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Five Performers. Six Composers. ONE MARIMBA. Makoto Nakura needs your help to fund his new Wood and Forest album! Read more

pledged of $6,000 goal
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This project was successfully funded on October 14, 2012.

Five Performers. Six Composers. ONE MARIMBA. Makoto Nakura needs your help to fund his new Wood and Forest album!

About this project

Dear music lovers, friends, family and colleagues,

My name is Makoto Nakura, and I am on a mission to expand the marimba repertoire and I need your help to record my new album, Wood and Forest.

There aren't very many amazing pieces for the marimba, and I want to change that. I am working with some of the finest living composers and commissioning them to write outstanding marimba works. I want to get this music recorded for the world to hear, and this is where you come in.

THE PROJECT: the pieces are being recorded at the beautiful St.Viator Kitashirakawa Church in Kyoto, Japan and at the world-famous American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York City. My album will be released under the American Modern Recordings (AMR) label.

WHAT DO I NEED TO DO IT? I need to raise $6,000 in a month in order to cover the costs of editing, production, cover art and promotion.

TIMELINE FOR RAISING MONEY: 30 days...No big deal! I know I can do it with your help.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON'T MEET OUR GOAL OF $6,000? You don't have to pay and don't get your rewards in return. More importantly, the project will not get funded and this exciting recording will not get made.

WHAT IF I MEET MY GOAL? I immediately get started on the final steps and the album is produced. I am aiming to release it at a concert at the beautiful Rubin Museum of Art on November 14, 2012, exactly one month after my campaign ends. If I am fully funded, you can expect to be enjoying your copy of the CD by then!

WHAT IF I PASS MY GOAL? Any extra funds (which are enormously appreciated!) will go toward the release concert, shipping costs for the awards and the extra hard-working promotion staff at AMR who work tirelessly and are paid very little (it's an indie classical label, after all).

WHY SHOULD YOU HELP? By helping, you will become part of this project. No donation will be overlooked. I have rewards for every donation level starting at $1. Your generosity is greatly appreciated, and I promise you will not regret helping. It is my priority to continue funding and commissioning new music and sharing it through my albums and performances.

IS MY DONATION TAX-DEDUCTIBLE? Absolutely! I am partnering with the American Modern Ensemble, a 501c3 non-profit and as such, your donations are fully tax deductible!


The pieces on the album include:

The Trees Where I was Born for Solo Marimba by Jacob Bancks and is a meditation on the poetic imagery in Walt Whitman’s ode to the American South, O Magnet-South.

Duo for Viola and Vibraphone by Kenji Bunch, the only work on the album for vibraphone, is a three movement work with the titles Night, Dawn and Birds. This is the first recording in the world of this vibraphone, which is one of the world's largest vibraphones.

Forest Shadows for Solo Marimba by Robert Paterson, a composer and percussionist, is inspired by nature scenes by nineteenth-century French painters such as Theodore Rousseau and landscape painters like Caspar David Friedrich.

Arbor Una Nobilis (“Noblest of trees”) for Marimba and Violin, also by Jacob Bancks, is based on the chant Crux fiddles, an ancient hymn for Good Friday.

After the Forest Fire for Marimba, Flute and Cello by Michael Torke is inspired by the title's theme, and is the only trio on the album.

Winik/Te’ (wood/men) for Solo Marimba by Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez is inspired by the Mayan gods Hurricane and Heart-of-Sky who carved men out of wood, hoping that their new creation would “…walk about, multiply and live a purposeful life.”

My performer collaborators on this project include Jesse Mills on violin, Kenji Bunch on viola, Wilhelmina Smith on cello, and flutist David Fedele. All of the pieces on this album are world premiere recordings commissioned by the ISGM New Music Commissioning Fund for Makoto Nakura.


In 1994, I moved from my native Japan to New York City, becoming the first marimbist to win first prize in the prestigious Young Concert Artists International Auditions. My critically acclaimed performances around the world have included venues in London, Berlin, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Seoul, Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires. In the U.S., I have performed for audiences in 41 of the 50 states, with orchestras such as the New York Chamber Symphony, the Chicago Sinfonietta, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and, as a recital soloist, my list of appearances includes Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall, New York’s 92nd Street Y, and Washington’s Kennedy Center. I have performed numerous times with the American Ballet Theater in New York City and have appeared as a guest artist with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. I am a dedicated champion of the music of our time and many leading young composers have written pieces for me. It is my mission to explore and expand the possibilities of the marimba and to demonstrate what an exciting and provocative vehicle it offers to composers.

Born in Kobe, Japan, I began to play the marimba at the age of eight. I earned both Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Musashino College in Tokyo and continued my studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where I was named an Associate. I have been featured on CBS News Sunday Morning and my recitals have been widely televised by KBS (Korea) and NHK (Japan), as well as on many radio stations. My 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 and the BMI/Carlos Surinach Fund Marimba Commission.

By making this recording, I hope to introduce people to the marimba, and to new and wonderful pieces by world-class composers.

I am very passionate about this project, but I need your help. Any amount helps! Please consider being a part of my recording. 

Thank you so much for your generosity and support!

– Makoto



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    9 backers

    You will have access to exclusive, online, behind-the-scenes project updates AND the knowledge that you have helped new music grow in its outreach!

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    10 backers

    $1 level rewards, PLUS a digital download of two tracks from my upcoming album!

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    65 backers

    $10 level rewards, PLUS a digital download of the full album!

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    37 backers

    $25 level rewards, PLUS a first edition, signed copy of the album and a personal thank-you note!

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    7 backers

    $50 level rewards, PLUS two tickets to the upcoming Album Release Party concert at the Rubin Museum of Art in NYC, PLUS an exclusive, limited edition Makoto Nakura Wood and Forest Project T-shirt!

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    2 backers

    $100 level rewards, PLUS two additional tickets (for a total of four) to the Album Release Party, PLUS an invitation to a special, private tasting in NYC with Makoto and at least two of the composers on the album!

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    1 backer

    $250 level rewards, PLUS a limited edition, full color print of the album cover art, signed by Makoto and at least two of the other composers on the album, and three CDs of your choice from the AMR catalog!

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    Pledge $1,000 or more

    1 backer

    $500 level rewards, PLUS a night out (gourmet dinner and drinks on us) with Makoto and at least one of the other composers following a concert of your choice in 2013. Support new marimba music while rubbing elbows with its biggest supporters, which now include YOU!

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    $1,000 level rewards, PLUS Makoto will come and play a private performance in your home or venue of your choice for you and your closest friends! (Does not include airfare, hotel and marimba cartage/rental if applicable.)

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Funding period

- (30 days)