About Wataru

Wataru Niimori  works actively as a pianist, arranger, composer and educator in the U.S and Japan. He professionally works as an accompanist with singers, instrumentalists and dancers. He is also an educator. He has shared his music experience and knowledge through workshops and individual lesson. His musical styles are versatile: Blues, Boogie-woogie, Bossa Nova, Classical music, Funk, Gospel, Jazz, Musical, Popular and Rock. He loves playing Hammond Organ and Synthesizer as well as acoustic piano.


Wataru was born in Kyoto, Japan. At the age of 3, he started to play classical piano with Mrs. Mariko Fujisawa. He won second prize in Maizuru city’s piano competition, silver prize in YAMAHA piano competition and third prize in Kinki piano competition. Beside learning classical music, he enjoyed improvising, copying music from films and cartoons and playing along with recordings, which his parents owned records of Ray Charles, Elvis Presley, James Brown and traditional Japanese folk songs.

In 2004, Wataru studied film-direction at Temple University in Philadelphia, where he experienced one of the finest cities for Jazz, and reestablished his love for music. He started to learn Jazz piano with Mike Frank in 2005 and received Bachelor of Music degree (Jazz piano performance and composition) from Boyer College of Music, Temple University in 2010. He studied Jazz piano with Bruce Barth, Jazz composition with Dr. Norman David, and Classical composition with Dr. Richard Brodheard.

In 2014, Wataru received Master of Music degree of Jazz Studies at Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University, studying with Luke Gillespie, Dr. Steve Zegree and a legendary musician and educator, Dr. David Baker. In 2012, he joined in the Singing Hoosiers of Indiana University as the bandleader, accompanist and arranger, and toured in the U.S. and Australia. He also works as an assistant musical director of Gospel Choir of Japanese Christian Church of Philadelphia. 

Wataru played with Darmon Meader of New York Voices, with IUnison at Lincoln Center, with Indiana University’s Big Band, Temple University’s Big Band, toured Australia with the Singing Hoosiers. He also played as a pianist of the Stardusters in Indiana.

He is currently a full time faculty at The Music Studio in Albany, NY. He teaches music fundamental to children and piano, both classical and jazz, to young students.


©2014 Wataru Niimori

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