Pianist Jon Nakamatsu
Clarinetist Jon Manasse
Friday, January 11, 2019 7:30 pm
Peace United Church
900 High Street, Santa Cruz
American pianist Jon Nakamatsu continues to draw unanimous praise as a true aristocrat of the keyboard, whose playing combines elegance, clarity, and electrifying power. A native of California, Mr. Nakamatsu came to international attention in 1997 when he was named Gold Medalist of the Tenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, the only American to have achieved this distinction since 1981. Mr. Nakamatsu has performed widely in North and South America, Europe, and the Far East, collaborating with such conductors as James Conlon, Marek Janowski, Raymond Leppard, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Osmo Vänskä and Hans Vonk. He also performed at a White House concert hosted by President and Mrs. Clinton.
Mr. Nakamatsu’s extensive recital tours throughout the U.S. and Europe have featured appearances in New York’s Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center, and in Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Paris, London and Milan. He has worked with various chamber ensembles – among them the Brentano, Tokyo, Kuss, Jupiter, Cypress, Prazak and Ying String Quartets – and has toured repeatedly with the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet. Together with clarinetist Jon Manasse, Mr. Nakamatsu tours continually as a member of the Manasse/Nakamatsu Duo. The Duo also serves as Artistic Directors of the esteemed Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival in Massachusetts.
Mr. Nakamatsu records exclusively for harmonia mundi usa, which has released thirteen CDs to date. His all-Gershwin recording with Jeff Tyzik and the Rochester Philharmonic featuring Rhapsody in Blue and the Concerto in F rose to number three on Billboard’s classical music charts, earning extraordinary critical praise. Other acclaimed releases include an all-Liszt disc featuring the “Dante Sonata”; a recording of Brahms’ Piano Sonata in F minor; and Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 and the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. Mr. Nakamatsu’s 2008 recording of Brahms’ Clarinet Sonatas with Jon Manasse was chosen by the New York Times as one of its top releases for the year; his latest disc with Mr. Manasse, released in August 2012, includes both the Brahms Clarinet Quintet and the Piano Quintet with the Tokyo String Quartet. Of his most recent release on the label, a 2014 solo disc of the piano works of Robert Schumann, BBC Music Magazine states that “Nakamatsu clarifies Schumann’s mid-range saturated textures to a remarkable degree, reveling in its fantastic imaginings with rapier-like precision and effortless command.”
Since 1997, Mr. Nakamatsu has served on multiple international piano competition juries and has also been invited as a guest speaker at numerous institutions including the Van Cliburn Foundation, Stanford University and the Juilliard School.
Mr. Nakamatsu studied privately with Marina Derryberry and has worked with Karl Ulrich Schnabel, son of the great pianist Artur Schnabel. He is a graduate of Stanford University with a bachelor’s degree in German Studies and a master’s degree in Education.
Among the most distinguished classical artists of his generation, clarinetist Jon Manasse is internationally recognized for his inspiring artistry, uniquely glorious sound and charismatic performing style.
Recent season highlights include return performances with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra and debuts with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Erie Philharmonic, The Chappaqua Orchestra, Montana’s Missoula Symphony Orchestra and Oregon’s Rogue Valley Symphony. With pianist Jon Nakamatsu, he continues to tour throughout the United States as half of the acclaimed Manasse/Nakamatsu Duo. The Duo’s activities include the world premiere performances of Paquito D’Rivera’s The Cape Cod Concerto with Symphony Silicon Valley, conducted by Leslie B. Dunner.
Jon Manasse’s solo appearances include New York City performances at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts’ Avery Fisher Hall and Alice Tully Hall, Hunter College’s Sylvia & Danny Kaye Playhouse, Columbia University, Rockefeller University and The Town Hall, fourteen tours of Japan and Southeast Asia – all with the New York Symphonic Ensemble, debuts in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Osaka and concerto performances with Gerard Schwarz and the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, both at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall and at the prestigious Tokyu Bunkamura Festival in Tokyo. With orchestra, he has been guest soloist with the Augsburg, Dayton, Evansville, Naples and National philharmonics, Canada’s Symphony Nova Scotia, the National Chamber Orchestra and the Alabama, Annapolis, Bozeman, Dubuque, Florida West Coast, Green Bay, Indianapolis, Jackson, Oakland East Bay, Pensacola, Princeton, Richmond, Seattle, Stamford and Wyoming symphonies, under the batons of Leslie B. Dunner, Peter Leonard, Eckart Preu, Matthew Savery, Alfred Savia and Lawrence Leighton Smith. Of special distinction was Mr. Manasse’s 2002 London debut in a Barbican Centre performance of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto with Gerard Schwarz and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields.
An avid chamber musician, Jon Manasse has been featured in New York City programs with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Walter Reade Theatre (on Lincoln Center’s “Great Performers Series”), The Sylvia & Danny Kaye Playhouse and Merkin Concert Hall; at the Aspen Music Festival, Caramoor International Music Festival, Colorado Springs Music Festival, Newport Music Festival, Sarasota Music Festival and France’s Festival International des Arts, as well as the chamber music festivals of Bridgehampton, Cape and Islands, Crested Butte, Georgetown, St. Bart’s, Seattle and Tucson. He has also been the guest soloist with many of the leading chamber ensembles of the day, including The Amadeus Trio and Germany’s Trio Parnassus and the American, Borromeo, Colorado, Lark, Manhattan, Moscow, Orion, Rossetti, Shanghai, Tokyo and Ying String Quartets, and has collaborated with violinist Joshua Bell and pianist Jon Nakamatsu.
Jon Manasse is a graduate of The Juilliard School, where he studied with David Weber. Mr. Manasse was a top prize winner in the Thirty-Sixth International Competition for Clarinet in Munich and the youngest winner of the International Clarinet Society Competition. Currently, he is an official “Performing Artist” of both the Buffet Crampon Company and Vandoren, the Parisian firms that are the world’s oldest and most distinguished clarinet maker and reed maker, respectively. Since 1995, he has been Associate Professor of Clarinet at the Eastman School of Music; in the fall of 2007 Mr. Manasse joined the faculty of his alma mater, The Juilliard School.
Jon Manasse and his Duo partner, the acclaimed pianist Jon Nakamatsu, serve as Artistic Directors of the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival, an appointment announced during summer 2006.