In 2010 I was approached by the young Japanese marimba player Kana Omori to compose a new solo marimba piece for her. She asked for something that would be similar to my already well known and frequently performed pieces Ilija? and Ultimatum I. It needed almost 4 years until I finally found time and mused to compose another piece in such "Slavic" mood. "Homo Balcanicus", of course is just an imaginary "species", something that exists only in my personal mind and feelings. The title makes allusions to the very unique and, especially in the past, often "harsh" way of living, thinking and behaving of the people from the Area known as "The Balkans". The piece became tonal throughout, more than I originally planned. It starts with very strong and emotional melodic passages, that shortly after are combined with groovy, relaxed and very uneven rhythms. Some parts of the piece are in a strict bar and time, while other are using free metrical structures and rhythms "senza misura". Adding a low conga or tom-tom (both covered with a cloth) on a low side of the marimba just adds to this rural, ritual, dancing feel, since music and dance are very important part of most nations from the Balkans. And what is this Balkans? It is place where the soul is huge and wide, where tears, love, hate and joy are mixed and interwoven with each other into a wonderful expressive, lovely but also wild and danger unity. Thus, this piece can't be played expressively enough… there is no "overdoing" in the Balkans… Every emotion can be more emotional, every love more love, every groove more groove and every forte more forte… No "kids gloves treatment" here, when performing the piece.
(Nebojša Jovan Živković)

Nebojša Jovan Živković / Homo Balcanicus op. 41 (2014/15) for solo marimba
Commissioned by and dedicated to Kana Omori
World Premiered: Osaka, Japan, June 29th, 2014 by Kana Omori


I began to compose my piece Meditation I for marimba, glockenspiel and singing bowl, op. 15 in 2013 at the request of Kana Omori. After several breaks I completed the work in 2015.
Meditation I consists of six small pieces of melodies, sounds, moods that are performed in sequence to create a whole. A continuous ostinato of low sounds in the left hand provides a soundscape on which all the musical elements weave their stories.
Meditation I is dedicated to Kana. (Konstantia Gourzi)


 Original of this piece, Gurissen Music for Marimba, was composed for marimba and piano in 1996. In 2015, Hiroshi Chu Okubo revised this piece as Gerissen: Artfulness to Light, and Yoshiko Nakagawa arranged it for marimba duo. Gerissen means cunning in German. Musically, it also means to separate a hand from keyboard quickly. Artfulness to Light was composed to depict not cunning but brilliant lights after suffering. As a compositional technique, Fibonacci number is often used, and it sometimes causes mathematically sound. This piece was aimed to compose in the middle of pop and contemporary music. (Hiroshi Chu Okubo)


This piece was composed with the image of a marionette. ? It moves gently when its spring is unwound and becomes active when its spring is got wind.
At the beginning of the piece, the theme is presented with congas, bongos, cow bells, and wood blocks, and then the theme is established as a melody on marimba. The second section, which is gentle part, is written in 6/8 meter, and each instrument plays variations of the theme in different manners. These two sections alternately appear quasi rondo. The motif of this piece consists of four notes, B-E-B-A. This motif is performed throughout of the piece and establishes the marionette’s character. Piano part serves as an accompaniment. However, it also acts as the manufacturer of the marionette and controls the piece.
This piece is dedicated to Kana Omori and was premiered on March 1, 2015 at Happiness Takino in Japan.


Mythen was composed early in 2009 when I concluding my studies at the University of Performing Arts in Munich, Germany. It was written for my friends Kana Omori and Marcio Schuster who gave the first performance in April 2009. The collaboration between the Japanese percussionist and the Brazilian saxophonist worked out so well that they decided to form a permanent duo during their mutual stay in Munich and performed the piece several times.
The two movements of Mythen - I. Iara and II. Saci - are musical depictions of two characters from popular Brazilian mythology. Iara is the Goddess of waters and of the sea and is frequently pictured as a mermaid. With her seductive singing, she enchants the sailors who end up going mad and jumping into the water, only to find their death.
The Saci is a kind of forest spirit, he is usually pictured wearing a red cap and smoking a pipe. Although he has only one leg, he is a very agile creature who rushes through the Brazilian forests playing tricks on the invading humans and defending nature.


Early in 2010 my friend Kana Omori asked me to compose a piece for solo marimba for her. I finished the composition of Magatama in June that year, just in time for her to play it at the final round of an international percussion competition, where she ended up being awarded the 1st Prize. The form and structural elements of the composition were inspired by a traditional Japanese myth: In a dispute of power, Susanoo, the god of the sea and storms, triumphs over his sister Amaterasu, the goddess of the sun who adorns herself with magic pearls (“Magatama”). Angered, Amaterasu withdraws herself to a cave and by doing so covers the whole world in darkness for a long period of time. Finally the goddess Uzume comes up with an idea to bring her out of the cave using music and dance. Curious about the noises and music outside her cave, Amaterasu is indeed drawn out of the cave and - joining in the dance, music and merriment of the other gods - finally returns to the world, thus bringing back the Sun. Departing from the myth’s plot, Magatama is formally structured in four major sections: 1. Presentation of the main characters Amaterasu and Susanoo; 2. The duel between both and Susanoo’s triumph; 3. Amaterasu in the cave, the world in darkness; 4. The dance of light, which brings the Sun back to the world. As for the musical material, Amaterasu and Susanoo are both portrayed by contrasting musical ideas, both of which use elements drawn from traditional Japanese music.


