The Kennedy Center

Nakatani Gong Orchestra


The unconventional, uncontrollable, and unpredictable qualities of gong sounds are percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani’s passion. Having played bowed gongs for over ten years, he has toured and performed all over the U.S. and internationally with his array of instruments, many of which he created himself. While on tour, Mr. Nakatani enjoys collaborating with local musicians from the cities he visits.
Mr. Nakatani has recently launched the Nakatani Gong Orchestra (N.G.O.) a bold, new project born of his ten years of experience as a solo percussionist. As a solo performer, both of his hands are occupied by bow or mallet, limiting him to just two gongs. But imagine the wall of sound of ten hands playing ten gongs—that’s the sonic power of N.G.O.
The music of N.G.O. is a metallic temple of deep harmonies.  A performance features five people on five gong kits, usually 8-10 gongs onstage, with Mr. Nakatani as the ensemble's conductor. All stands, bows and mallets are assembled or hand-made by Mr. Nakatani as an important phase of the composing process of N.G.O. and its music. The gongs are bowed and softly struck by mallets to produce sounds that defy musical categorization.  Underpinning the ensemble is a 40-inch gong which creates extreme low-frequencies that cross-vibrate with the tones of the other gongs of varying sizes. The result is a sound which emanates from the deepest frequency pool and is felt in the very depths of the body.

Born and raised in Osaka, Japan, Mr. Nakatani currently resides in Easton, Pennsylvania. He has released over sixty CD recordings in the U.S. and Europe. Since the late 1990s, he has performed primarily as a solo percussionist across the U.S. and overseas and has taught master classes at universities as well as holding workshops and lectures.  His N.G.O. performs nationwide.

Watch Past Performances

Video 2/10/2012: Nakatani Gong Orchestra

Japanese percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani presents a bold, new project featuring an ensemble of percussionists in concert with multiple gongs creating an unconventional musical experience.

Nakatani Gong Orchestra