1997 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition
One of the most sought-after pianists of his generation, JON NAKAMATSU is a frequent concerto soloist, chamber musician, recording artist and solo recitalist throughout the United States, Europe and Japan. He enjoys a continuously expanding career based on a deeply probing and illuminating musicality as well as a quietly charismatic performing style.
Highlights of Jon Nakamatsu’s current season include another return to the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, this time for the season-opening concerts, under the baton of Music Director Christopher Seaman. He also returns to the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra to participate in its Mozart Festival, playing Concerto #27 with assistant Conductor Patrick Reynolds and Concerto #26(“Coronation”) with Music Director Neal Gittleman; with members of the DPO, he collaborates on Mozart’s Piano Quartet in E-flat and Quintet for Piano and Winds. Mr. Nakamatsu also appears as guest soloist with the orchestras of Bozeman, Charlotte, Dubuque, Greenwich, Memphis, Naples, Portland, San Antonio, Southwest Florida, Topeka and Virginia, Santa Fe Pro Musica and California’s Peninsula Symphony Orchestra and Symphony Silicon Valley. His recital appearances include Boca Raton, Boston, Cincinnati, Des Moines and Providence, while chamber music collaborations find his touring for the third time with the Berlin Philharmonic Woodwind Quintet. Continuing his activities in the recording studio, Mr. Nakamatsu records a solo Liszt album as well as the Brahms Clarinet Sonatas with Jon Manasse - both for harmonia mundi usa.
Initially brought to global attention in June 1997 by being named Gold Medalist of the Tenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, Jon Nakamatsu subsequently appeared as soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl and the Boston Pops at Tanglewood, as well as with, among many others, the orchestras of Buffalo, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Dallas, Dayton, Delaware, Detroit, Fort Worth, Honolulu, Milwaukee, Naples, New Mexico, New World, Rochester, San Antonio, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Barbara, Seattle, Syracuse, Toledo and Utah. Abroad, he has been heard as soloist with Italy’s famed Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Berlin’s Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester and Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach Chamber Orchestra and Santo Domingo’s Orquestra Sinfónica Nacional. In 2005, he toured Spain as soloist with the San Jose Youth Symphony. Mr. Nakamatsu has collaborated with many of today's leading conductors, among them George Cleve, James Conlon, Grant Cooper, Leslie B. Dunner, Philippe Entremont, Neal Gittleman, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Marek Janowski, Michael Lankester, Peter Leonard, Raymond Leppard, Jahja Ling, Keith Lockhart,
David Lockington, Christof Perick, Larry Rachleff, Stephen Rogers Radcliffe, Peter Rubardt, Matthew Savery, Alfred Savia, Carl St. Clair, Christopher Seaman, Stanislaw Skrowaczeski, Markand Thakar, Michael Tilson Thomas, Osmo Vänskä, Peter Stafford Wilson 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, Ives, Manhattan, Miami, St. Lawrence, Prazak, Tokyo and Ying String Quartets. In both 2000 and 2002, he toured the United States with the Berlin Philharmonic Woodwind Quintet.
Jon Nakamatsu’s festival appearances include Tanglewood, the famed summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival with Christopher Seaman and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. He has also been a guest artist at France's Evian and Montpellier music festivals and Germany’s Klavier Festival Rurh, 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, Brevard Music Festival, Tacoma International Music Festival, Lincoln’s Meadowlark Music Festival, New York’s Skaneateles 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 on 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. He records exclusively for harmonia mundi usa, which has released six 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, as well as albums devoted to the music of Chopin, Foss and Wölfl. Mr. Nakamatsu’s most recent release encompasses Brahms’s Sonata No. 3, Op. 5, 7 Fantasies, Op. 116 and 4 Piano Pieces, Op. 119.
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. A former high school German teacher, Mr. Nakamatsu is a graduate of Stanford University with a bachelor’s degree in German Studies and a master’s degree in Education.