Acclaimed Pianist Jon Nakamatsu Launches Sanibel Music Festival

provided to The Santiva Chronicle

Pianist John Nakamatsu launches the 35th Anniversary season of the Sanibel Music Festival on March 5. “Since winning the Gold Medal at the 1997 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, Mr. Nakamatsu tours year-round with today’s leading conductors and orchestras,” said Sue Pick, Sanibel Music Festival Board Member and Music Committee Chair. “In addition, he is Artist-in-Residence at the highly selective Chautauqua Piano Program. We are delighted to start our season this week with this prominent artist.”

Tickets are on sale now at the Sanibel Music Festival website; in-person in Sanibel at Bank of the Islands, 1699 Periwinkle Way (check and cash only); by mail to Sanibel Music Festival, PO Box 1623, Sanibel, FL 33957; or by phone at 239-344-7025. Nakamatsu will perform at 7:30 p.m. March 5 at Sanibel Congregational U.C.C., 2050- Periwinkle Way on Sanibel Island.

“The program will focus on Chopin and Schubert,” continued Pick. “Mr. Nakamatsu is cited for “beautiful and varied tonal color” by the Boston Musical Intelligencer, applauded for “muscularity and grace” by the New York Times, and called “meticulous” by the Washington Post. We anticipate a stunning performance.”

The Nakamatsu program March 5 will begin with Chopin: Impromptu in A-flat Major, Op. 29 and Impromptu in G-flat Major, Op. 51, followed by Schubert: Four Impromptus, Op. 90. The concert will conclude with three pieces from Chopin: Fantasy in f minor, Op. 49, Nocturne in B Major, Op. 9, No. 3, and Scherzo in E Major, Op. 54. Island residents Janet and Joseph Davie, and Gene and Lee Seidler, are sponsors.

During the month of March, Sanibel Music Festival features seven ensembles at evening concerts at 7:30 p.m. plus one matinee at 2 p.m. This signature series is followed by two Emerging Artist Series concerts featuring the popular FGCU Bower School of music chamber ensembles on March 29 and April 5.

The 2022 season includes American Chamber Players Piano Trio plus Flute on March 8, programmed by Miles Hoffman, Founder and Artistic Director, and longtime NPR music commentator. Hoffman’s programs are lauded for a unique and delightful mix of instrumental combinations. The widely acclaimed Boston Trio performs March 12, featuring the trio’s founding member Pianist Heng-Jin Park, the noted Boston Symphony soloist cellist Jonah Ellsworth, and violinist Grace Park, winner of the 2018 Naumberg International Violin competition.

Members of the celebrated Juilliard String Quartet will perform March 15 with guest pianist Anna Polonsky. Polonsky has been included for this concert following the January death of the quartet’s distinguished violist, Roger Topping. On March 19, Haochen Zhang, Gold Medalist at the Thirteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and recipient of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant, performs.

Opera Theater of Connecticut returns March 22 by popular demand with “Singing Andrew Lloyd Webber- Superstar of Song and Stage”. Performances at 2:00 pm and 7:30 pm will include hits from Jesus Christ Superstar, Cats, Evita, and the Phantom of the Opera, punctuated by commentary from Artistic Director Alan Mann, noted speaker and opera historian.

The acclaimed Emerson String Quartet performs March 26. Their unparalleled list of achievements spanning four decades includes more than thirty renowned recordings, nine Grammys (including two for the Best Classical Album), three Gramophone Awards, the Avery Fisher Prize, and Musical America’s “Ensemble of the Year.” They were inducted into the Classical Music Hall of Fame in 2010. In 2015, the Emerson received The Richard J. Bogomolny National Service Award, the highest award in classical chamber music.

The season concludes with the two Emerging Artist Series concerts featuring the Bower School of Music string ensembles under the direction of Dr Kyle Szabo. “These polished student musicians are developing a following on the islands,” said Board Member Gloria Garrett. “The series received enthusiastic reviews when introduced in 2021. The concerts promise energy and surprises, including solo performances by Glen Basham, concertmaster of the Naples Philharmonic and Dr. Kyle Szabo, head of strings studies and Orchestra Director at FGCU.”

Sanibel Music Festival is a volunteer organization focused on bringing chamber music, piano recital, and vocal ensemble of the highest caliber to southwest Florida. Evening concerts are presented at 7:30 pm on selected Tuesdays and Saturdays, with a matinee performance on March 22 at 2 p.m. for the Opera Theater of Connecticut. Emerging Artist Series concerts will be presented in the morning at 11 a.m. on March 29 and April 5.

Multiple discount packages are available and student tickets are half price. Emerging Artist Series concerts are performed for free will donations on the Sanibel Music Festival website or at the concert. Pre-register on the website to assure seating at the Sanibel Music Festival website.

All concerts will take place at Sanibel Congregational U.C.C. at 2050 Periwinkle Way, in the center of the island across from Periwinkle Place.

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