Mention Gold Medals and we think of the Olympics, but Gold Medals are awarded for other achievements and they are no less precious. In 1997 Jon Nakamatsu won the Gold Medal in the Van Cliburn piano competition. He won by playing an electrifying performance of Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto which is considered one of the most challenging compositions. A graduate of Stanford University with a degree in German and Education, he had studied music privately since age three. He is now one of the most sought after pianists, performing throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. The New York Times says, “He has stunning technical control and can do anything at the piano he wants.” We are fortunate to have the opportunity to hear the gifted Natamatsu play the same Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto for us on Friday, November 14, 2014.
Sergei Rachmaninoff is considered one of the finest pianists of his time and also a great composer of Russian music. He had huge hands which enabled him to reach well beyond an octave and helped him maneuver through difficult chords and passages. His playing was noted for its definition of the notes. He composed the Third Piano Concerto for his tour of the United States in 1909. He was received with admiration and offered a position as permanent conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, but he refused and returned to his beloved Russia. In 1917, with the Russian Revolution raging, he returned to the U.S.A. and lived here and in Europe until his death in 1943.
The concert opens with Javelin, composed by Michael Torke for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Closing the concert will be Dvorak’s Symphony No. 7, inspired by a walk in a train station bustling with Czech people, and an invitation by the Philharmonic Society of London to write a new symphony. Guest conductor of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra will be Peter Bay. Maestro Bay is completing his sixteenth year as Music Director and Conductor of the Austin Texas Symphony Orchestra. He also is Music Director of the Hot Springs Arkansas and Big Sky Montana Music Festivals. In 1994 he was one of two conductors selected to participate in Leonard Bernstein’s American Conductors Program. It should be an evening of great music.
SaddleBrooke Symphony Guild members will depart by bus from DesertView Clubhouse at 4:00 p.m. for dinner at Café a La C’arte. Your choice of entree is grilled salmon salad, grilled flank steak salad, porto bello sandwich or braised beef brisket sandwich. Non-alcoholic beverage, dessert, tax and tip are included. Cost for the concert, bus and dinner is $86 per person or $40 if you have your own concert ticket. Membership in the Guild is $25 per household or $15 for a single. Reservations can be made by calling Vikki Williams at 825-0527. Concert date is Friday, November 16, but please make reservations by November 1 for your Gold Medal Experience!