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Jon Nakamatsu

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Title: Jon Nakamatsu  
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Subject: Nakamatsu, El Camino Youth Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Prospect High School (Saratoga, California), Stanford Graduate School of Education
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Jon Nakamatsu

Jon Nakamatsu at the Peninsula Symphony concert, San Mateo, California on October 21, 2005

Jon Yasuhiro Nakamatsu (born 1968, San Jose, California) is a Japanese American classical pianist[1] who still resides in San Jose but mostly performs away from home. He is the son of David Y. Nakamatsu (San Jose engineer) and Karen F. Maeda Nakamatsu (city employee).

In June 1997 Nakamatsu won the Gold Medal at the Tenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth, Texas. He is the first American to win this prize since 1981. Right after the competition, he quit his job as a high school German teacher to pursue a career as a classical pianist. He did not attend a music conservatory or major in music while he attended college and graduate school.

During the summer of 2005, Nakamatsu toured with the San Jose Youth Symphony in Spain, performing the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2, and in June 2007, he toured with the Peninsula Youth Orchestra to Budapest, Prague, and Teplice playing the same piece. During the summer of 2008, he also toured with the Stanford Symphony Orchestra to China, playing Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue."


  • Education 1
  • Career 2
  • Debuts 3
  • Trivia 4
  • Discography 5
  • Awards 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


  • Studied piano privately with Marina Derryberry[2] since age 6 (1974).
  • Graduated from Prospect High School, Saratoga, California, 1986
  • A.A. Associate of Arts degree, Foothill College (community college), Los Altos Hills, California, 2000 (officially awarded long after degree requirements met)
  • B.A. Bachelor of Arts degree in German Studies, Stanford University, California, 1991
  • M.A. Master of Arts degree in Education, Stanford Graduate School of Education, California, 1992


  • May–June 2007: Regular Jury member, Fifth International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs, Fort Worth, Texas
  • 2006-current: Co-Artistic Director of Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival (with Jon Manasse)[3]
  • June 2000: Regular Jury member (preliminaries only), Second International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs, Fort Worth, Texas
  • June 1999: Regular Jury member (all three rounds), First International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs, Fort Worth, Texas
  • 1997–current: Full-time pianist
  • 1991–1997: German language teacher at Saint Francis High School in Mountain View, California and part-time pianist.


venue date
Vancouver Symphony Orchestra 22 May 2009[4]



compact discs
title label date catalog number notes
1. Tenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, Jon Nakamatsu, Gold Medalist Harmonia Mundi June 1997 HMU 907218 (CD)
2. Chopin Selected Works Harmonia Mundi October 1998 HMU 907244 (CD)
3. Lukas Foss, Piano Concertos, Elegy for Anne Frank Harmonia Mundi April 2001 HMU 907243 (CD) out of print
4. Sergei Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 3, Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
Jon Nakamatsu, piano
Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra
Christopher Seaman, conductor
Harmonia Mundi September 2001 HMU 907286 (CD)
HMU 807286 (hybrid SACD/CD)
5. Wölfl, 4 Piano Sonatas, Piano Sonatos Op. 25 & 33 Harmonia Mundi November 2003 HMU 907324 (CD)
6. Brahms, Piano Sonata, No. 3 in F minor, Op. 5 Harmonia Mundi October 2004 HMU 907339 (CD)
7. Franz Liszt, The Dante Sonata & other works Harmonia Mundi 14 November 2006 HMU 907409 (CD)
8. George Gershwin: Piano Concerto in F, Rhapsody in Blue, Cuban Overture
Jon Nakamatsu, piano
Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra
Jeff Tyzik, conductor
Harmonia Mundi 8 May 2007 HMU 807441 (hybrid SACD/CD)
Billboard top classical albums[5]
issue date rank
13 October 2007 not ranked in top 15
6 October 2007 15
29 September 2007 14
22 September 2007 10
15 September 2007 8
8 September 2007 4
1 September 2007 4
25 August 2007 7
18 August 2007 3
11 August 2007 7
4 August 2007 12
28 July 2007 9
21 July 2007 9
14 July 2007 9
7 July 2007 8
30 June 2007 11
23 June 2007 13
16 June 2007 21
9. Johannes Brahms: Sonatas Op. 120 Number 1 in F minor and Number 2 in E-flat major for clarinet and piano with Jon Manasse, clarinet Harmonia Mundi 8 January 2008 HMU907430 (CD)
10. Robert Schumann: Carnaval, Op. 9; Papillons, Op. 2; Piano Sonata No. 2 in G minor, Op. 22 Harmonia Mundi 4 March 2014 HMU907503 (CD)

Nakamatsu is featured in the documentary movie "Playing with Fire": The Tenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, which aired on PBS television and is available on DVD.


award competition location date
Gold Medalist ($20,000) Tenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition Fort Worth, Texas June 1997 (quadrennial)
First Prize Fifth U.S. National Chopin Piano Competition Miami, Florida 1995


  1. ^ Ohlone College Foundation Event Archive
  2. ^ Stanford Graduate School of Education > News Bureau
  3. ^ Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival website
  4. ^ Huliq News: Nakamatsu Debuts Vancouver Symphony
  5. ^ - Charts - Albums - Top Classical Albums

External links

  • Jon Nakamatsu official web site
  • Hear Jon Nakamatsu in concert from WGBH Boston
  • Van Cliburn Foundation
  • Harmonia Mundi
  • youtube
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