Born on July 24, 1938, in the Bronx, New York, Mike Mainieri started to learn vibraphone from the age of 12 and made his professional debut at the age of 14. After performing as a member of the Buddy Rich Band, he served as a pioneer in the New York style fusion movement as a band leader of legendary groups, including White Elephant, L'Image, STEPS and STEPS AHEAD together with Steve Gadd, Michael Brecker and other artists in 1970s. Thereafter, he recorded with renowned musicians, including Paul Simon and Billy Joel, while continuously providing significant impact on the music scene through such initiatives as handling the arrangement of the 60-member Symphony Orchestra for rock band Aerosmith.
In 1994, as Mike Mainieri was sensing the limit of the expressive capability of the vibraphone as a musical instrument, the relationship with Yamaha and Mainieri began. Mainieri contacted Yamaha via a New York-based vibraphonist Dave Samuels to find out if Yamaha was capable of producing a custom-made vibraphone. Hiroaki Ohmuro, a great fan of jazz and also Yamaha's designer at that time, combined the opinions of Mainieri and Samuels to customize a vibraphone. Mainieri was extremely delighted with the result and commented, ""The sound it creates is sophisticated, like the piano."" The reputation of the resulting 3 1/2Oct vibraphone spread via word of mouth and became a hot topic among jazz circles. The instrument was generally marketed thereafter as the YV3910 model and is currently well established as the next-generation vibraphone.
Other Percussion Artists
Isao Nakamura has taught at the Internationalen Ferienkurse für Neue Musik in Darmstadt (1994-2006), Akiyoshidai International Contemporary Music Seminar and Festival in Japan (1991-1998) and is Professor at the Hochschule für Musik in Karlsruhe since 1992.
Don Liuzzi was born and raised in Weymouth, Massachusetts, and completed high school at the Franklin Learning Center in Philadelphia. He earned his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Michigan and his Master of Music degree from Temple University. Before joining The Philadelphia Orchestra in 1989, Mr. Liuzzi was a member of the Pittsburgh Symphony percussion section from 1982 to 1989.
Nebojsa Zivkovic is recognized as one of the world's top marimba and percussion soloists and as one of the most unique and expressive artists in the field today. He tours Europe extensively, performs in Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Russia, Latin America, Mexico, and annually in the USA. As a soloist, Zivkovic has performed with many orchestras around the globe: Stuttgart Philharmonic, Munich Symphonic, Bochum Philharmonic, Austrian Chamber Symphony, Hannover Radio Symphony, National Orchestra of Costa Rica, Minnesota Orchestra and many others.