I met Kana Omori 2008 in Munich. For a joint project with her, I wrote the piece “Hartack” for marimba. I was very pleased with Kana's interpretation of my piece and with the entire process of working with her. I also learned a lot of things about the marimba and its many possibilities from her. Kana Omori is an excellent musician, always open to new experiments and ideas and that makes her a remarkable performer of contemporary music. Hartack is based on irregular rhythm 5/8, 7/8, 9/8. The tempo varies from 60 to 120 and reminds together with marimba beats to heart pulse. Therefore is the name “Hartack” - as “hart” (from heart) and “tack”, as onomatopoeic for a stroke, but also the core of the word “attack”. The piece was written as a commission of “Siemens Arts Program” for the Japanese percussion player Kana Omori, who premiered the piece in Munich on 7.04.2009 in Siemens Forum.


My composirion “Varying Moods” is a result of my work with percussionist Kana Omori and saxophonist Marcio Schuster. The piece is dedicated to their duo. The first performance was extraordinary! They play really convincingly, have a great energy on stage, and work very well as a duo. They have already made a significant mark in new music and I believe they can achieve much more interesting results together.


The idea for “Do Not Walk Outside This Area” began while I was on a flight, staring out the airplane's window. I saw a lettered warning on the plane's wing: it read “Do Not Walk Outside This Area”. The message was obviously intended for the ground crew. I found it extremely surreal to read that cautionary message while airborne, thousands of feet above the ground. There was a moment when I tried to imagine what would happen if I left my seat and took a walk on the wing of the plane. “Do Not Walk Outside This Area” draws inspiration from these imaginative moments. It begins with a rhythmic idea resembling the sound of a dropped ball hitting a hard surface. This theme occurs again later in the piece. In the first two sections, there are unsuccessful struggles to reach crescendos, both of which end abruptly. The subdued middle of the piece reflects the futility of any attempt to escape or move beyond the designated area. In the final two sections, a lively rhythm returns. The piece was commissioned by, and dedicated to, Kana Omori, a great performer who can also be quite theatrical. I would never miss an opportunity to take advantage of both these talents of hers. Writing just a virtuosic piece would not have been enough in this case. So I incorporated vocal elements and a finale where she exits the stage while still playing, redefining the performing area and adding a visual aspect to the music's storyline.


A loganberry is a kind of bramble that bears pretty little berries.  As an aspiring young marimbist, with her face radiant with enthusiasm, Kana Omori resembles the bright red loganberry fruit.   But actually loganberries are best not when they are shiny red but when they are allowed to ripen and turn to deep burgundy, just like Kana when she came home after studying in Germany to become an accomplished musician in Japan.   In this piece I tried to portray Ms. Omori, a petite but dynamic marimbist. When you listen to her play, close your eyes and try to imagine what tone of red it sounds like. I’m sure she will present all the hues of red, depending on the mood of the moment.    By the way, Kana and I have known each other since we were children - two tiny green loganberries. Coincidentally, we happen to have the same family name, which makes me feel that we have some special connection to each other.


The Moth is the nocturnal relative of the butterfly. Camouflaged in the day by their inconspicuous dull coloration, moths are widely known for their attraction to artificial night-time lights. The reason for this behavior, however, remains unknown. Kana is an outstanding talent, a young percussionist whose increasing profile is well-deserved. Her rhythmic sense, her manual skills and her mastery of musical form create an experience that is simply music, art and beauty. She premiered my piece "Memory of a Moth" - which was dedicated to her - in a way that speaks of deep understanding. She has truly made it her own. It was a great pleasure to work with her.


Capriccio Grazioso was composed as a tribute to Kana Omori whose sparkling musicianship and fabulous technique combine to bring a seldom heard level of perfection and artistry to marimba performance. I was enormously inspired after hearing her play a wonderful piece at the 8th International Percussion Competition in Fermo, Italy, where she won the first prize. Her natural approach and overwhelming musicianship made a lasting impression. Later on, as I heard further performances and got to know Kana personally, the seeds of a marimba work were planted in my mind. I look back with great pleasure during the time she was learning the new piece and how she kept me closely informed of her progress. I’m sure you will enjoy Kana’s performance of Capriccio Grazioso as much as I have.


“Cerulean Landscape" was commissioned by and written for Kana Omori in March of 2013, and is one of my most recent compositions for solo marimba. Cerulean means a deep blue sky-color, and perhaps conjures up certain images as the composition works its way through different landscapes. It is a lyrical and romantic composition which focuses on beautiful sounds and expressiveness. It is perfect for Kana Omori, I think, who is a wonderfully expressive marimbist. She performs my new composition with beauty and grace.

Top Biography Concert and Information Photo Gallery Videos
Music for Kana Omori  Discography Link Contact

All Rights Reserved.