Yuko's new album, PIANO BENTO, features her original compositions and arrangements as well as favorite jazz standards. It showcases her innovative keyboard instrumentation, including the Shigeru Kawai grand piano, Kawai MP7 Stage Piano, Kawai Toy Piano, and the "Walter" model Fortepiano, replica of a period keyboard from Mozart's time, handcrafted by American fortepiano maker Paul McNulty.
Pianist-composer-arranger Yuko Maruyama is from Tokyo, Japan. She graduated from the University of Southern California with a master’s degree in Jazz Studies. While at USC she studied classical and jazz piano performance, theory, composition and arranging. She was named the ‘Outstanding Graduate’ by the department and her original composition “Twilight” was featured in Jazz at USC, the first CD produced by the department. As a classical pianist, she was a first-prize winner in the Duo Piano Competition in San Diego during her years at USC.
Yuko has performed extensively with a wide variety of ensembles, from classical trios and church choirs to Latin jazz and big bands. She has also been the featured performer at several prestigious engagements including the California Welcome Receptions for Consul General and Mrs. Masaharu Kohno; for the former Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, and at numerous benefit events including the “Concert of the Century II” with artists Hiroshima and Kilahuea; and the Los Angeles Pacific Asian Heritage Festival. Yuko is also active in scoring original soundtracks for multimedia and television productions including the television documentary, Teaching Us to See.
Yuko has toured the U.S. with her CD “In Tone Nation” for Kawai Piano Company in 2002. The album contains all original compositions and was the first recording to feature the Shigeru Kawai piano, a special line of all handcrafted concert grand pianos from Japan. The CD was released as both a stereo audio CD and as a DVD audiophile recording that features both a DVD Audio 5.1 Surround mix and a 96kHZ/24-bit Advanced Resolution Stereo version. Yuko’s new album project, “Piano Bento,” features her original compositions and arrangements as well as the Shigeru Kawai piano, and this time she incorporates an assortment of other pianos, from antiquated to electronic, to create a unique blend of sounds and instrumentation.
In addition to performing and composing, Yuko also has extensive experience teaching classical and jazz piano as well as coaching vocalists and instrumentalists in band settings. For students in theory, arranging and jazz improvisation, she regularly writes arrangements and produces her own teaching material. Yuko was recently a guest artist session presenter at the MTAC State Convention in Los Angeles, and in her session entitled: “Jazz Improvisation: The Key to Superior Musicianship,” she discussed the importance of incorporating jazz improvisation in music lessons to elevate students’ overall musicianship. Yuko is an active member of the Music Teachers’ Association of California San Diego Branch and helps organize some of its events in her spare time.
Yuko Maruyama’s 2002 album, In Tone Nation, is the premiere recording of the SHIGERU KAWAI piano. This album was recorded in Los Angeles and features all original jazz compositions by Yuko Maruyama, the talented composer/performer from Tokyo, Japan.
The SHIGERU KAWAI piano is the embodiment of an extraordinary dream. Over one hundred years ago, in a humble workshop in Japan, Koichi Kawai embarked upon a journey... a spiritual quest to design and build a piano that would one day be called “the finest.” A generation later, this dream burned intensely in the heart of Koichi’s son, Shigeru Kawai. To Shigeru, the dream represented not just his origins, but his destiny... an unrelenting force that would launch a lifetime of devotion in the pursuit of perfection. For over half-a-century, he has stretched the bounds of excellence in the passionate quest to create an ever-higher work of art. In the SHIGERU piano, you will hear not just his labor and his love... but his life.
“I place my name upon this piano with pride and honor... as my personal expression of supreme commitment to the art of the piano.” - Shigeru Kawai, Chairman, Kawai Musical Instrument Mfg.
From initial design to the selection of the finest materials to the handcrafted assembly by master piano artisans, each Shigeru piano is a work of uncompromising craftsmanship, a symbol of unending devotion… a profound expression of pride and honor. For Shigeru Kawai, there could be no other way.
In Tone Nation is an impressive audiophile recording of both Yuko Maruyama’s innovative jazz sound and the exquisite “SHIGERU VII” piano. This recording is available as a stereo audio CD and as a combination DVD Audio disk that features a DVD Audio 5.1 Surround mix and a 96kHZ/24-bit Advanced Resolution Stereo version.
Reprint of a portion of a review of Canton Karat Speakers in
Secrets: Volume 9, Number 1, 2002, written by John E. Johnson, Jr.
“We get lots of CDs to review, and one in particular is a recent recording of Yuko Maruyama on the new Shigeru VII Grand Piano, introduced by Shigeru Kawai Piano Company. This is the premiere recording of the new piano ("In Tone Nation", Yuko Maruyama, Zephyr - http://www.yukomaruyama.com). It is a jazz album, with an easy listening style.
What captivated me about this album is the clarity of the recording. There did not seem to be any compression that ruins so many other CDs. With the Karats, I could place each instrument perfectly, including the piano, bass, drums, and saxophone across the soundstage. Maybe it was because the piano itself is a spectacular new product of Kawai, but in any case, someone spent a lot of time making this recording, and it is now part of my reference set, especially since the musicians are marvelous. Interestingly, it is an AAD recording made in 2001. In other words, it was recorded in analog, mixed in analog, and released as digital.”
The Making of Yuko Maruyama’s
In Tone Nation
By Geoff Gillette, Recording Engineer
I was very excited when the producer of Zephyr Media Group, called to invite me to engineer a Jazz recording project called In Tone Nation for a very talented young female artist from Tokyo named Yuko Maruyama. This project would also be the premiere recording of the new flagship SHIGERU KAWAI piano for both stereo CD and DVD Audio, 5.1 surround.
We decided to cut the tracks at my favorite recording studio, Entourage, in the North Hollywood arts district. We selected Entourage because, apart from it having a really nice sounding room, there is a nifty Neve Melbourne console that sounds great… and, of course, you can’t beat a Studer A827 24-track tape machine. I love that analog! (It also happens to be 3 minutes from my house and in LA that counts!)
What a pleasant surprise it was when I walked into the studio on the first day and laid my eyes on this gorgeous, brand new, SHIGERU KAWAI piano, just sitting there right in the middle of the room. Read More
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