Since his dramatic 1997 Van Cliburn Gold Medal triumph, Jon Nakamatsu’s brilliant but unassuming musicianship and eclectic repertoire have made him a clear favorite throughout the world both on the concert circuit and in the recording studio. He has performed widely in North America, Europe, and the Far East and has collaborated with such conductors as James Conlon, Philippe Entremont, Marek Janowski, Raymond Leppard, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Michael Tilson Thomas and Osmo Vänskä. His extensive recital tours throughout the United States and Europe have featured appearances at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York City, at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and in cities such as Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Paris, London and Milan.
Nakamatsu maintains a nearly incessant touring schedule with orchestra performances, chamber collaborations and solo recitals. A highlight of the 2010-11 US season is a first appearance at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. He also appears with jazz pianist David Benoit in a special program mixing Gershwin with jazz and classical repertoire at the prestigious Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga. In August of 2010, he performs a recital for the Chopin Institute in Warsaw at Warsaw’s Philharmonic Hall and in October will return to China for a debut at the Beijing International Piano Festival.
In past seasons, Nakamatsu has been soloist with many leading orchestras including those of Dallas, Detroit, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Rochester, San Francisco, Seattle, Tokyo and Vancouver. In February of 2010, he was the featured soloist for the highly acclaimed American tour of the Berlin-based Philharmonie der Nationen, conducted by Justus Franz, performing Brahms’ First Piano Concerto and Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto in twelve cities nationwide. Numerous summer festival engagements have included appearances at the Aspen, Tanglewood, Ravinia, Caramoor, Vail, Sun Valley, and Britt festivals. In 1999, Nakamatsu was invited to the White House to perform for President and Mrs. Clinton.
Among the numerous chamber ensembles with which Nakamatsu has collaborated are the Brentano, Tokyo, Prazak, St. Lawrence and Ying String Quartets. 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. Together with the acclaimed clarinetist Jon Manasse, Nakamatsu tours regularly as part of the Manasse/Nakamatsu Duo. In 2008, the Duo released its first CD (Brahms Sonatas for Clarinet and Piano) which received the highest praise from The New York Times classical music and dance editor James R. Oestreich, who named it a “Best of the Year” choice for 2008. Nakamatsu and Manasse also serve as the artistic directors of the esteemed Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival, founded by pianist Samuel Sanders in 1979.
Nakamatsu records exclusively for harmonia mundi usa, which has released nine CDs to date. His recent all-Gershwin recording with Jeff Tyzig 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 acclaim.
Jon Nakamatsu studied privately with the late Marina Derryberry from the age of six, and has worked with Karl Ulrich Schnabel, son of the great pianist Artur Schnabel. He has 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. He is a graduate of Stanford University with a bachelor’s degree in German Studies and a master’s degree in Education.