Kicking off its 62nd season in benchmark style, the Peninsula Symphony welcomes back acclaimed pianist Jon Nakamatsu for a weekend of select pieces by Beethoven, Bach and Brahms – otherwise known as the 3 B’s. The two-night, two-venue event features Beethoven’s dark and challenging C Minor Concerto, Bach’s Cantata Chorale and Great Fugue: Clavierubung III, and Brahms’ “glorious and triumphal” Symphony No. 2, all featuring the award-winning Nakamatsu on keys.
The San Jose-born Nakamatsu, who, among numerous other achievements, was the 1997 gold medalist in the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, has a much-deserved reputation for excellence and has earned the affections of a global audience.
Nakamatsu, however, took a bit of a side road to his musical success. He neither attended music school, nor majored in music. He received a bachelor’s degree in German studies, and a master’s degree in education; both from Stanford University.
Prior to the Van Cliburn competition, Nakamatsu was a high school German-language teacher and part-time pianist. After winning the prestigious award, he quit his job teaching to play music full-time, and has since performed with orchestras around the world, including previous guest spots with the Peninsula Symphony.
Formed in 1949, the Peninsula Symphony has remained true to its original vision of inspiring greater appreciation and awareness of music, contributing positively to the local community, bringing in top-notch guest artists, supporting young musicians and providing quality musical performances at a modest price. The symphony appears to be right on track this season with a schedule that includes the opening 3 B’s affair, a holiday concert, a musical tribute to Vienna, a weekend of opera highlights, and the oh-so-famous dun-dun-dun-duuun of Beethoven’s 5th; all under the watchful eye of Music Director and Conductor Mitchell Sardou Klein.
The Peninsula Symphony presents the 3 B’s with Jon Nakamatsu on Friday, Oct. 15 at the San Mateo Performing Arts Center, and Saturday, Oct. 16 at the Flint Center in Cupertino. Both performances begin at 8pm with a pre-concert lecture at 7pm. Tickets are $38/general, $32/senior and $20/youth/student. More information and tickets at www.peninsulasymphony.org.