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In 1997, pianist Jon Nakamatsu won a stunning Gold Medal victory at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. At the time, Jon was a high school German teacher who had not attended a music conservatory! Needless to say, this was an auspicious beginning to an extraordinary music career.
25 years later, Jon speaks with Jung-Ho Pak, Artistic Director & Conductor of the Cape Symphony, about his life-changing win, his relationship with the legendary Van Cliburn, and his excitement about returning to the Cape Symphony stage on April 2 & 3, 2022. The Cape Symphony is celebrating its own anniversary: 60 years since the first concert in April 1962! At the Happy Anniversary event, Jon will perform the masterpiece with which Van Cliburn himself became famous the world over: Tchaikovsky’s iconic Piano Concerto No. 1.
Jon says it’s a honor to be connected in any small way to Van Cliburn and his legacy. Jung-Ho Pak also has a connection; he conducted Van Cliburn with the World Youth Symphony Orchestra (WYSO) at Interlochen Center for the Arts in the summer of 2006.
In this video, Jon and Jung-Ho reminisce about Van Cliburn and look forward to the Happy Anniversary concert. Jon finds the Cape Symphony audience “so warm and so welcoming, I’m really excited about being back.”
On April 2 & 3, 2022, Jon Nakamatsu performs Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, conducted by Jung-Ho Pak with the Cape Symphony as part of the orchestra’s 60th anniversary celebration. The Tchaikovsky, Jon says, was his dream piece when he was a child, and he loves every opportunity that he has to play it.