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JON NAKAMATSU
piano

“He has stunning technical control and can do anything at the piano he wants.”

--The New York Times

 
JON  NAKAMATSU

Photo: Christian Steiner

 

The distinguished American pianist Jon Nakamatsu—known internationally for the panache and elegance of his solo, concerto, and chamber performances—has become a favorite with audiences throughout the world. As a prolific recording artist, Mr. Nakamatsu has set to disc numerous seminal performances on the Harmonia Mundi label. Of Mr. Nakamatsu’s March 2018 performance of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with Symphony Silicon Valley and conductor Carlos Vieu, David Bratman of San Francisco Classical Voice wrote:

“Nakamatsu unleashed his tempered-steel drill-bit persona to keep up [with Vieu’s emphatic style], rumbling deeply through even his opening runs in order to catch attention. His trills and accents gleamed fiercely. By contrast, the slow movement was the soft and melancholy one, even though it’s in the major mode. Here Nakamatsu was gentle yet simultaneously energetic. The Rondo finale split the difference in mood, cheerfully and enthusiastically jumping into each new section”
—March 20, 2018

During the 2018-19 season, Mr. Nakamatsu will perform as soloist with the Boise Philharmonic, West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Fresno Philharmonic, Orquesta Sinfonia Nacional de Chile, Carmel Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Reno Philharmonic, Hawaii Symphony Orchestra, and Symphony Silicon Valley. He collaborates with the Parker Quartet in two programs at the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival in summer 2018, and appears in chamber concert with the Escher Quartet at the San Jose Chamber Music Society. Additional performances include engagements with San Antonio’s Musical Bridges Around the World and the Sanibel Music Festival.

Mr. Nakamatsu has been an active guest soloist with leading orchestras throughout his career, including the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, Atlantic Classical Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra, Bozeman Symphony, Cape Cod Symphony, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Greenwich Symphony Orchestra, Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra, Helena Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Las Cruces Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Meridian Symphony, Milan Symphony Orchestra, New Mexico Philharmonic, Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Peninsula Symphony Orchestra, Pensacola Symphony Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, San Jose Wind Symphony, Santa Cruz Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Stockton Symphony, Symphony Silicon Valley, Symphoria Syracuse, Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, Toledo Symphony, and Vancouver Symphony. His numerous summer engagements have included appearances at the Aspen, Tanglewood, Ravinia, Caramoor, Vail, Wolftrap, Colorado, Chautauqua, Aloha International Piano, and Britt festivals.

Among the many chamber ensembles with which Mr. Nakamatsu has collaborated are the Brentano, Escher, Jupiter, Miami, Tokyo, Parker, Prazak, St. Lawrence, and Ying String Quartets, the San Jose and Mission Chamber Orchestra, and Imani Winds. He also tours frequently with the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet and in 2008 debuted on the Philharmonic’s chamber music series performing with the Quintet and members of the orchestra. That same year, the Manasse/Nakamatsu Duo released its first CD (Brahms Sonatas for Clarinet and Piano) which received the highest praise from The New York Times Classical Music Editor James R. Oestreich, who named it a “Best of the Year” choice for 2008. In addition to their joint concert performances Mr. Nakamatsu and Mr. Manasse serve as Artistic Directors of the esteemed Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival, founded by pianist Samuel Sanders in 1979.

Mr. Nakamatsu has collaborated with such esteemed conductors as James Conlon, Philippe Entremont, Marek Janowski, Raymond Leppard, Gerard Schwarz, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Michael Tilson Thomas and Osmo Vänskä. In 1999, Mr. Nakamatsu performed at the White House at the special invitation of President and Mrs. Clinton. Other engagements include solo recitals with the American Beethoven Society, University of Georgia, Athens, Arts Council of Moore County, and International Classical Concerts of the Desert, as well as solo performances in New Jersey, Pensacola, FL, Waco, TX, Japan’s Okinawa and Miyako Islands, and several cities throughout the state of California.

He records exclusively for Harmonia Mundi USA, and has released twelve CDs to date. All have garnered high critical praise. Notable releases include an all-Gershwin recording with Jeff Tyzik and the Rochester Philharmonic featuring Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Concerto in F which rose to number three on Billboard’s classical music charts and a trio disc of works by Brahms, Beethoven, and Weber with Mr. Manasse and cellist Clive Greensmith, which has elicited brilliant reviews from The New York Times (“Mr. Nakamatsu’s fleet-fingered clarity enhancing the vivacious outer movements and all three playing with deep expression in the Adagio”), Gramophone (” a most enjoyable disc, beautifully played and recorded, with the three players joining together to make a perfect ensemble”), and audiophile edition (“Every once in a while a disc comes along so good that I would award it six stars if my editor allowed such things”).

A high school teacher of German with no formal conservatory training, Jon Nakamatsu’s electrifying performance of Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto won him the Gold Medal at the 1997 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition amidst a field of experienced competition warriors. Mr. Nakamatsu had studied privately with the late Marina Derryberry from the age of six, and worked with Karl Ulrich Schnabel, son of the great pianist Artur Schnabel. He also studied composition and orchestration with Dr. Leonard Stein of the Schoenberg Institute at the University of Southern California, and pursued extensive studies in chamber music and musicology. Mr. Nakamatsu is a graduate of Stanford University with a bachelor’s degree in German Studies and a master’s degree in Education. In the fall of 2016, Jon Nakamatsu joined the piano faculty of the prestigious San Francisco Conservatory of Music.