Dr. Kanako Chikami

Kanako Chikami
Titles and Organizations

Adjunct Applied Faculty, APPLIED PERCUSSION, Dewberry School of Music, CVPA

Contact Information

Campus: Fairfax
Building: de Laski Performing Arts Bldg
Mail Stop: 3E3
Email: kchikami@gmu.edu


Dr. Chikami’s marimba and piano lessons began in her native Japan when she was three years old. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Osaka College of Music in Japan, where she was a concert master in the Marimba orchestra. She moved to the U.S. in 2010 and she obtained her MM degree in percussion performance under the tutelage of Prof. Ji Hye Jung at the University of Kansas. In 2021, Dr. Chikami completed her DMA degree under the tutelage of Prof. John Kilkenny and Prof. Jonathan Rance at the George Mason University. Her dissertation is entitled “Utilizing Concept of  間(ma) in Japanese Percussion Repertoire”.

She has won many awards in marimba competitions such as first prize in the Mid Missouri Percussion Arts Trophy, the concerto competition at the University of Kansas, and first prize the Japan Percussion Society Competition in Tokyo. She is also a passionate chamber musician and has collaborated and studied with some of the most prestigious performers in the field. She has attended the Cortona Sessions for New Music (Tuscany, Italy) in 2015, Neue Eutiner Festspiele (Eutin, Germany) in 2013, and Sō Percussion Summer Institute and Chosen Vale in 2011.

Dr. Chikami taught percussion methods and applied percussion from 2017 to 2021 at Mason. She also taught percussion at the Sunderman Conservatory of Music in Gettysburg College from 2016 to 2017. She recently found a passion for teaching general music to children and instituted new classes in 2021. She is also currently working on an English translation of Keiko Abe’s new manual book for marimba.


  • BA Music (2008) – Osaka College of Music, Japan
  • MM Percussion Performance (2014) – University of Kansas
  • DMA Percussion Performance (2021) – George Mason University