The Planets: An HD Odyssey
October 8, 2022
Rouse: The Infernal Machine
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 1, op. 15, C Major
Holst: The Planets
The WFSO opens its 75th Anniversary Season with a bold program that includes Jon Nakamatsu, internationally recognized pianist, made famous from his gold medal at the 10th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. The concert will conclude with the seven-movement epic work inspired by the solar system and astrological characters by Gustav Holst, The Planets. Paired with a phenomenal multimedia presentation and special guests, this opening concert will be out of this world!
American pianist Jon Nakamastsu continues to draw unanimous praise as a true aristocrat of the keyboard, whose playing combines elegance, clarity and electrifying power. A native of California, Mr. Nakamatsu came to international attention in 1997 when he was named Gold Medalist of the Tenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, the only American to have achieved this distinction since 1981. Mr. Nakamatsu has performed widely in North and South America, Europe, and the Far East, collaborating with conductors such as James Conlon, Marek Janowski, Raymond Leppard, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Osmo Vänskä, and Hans Vonk. He also performed at a White House concert hosted by President and Mrs. Clinton. Mr. Nakamatsu’s extensive recital tours throughout the U.S. and Europe have featured appearances in New York’s Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, Washington D.C. ‘s Kennedy Center, and in Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Paris, London and Milan. He has worked with various chamber ensembles—among them the Brentano, Tokyo, Kuss, Jupiter, Cypress, Prazak and Ying String Quartets—and has toured repeatedly with the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet. Together with clarinetist Jon Manasse, Mr. Nakamatsu tours continually as a member of the Manasse/Nakamatsu Duo. The Duo also serves as Artistic Directors of the esteemed Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival in Massachusetts.
Mr. Nakamatsu records exclusively for harmonia mundi usa, which has released thirteen CDs to date. His all-Gershwin recording with Jeff Tyzik and the Rochester Philharmonic featuring Rhapsody in Blue and the Concerto in F rose to number three on Billboard’s classical music charts, earning extraordinary critical praise. Other acclaimed releases include an all-Liszt disc featuring the “Dante Sonata”; a recording of Brahms’ Piano Sonata in F minor; and Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 and the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. Mr. Nakamatsu’s 2008 recording of Brahms’ Clarinet Sonatas with Jon Manasse was chosen by the New York Times as one of its top releases for the year; his latest disc with Mr. Manasse, released in August 2012, includes both the Brahms Clarinet Quintet and the Piano Quintet with the Tokyo String Quartet. Of his most recent release on the label, a 2014 solo disc of the piano works of Robert Schumann, BBC Music Magazine states that “Nakamatsu clarifies Schumann’s mid-range saturated textures to a remarkable degree, reveling in its fantastic imaginings with rapier-like precision and effortless command.”
Since 1997, Mr. Nakamatsu has served on multiple international piano competition juries and has also been invited as a guest speaker at numerous institutions including the Van Cliburn Foundation, Stanford University and the Juilliard School. Mr. Nakamatsu studied privately with Marina Derryberry and has worked with Karl Ulrich Schnabel, son of the great pianist Artur Schnabel. He is a graduate of Stanford University with a bachelor’s degree in German Studies and a master’s degree in Education.
Duncan has worked as a freelance producer-director for over 20 years, specializing in popular science and culture, history, and film for symphonic performances. His first documentary Rocket Men of Mission 105, followed the astronauts of the STS-105 shuttle mission, during which he was granted access to film extensively at the Johnson and Kennedy Space Centers, during 2001. He helped conceive, produce and direct Hunt for the Death Star (awarded the Gold Hugo at the Chicago international Film festival) Magnetic Storm and Global Dimming, (both winning WildScreen awards). Magnetic Storm was a finalist at the 2004 Grierson Awards; Global Dimming received the international Earthwatch Award in 2007. The Duncan series produced Moon Machines, winning a Grand Remi at WorldFest Houston, and Henry VIII: Mind of a Tyrant shortlisted for the Grierson Awards. His films Secrets of the Sun, Doomsday Volcanoes and Neil Armstrong: First man on the Moon, were screened on PBS’s flagship science series, NOVA.
Duncan conceived, developed and produced the much acclaimed feature documentary In the Shadow of the Moon, the intimate story of the Apollo astronauts. Distributed world-wide as a theatrical and television release, In the Shadow of the Moon garnered over 15 awards internationally, including the coveted Sundance Audience Award at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival.
In 2008 he was the recipient of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Distinguished Public Service Medal in Washington, DC, for stimulating public interest in science and technology, specifically in space exploration. Previous recipients include Walter Cronkite, Gene Roddenberry and Neil deGrasse Tyson.
For over a decade Duncan has collaborated with a number of world-leading symphonies, producing visually engaging high-definition films to accompany live orchestral and ballet performances. He helped conceive and produce the Houston Symphony’s ‘HD Odyssey’ film trilogy; The Planets, The Earth and The Cosmos, married to music by Holst, Strauss, John Adams, and Dvořák. The HD Odyssey films continue to have huge success, performed by over 40 orchestras globally. In 2019, Duncan worked with renowned Nashville Ballet Artistic Director, Paul Vasterling, and the Nashville Symphony to produce and direct a vibrant multi-screen visual production to accompany a live ballet and symphonic performance of Carmina Burana. The performances were a sell-out success.
Recent documentary credits include Comet Encounter (National Geographic), Mankind from Space (a 120-minute special for Discovery Canada), and Survival in the Skies – the Ejection Seat (Smithsonian Channel). The Duncan series produced and co-directed America’s Secret Space Heroes, a six-part series for the Smithsonian Channel; and Speed, a four-part flagship series for CuriosityStream. In 2019 he was entrusted to produce the Discovery Channel’s prime-time two-hour documentary special, Apollo: The Forgotten Films, for the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing. The Aldrin Foundation chose sequences of his film to display to the crowds during celebrations held in Times Square and Piccadilly Circus.
Duncan holds a PhD in Astronomy / Planetary Geology. He lives in London.