Dr. Wataru Niimori actively works as a composer, music engraver, orchestrator and pianist in the U.S. and Japan. His works include scores for a documentary, “Nebraska Stories: VIETNAM,” produced by Nebraska Educational Telecommunication (NET) and a short film selected by Omaha Film Festival 2018, “Central Incompetence.” His other works include arrangements for concert music, jazz, dance, and rock including “String Quartet No.1 in G Major,” “Emily Dickinson Song Cycle for Soprano voice, Alto saxophone and Piano,” “Song for Jessica (for the jazz big band),” and “Dance Project 2018.” His expertise is music preparation for the concert and recording session and his service includes engraving musical scores & parts, cleaning up MIDI and making a mockup.
Wataru was born in Kyoto, Japan. At the age of 3, he started studying classical piano under the watchful eye of his teacher Mrs. Mariko Fujisawa. He won the second place in Maizuru city’s piano competition, silver prize in YAMAHA piano competition and the second place in Kinki piano competition. Apart from studying classical music, he enjoyed improvising, copying music from films and cartoons, and playing along with recordings his parents owned, which included the Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, Louis Armstrong, Ray Charles, Elvis Presley, James Brown and traditional Japanese folk songs. His musical styles are versatile in both composing and performing and include Blues, Boogie-woogie, Bossa Nova, Classical music, Country, Dixieland, Electronic, Funk, Gospel, New Orleans and Rock. He is also enthusiastic about studies in the ethnic music: Arabic, French, Indian and Irish music. He had the opportunity to learn how to play goblet drum called Dumbek, with a group of Syrian percussionists. In addition to playing Dumbek, he also enjoys playing Flute, Penny Whistle, Hammond Organ and Synthesizer as well as acoustic piano.
As a keyboard player, orchestrator and music engraver, he was a part of various ensembles including Glenn Miller Orchestra and New Mexico Philharmonic, which toured the U.S., Australia, Croatia, and Japan. He also works as a solo piano player at concerts and restaurants. In his highly acclaimed solo performance at Lincoln Center in NYC in 2018.
Wataru graduated from Temple University with Bachelor of Music (piano performance and composition), Indiana University with Master of Music (Jazz Studies) and University of Nebraska-Lincoln with Doctor of Music Arts (composition).