Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spotlight: Jon Nakamatsu

"The pianist Jon Nakamatsu plays with the calm assurance that comes of having both a solid technique and a gentle, introspective, interpretive spirit." -The New York Times

Pianist Jon Nakamatsu

Now well-known as an established pianist, Jon Nakamatsu resides with the San Francisco Symphony and has performed all over the world. What isn’t so well-known is that he was once considered an amateur with no hope at a musical career. In fact, his degree is in German Studies and Secondary Education and he didn’t even go to a music school. A judge even told him that he had neither the talent nor technique for playing the piano and that he should find something easier to do with his life.  

Despite not following the traditional music career path and being rejected from the 2003 Van Cliburn screening audition, Nakamatsu never gave up playing the piano and returned to win the 10th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. Since then, Nakamatsu has judged other piano competitions, which he says he enjoys much more than actually being in the competition. In the video below you can watch his speech during the International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs awards ceremony, which has the audience howling with laughter and encourages all the “losers” to keep on playing.

About the Competition
The Van Cliburn International Piano Competition was started in 1962 a few years after Van Cliburn won the first International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. His achievement was celebrated with a parade in New York City, which is the first and only time the city honored a classical musician with such a grandiose ceremony. From there Cliburn established a foundation to spread classical music worldwide and launch and nurture young artists’ careers. Today the competition is regarded as the most prestigious of its kind in the world. 

Live Music in Steamboat - Jon Nakamatsu
Pianist Jon Nakamatsu will perform a solo piano recital and chamber music at the Strings Music Pavilion on Wednesday, July 25. Tickets on sale now! Buy tickets online or by calling the Box Office (970) 879-5056 x 105.

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