Lachrimae Pavana, marimba (2007)
Kodama, marimba (2007)
Mi-chi Paraphrase, marimba (2009)

Marimba - CHAMBER
Wind in the Bamboo Grove II, 2 marimbas (2003)
Memories of the Seashore (1997)
    - Memories of the Seashore II, 2 marimbas (1988)
    - Memories of the Seashore III, marimba, percussion and voice (2005)
Prism, 2 marimbas (1992)
Conversation in the Forest I, solo marimba and 3 percussionists (1988)
    - Conversation in the Forest, 2 marimbas (1997)
    - Conversation in the Forest II, marimba, oboe and 2 percussionists (1993)
    - Conversation in the Forest III, 2 marimbas and 3 percussionists (2000)
    - Conversation in the Forest, marimba quartet (2010)
She Dies, My Water Lily Tonneke, recorder and marimba (1989) [collab w/Walter van Hauwe]
Torrent, recorder and marimba (1989) [collab w/Walter van Hauwe]
Sylvan Stroll, marimba and vibraphone (1990) [collab w/Dave Samuels]
Early Spring, marimba and vibraphone (1990) [collab w/Dave Samuels]
Autumn in Nara, marimba and vibraphone (1990) [collab w/Dave Samuels]
Sunday Afternoon, marimba and vibraphone (1990) [collab w/Dave Samuels]
Dream, marimba and vibraphone (1990) [collab w/Dave Samuels]
Labyrinth, marimba and vibraphone (1990) [collab w/Dave Samuels]
In Praise of Nature, marimba and tape (1990)
Sylvan Stanzas, "Mountain Stanzas", marimba (1990)
Wind Across Mountains, marimba [2 players, 6 mallets] (1992)
    - Wind Across Mountains, 2 marimbas (1997)
Aqua-Harmonia based on "Memories of the Seashore", marimba, 2 violins & perc ensemble (1992)[collab w/Masakazu Natsume]
Wind Sketch (1993)
    - Wind Sketch II, 2 marimbas (1999)
    - Wind Sketch IV, 2 marimbas and 2 percussionists (2001)
Ban-ka (1993)
    - Ban-ka, marimba [4 players] (1994)
    - Ban-ka, solo marimba and percussion group (1994)
Tambourin Paraphrase (1993)
    - Tambourin Paraphrase, 2 marimbas (1994)
    - Tambourin Paraphrase III, 2 marimbas and percussionist (2003)
The WAVE Impressions (2002)
    - The WAVE Impressions, marimba and 2 percussionists (2008)
Reflections on Japanese Children's Songs II, 2 marimbas (2003)
    - Reflections on Japanese Children's Songs III, 2 marimbas and percussionist (2003)
    - Reflections on Japanese Children's Songs II, 2 marimbas (2010)
Mi-chi III, marimba and voice (2005)
The Breath of the Tree II, 2 marimbas (2008)
Prism II, 2 marimbas (2010)

Percussion Ensemble
Memories of the Seashore (1986)
    - Memories of the Seashore, marimba ensemble (1997)
Conversation in the Forest I (1988)
    - Conversation in the Forest, marimba ensemble (1998)
    - Conversation in the Forest, marimba ensemble, 3 percussionists and Gamelan Jegog (1998)
    - Conversation in the Forest V, marimba ensemble and 2 percussionists (2007)
Wind Across Mountains (1992)
    - Wind Across Mountains, marimba ensemble (2003)
Aqua-Harmonia based on "Memories of the Seashore", marimba, 2 violins & perc ensemble (1992)[collab w/Masakazu Natsume]
Wind Sketch (1993)
    - Wind Sketch IV, 2 marimbas and 2 percussionists (2001)
Tambourin Paraphrase (1993)
    - Tambourin Paraphrase, marimba ensemble (1997)
The WAVE Impressions, marimba ensemble and 2 percussionists (2002)
    -The WAVE Impressions, marimba ensemble and Gamelan Jegog (2004)
    - The WAVE Impressions, marimba ensemble and 4 percussionists (2006)
Reflections on Japanese Children's Songs II (2003)
    - Reflections on Japanese Children's Songs III, marimba ensemble and 2 percussionists (2004)
Prism Variations, marimba ensemble and 4 percussionists (2005)
    - Prism Variations, marimba ensemble and 4 percussionsists (2010)


ABE  LINKS                                                            Works by Genre      ~ top of page ~
How To Build A Marimba Village (Rebecca Kit, DRUM! Magazine)
Keiko Abe - A Virtuosic Life (Rebecca Kite)
A Performance Guide and Theoretical Study of Kekio Abe's "Marimba D'Amore" ... (Juan Manuel Ālamo Santos)
Saturday Art: Keiko Abe and Modern Marimba Music (EdwardTeller, MyFDL)

Composer's website   . . .   contact Keiko Abe:  here

Abe @ Wikipedia
Abe @ Answers.com
Abe @ The Boston Conservatory
Abe @ Classical Archives
Abe @ Classical Net
Abe @ GMN ClassicalPlus
Abe @ InstantEncore
Abe @ Keiko Abe Lausanne International Marimba Academy
Abe @ Keiko Abe Marimba Academy/SUNY Fredonia
Abe @ Rebecca Kite
Abe @ Mostly Marimba
Abe @ MusicWeb International
Abe @ Naxos
Abe @ The New York Times
Abe @ Percussive Arts Society
Abe @ Southern Percussion
Abe @ World Marimba Competition
Abe @ Yamaha Artists    also    here

Publisher
Abe @ Composer's website/publisher listings
Abe @ GP Percussion
Abe @ Music for Percussion
Abe @ Schott
Abe @ Studio 4 Productions
Abe @ Steve Weiss Music
Abe @ Xebec
Abe @ Yamaha Music Foundation [Schott]
Abe @ Zimmermann

Streaming Audio
Abe @ Classical Archives
Abe @ Internet Archive
Abe @ last.fm
Abe @ MySpaceMusic    here    and     here
Abe @ Rhapsody.com
Abe @ SoundCloud

Recordings
Abe @ Composer's website
Abe @ Amazon.com
Abe @ ArkivMusic
Abe @ CD Universe    also    here    and    here
Abe @ ClassicsOnline
Abe @ Discogs
Abe @ itunes
Abe @ Naxos

Video
Abe @ YouTube
Abe @ Google Video
Abe @ Vimeo (via Google Advanced Search)
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