Kurena Yamaguchi is an active marimbist, chamber musician, soloist, and educator who has performed throughout Japan, the United States, and Europe. Before founding the sidexside Percussion Duo in 2013, Kurena has performed in many different chamber groups in Japan and Europe. From 2007-2013, Kurena and Miyako Yoneshige formed RadiMarish, a marimba duo that performed classical music, pop music and Japanese folk music. From 2006-2013, Kurena and Momoko Ishikawa performed as natree, a marimba and piano duo that performed classical music and pop music. As an active participant in music competitions all over the world, Kurena has competed as a chamber musician and soloist in Japan and Europe. In 2012, Kurena received First Prize in the duo category with Tomohiro Iino at the Yokohama International Music Competition. She has competed at the 2012 International Percussion Competition in Luxembourg and the 2013 Universal Marimba Competition in Belgium. In 2012, Kurena got 3rd place at the JILA Music Competition in Tokyo, Japan. In 2010 she received the Art Encouragement Prize at the 16th KOBE International Music Contest. In addition to performing as a chamber musician and soloist, Kurena was a member of the Le Rose Marimba Orchestra from 2007-2009 in Tokyo, Japan and a member of the American Wind Symphony Orchestra’s 2012 tour. Kurena has also been involved in the Fortunate Concert Series, a series of concerts aimed at raising money for various causes such as the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and impoverished schools in south east Asia.
Kurena Yamaguchi received her Bachelor of Music degree in 2012 from the Musashino Music Academy in Tokyo, Japan. During her time at Musashino, Kurena performed in percussion ensemble, many chamber ensembles, and the school orchestra. In 2011, Kurena performed in Suntory Hall for the Rainbow Project, a concert featuring contemporary Japanese composers. In 2011, Kurena was selected to perform the Jolivet Percussion Concerto for Musashino’s New Stream Concert Series. Kurena’s percussion teacher at Musashino was Sumire Yoshihara.
As an educator, Kurena has taught privately and in public schools in Japan. From 2008-2013, Kurena worked for the Agency for Cultural Affairs Project, an organization dedicated to exposing school children to art and music in Japan. Currently, Kurena teaches marimba privately in the St. Louis area.
Born and raised in Yokohama, Japan, Kurena started studying piano when she was 4 years old and began marimba lessons at age 7. In 2001, she traveled to San Diego, CA and studied percussion with Tatsuo Sasaki.