Ayami Okamura was born in Kyoto, Japan in 1990. She began her musical education at the age of 5 under piano teachers Ryoko Tsutsumi and Michiko Ikeda. Her first experience with percussion was playing in the wind ensemble at age 13. At 18, Ms. Okamura furthered her percussion education while studying at Kyoto City University of the Arts in Japan. Here, she began exploring the marimba under the guidance Tsuyoshi Yamamoto, Mayumi Hosoe, Setsuko Kutsuno, Mutsumi Tsuzaki, Makoto Nakura, and Kunihiko Komori. During her bachelor’s degree, she was among the top prize winners as a marimba soloist at Great Wall International, the Fresh Artist Competition in 2011, and the Japan Classical Music Competition in 2012. She also performed in a number of Gala performances in Kyoto, Osaka, and Tokyo. In 2011, and 2012, she received national attention as principal timpanist for the Kyoto Youth Orchestra and has performed percussion in many of the major concert halls in Kyoto. She has performed at the Zeltsman Marimba Festival in 2011, and the Fukui Marimba Festival in 2012, where she was chosen a solo performer in master class by Nancy Zeltsman.
In 2013, Ms. Okamura moved to the United States to study at the Boston Conservatory with world-renowned marimbist Nancy Zeltsman and famous percussionists Samuel Solomon and Keith Aleo. There she is pursuing a master’s in music with a focus on marimba. Since moving to Boston, she recently won the 2014–2015 Boston Conservatory Orchestra Concerto Competition and will perform Paul Creston’s Marimba Concerto under the direction of Bruce Hangen with the Boston Conservatory Orchestra.
Her artistic focus is on classical, contemporary, and especially new music. Ayami has premiered solo and chamber works for marimba and/or percussion including a composition by world famous marimbist Julie Spencer. Ms. Okamura is also in a duo group with violinist Izumi Hoshino, studying under Sharan Leventhal, who is known as the violinist for Marimolin along with Nancy Zeltsman on marimba. Their repertoire mainly focuses on contemporary music, including compositions by Paul Lansky, Andrew Thomas, and Thomas Oboe Lee. Ms. Okamura and Ms. Hoshino will be guests at the Zeltsman Marimba Festival in June 2015 at Rutgers University in New Jersey. Visit her website at http://ayamimarimbalove.wix.