Great musicians have been linked with their instruments throughout the history of music. We are truly fortunate to be able to hear and experience the artistry of Keiko Abe playing marimba. Audiences hearing her perform for the first time are often astonished by the modern marimba's wealth of tonal nuances and by the tremendous scope of Keiko's creativity and musicianship. Keiko has the ability to merge with her marimba: the resulting union produces music with incredible depth of feeling. She represents a perfect combination of virtuosic technique and passionate artistry.
Keiko commands an overwhelming repertoire and appears regularly throughout the world in performances of solo concertos, chamber music, and improvisations. She is in demand as a guest lecturer and has given master classes in leading music conservatories in North America, Central and South America, Europe, and Asia. Keiko has recorded extensively on the Denon label. Keiko has written over 70 compositions many of which have become some of the standards of marimba literature and can be heard in recitals by marimbists all over the world. Many modern composers have dedicated new works to her: Keiko has inspired and premiered over 182 compositions worldwide.
Keiko has received numerous awards and honors including the Japan Fine Arts Festival Award in 1968, '69, '71, '74, '76 and '89 and induction into the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame in 1993. Keiko has recorded over 20 CDs, has soloed with orchestra for over 100 concerts, over 300 performances with chamber ensembles, over 50 jazz concerts, and has given over 800 solo concerts. In addition to performing, Keiko has also served as Artistic Director for the World Festival in Japan, the Percussion Festival of Japan Week in Korea, and has served on special jury for the International Marimba Competition in Paris. For the World Marimba Competition in Germany, Keiko served on special jury for the first and third competition and as Chairperson of the jury for the second.
By both pioneering new technical skills and expanding the literature, Keiko has transformed what was once considered a primitive "Folk" instrument into a full-fledged concert instrument welcome in any of the most prestigious concert halls. In addition to her work as Professor of Marimba at Toho Gakuen School of Music in Tokyo, Keiko also maintains a full schedule of composing and touring.