Kai Stensgaard

Marimba – Aluphone – Composer


Solo recitals

Marimba with Orchestra

Concerts for Orchestra & Concert Band


solo & with orchestra


Kai Stensgaard, is internationally recognized as a leading concert marimba artist and composer from Denmark. KS is one of the pioneers in six mallet playing, and he has composed several works for six mallets. Among those the “Concierto Mexicano”, a concerto for marimba and Orchestra, the first concerto that calls for six mallet playing. KS has written several six mallet marimba solo pieces from various styles, including contemporary music, latin music and folkloristic music. His compositions and arrangements are published and being performed by marimba players all over the world. Amoung those a concerto for Marimba and Orchestra called “Concierto Mexicano” Many of his compositions and arrangements have been performed by marimba players all over the world. He has been giving concerts and clinics in Europe, USA, Taiwan, Japan, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Chile and Mexico. He is often seen as jury member of international marimba competitions. He is the auther of the method for six mallet playing called “The Six mallet Grip” and has published 7 CDs and a DVD displaying his compositions and personal marimba style. He also premiered many works for marimba, among those a concerto for marimba and orchestra “Ballet in Dark” by Martin Knakkergaard. This piece was later choreographed for performance on the stage by a dancer from the Royal Danish Ballet. Premieres of his works Hexagram and Zócalo Mexico with Concert Bands, Wind Orchestra and Chamber Ensembles.

KS is the auther of the method for six mallet playing called “The Six mallet Grip” and has published 8 CDs and a DVD displaying his compositions and personal marimba style. KS is a Saylers Percussion endorser and he has his own signature mallet serie. KS is co-inventer of a brand new mallet instrument called the Aluphone. It can be used as a solo instrument in the same way as the marimba and the vibraphone.

The Six Mallet Grip

I initially  started developing this technique back in 1980 after a back pack trip to Guatemala and Chiapas. I wanted to study the origin of the marimba. Here I got the idea of playing with six mallets and my first six mallet piece was written in 1980 and is called Two Mayan dances.  The last 40 years I have refined the technique and written works especially for this technique and I count myself as the first marimba player to play with six mallets on the modern marimba. I developed my grip based on the Stevens Grip.

I have written many solo works for six mallets and today this is mainly the grip I do the most when playing marimba. In 2006, I performed in front of colleagues from around the world with this technique at Pasic 2006 in Austin, Texas, USA. Subsequently I have toured the world and taught master classes on this technique. In 2009 I published the method textbook The Six Mallet Grip in English and Spanish.

Click here to join the group “Marimba with Six Mallets” on Facebook:

Here you can find a list with works for six mallets – if you know about a piece that is not on the list, please let me know.

Skype Lessons

The Six Mallet Grip: how do you hold the mallets, how do you control the mallets, interval changes, excersices and maybe you would like to play one of my six malets pieces for me?

Four Mallet Technique (Stevens Grip): I studied the grip from Leigh Stevens back in 1980. I was the first marimba player in Denmark using this grip and I have a lot of experience in what to do and what not to do. I can get you a Stevens Grip chech up!

Method of Movement based on Alexander Technique: Some people get problems from playing. It can be problems in the wrist or in the arm. From studying the Alexander Technique and using it myself, I can give you good recommendation on how to stand and move your body when playing.

Musical & technical instruction of a piece of your choise: Maybe you want to play a piece for me and I will tell you what I think and maybe come up with suggestions on how to improve the piece for you.