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A native of California, Jon Nakamatsu claimed a distinguished place on the international musical scene in June, 1997 when named the Gold Medalist of the Tenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, the only American to have achieved this distinction since 1981. A former high school German teacher, he became a popular hero overnight in the highly traditional medium of classical music.
Highlights of Jon Nakamatsu's current season include return engagements with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and Annapolis, Baton Rouge and Pacific Symphony Orchestras as well as performances with the orchestras of Brevard, Marin, Peninsula, Rogue Valley and West Virginia and the Masterworks Chorale at San Mateo. In recital, he is heard in Bellevue (WA), Bozeman, Columbus (GA), Corrales (NM), Fort Worth, Fort Myers, Knoxville, San Jose and Sanibel (FL) as well as Milan, Italy, while chamber music activities include performances with the Ives Quartet. Summer, 2004 includes Mr. Nakamatsu's returns to Connecticut's famed "Summer Music at Harkness" festival and Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival for another performance with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.
During the summer of 1997, Jon Nakamatsu was invited to replace Vladimir Ashkenazy in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro as soloist with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, and performed at Tanglewood with the Boston Pops, the Klavier Festival Ruhr in Germany and the Montpellier Festival in France. Since then, he has also appeared as soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl and The New World Symphony, as well as the orchestras of Buffalo, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Dallas, Dayton, Detroit, Fort Worth, Honolulu, Milwaukee, Naples, New Mexico, Rochester, San Antonio, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, Syracuse, Toledo and Utah. Abroad, he has been heard as soloist with Italy's famed Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Berlin's Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach Chamber Orchestra and Santo Domingo's Orquestra Sinfónica Nacional. Mr. Nakamatsu has collaborated with many of today's leading conductors, among them George Cleve, Sergiu Comissiona, James Conlon, Leslie B. Dunner, Philippe Entremont, Neal Gittleman, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Marek Janowski, Raymond Leppard, Jahja Ling, Keith Lockhart, David Lockington, Larry Rachleff, Stephen Rogers Radcliffe, Peter Rubardt, Matthew Savery, Alfred Savia, Carl St. Clair, Christopher Seaman, Stanislaw Skrowaczeski, Markand Thakar, Hans Vonk and Samuel Wong. His 1998-99 season was highlighted by a White House performance of Rhapsody in Blue, hosted by President and Mrs. Clinton.
Jon Nakamatsu's extensive recital tours throughout the United States and Europe have featured debuts in New York City (Carnegie Hall), Washington, DC (John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts), Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Miami, Houston, San Francisco, Paris, London and Milan. The recipient of the Steven De Groote Memorial Award for his semifinal round chamber music performances at the Cliburn competition, he has subsequently collaborated with various chamber ensembles, among them the Brentano, Manhattan, Miami, St. Lawrence, Tokyo and Ying String Quartets. In both 2000 and 2002, he toured the United States with the Berlin Philharmonic Woodwind Quintet.
In July 1999, Jon Nakamatsu made his debut at France's Evian Music Festival and, one year later, he returned to the Tanglewood Music Festival, the famed summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He has also appeared at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival with Christopher Seaman and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Festival Casals de Puerto Rico, performing with the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Carl St. Clair, and at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Tacoma International Music Festival, Lincoln's Meadowlark Music Festival and California's Midsummer Mozart Festival.
Named Debut Artist of the Year (1998) by NPR's "Performance Today," Jon Nakamatsu has been profiled by "CBS Sunday Morning" and Reader's Digest magazine, and is featured in "Playing with Fire," a documentary about the Tenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, aired nationwide on PBS. Earlier, in 1995, he was named the First Prize winner of Miami's Fifth United States Chopin Piano Competition. Mr. Nakamatsu records exclusively for harmonia mundi usa, which has released five CDs, including an orchestral album containing performances of Rachmaninoff's Third Piano Concerto and Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, with Christopher Seaman and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, and, most recently, an album devoted to four sonatas by Joseph Wölfl.
Jon Nakamatsu has studied privately with Marina Derryberry since the
age of six, has worked with Karl Ulrich Schnabel, and studied composition
and orchestration with Dr. Leonard Stein of the Schoenberg Institute
at the University of Southern California. In addition, he has 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.
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