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ASCENDANCE

  • Mello Center for the Performing Arts 250 East Beach Street Watsonville, CA, 95076 United States (map)

Our season begins with world renowned pianist Jon Nakamatsu performing Beethoven’s magisterial piano concerto no. 5, 'The Emperor'. Grammy award winning composer & DJ Mason Bates joins us for performances of his wildly popular showpiece for DJ and orchestra, 'Mothership'. Stravinsky’s enchanting score to his ballet the 'Firebird' luxuriates in dazzlingly romanticism.

PROGRAM

BATES - Mothership [Listen]
with Mason Bates, DJ/Composer

STRAVINSKY - Firebird Suite [Listen]

BEETHOVEN - Piano concerto no. 5 [Llisten]
with Jon Nakamatsu, Piano


SOLOISTS

MASON BATES

MASON BATES

Mason Bates

Composer of the Grammy-winning opera The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, Mason Bates serves as the first composer-in-residence of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Championed by legendary conductors such as Riccardo Muti, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Leonard Slatkin, his symphonic music is the first to receive widespread acceptance for its unique integration of electronic sounds, and he was named the most-performed composer of his generation in a recent survey of American music.  His opera was hailed as one of the best-selling productions in the history of Santa Fe Opera and was awarded the 2019 Grammy for Best Opera Recording.  In 2018, he was named Composer of the Year by Musical America.

As both a DJ and a curator, he has become a visible advocate for bringing new music to new spaces, whether through institutional partnerships such as his former residency with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, or through his club/classical project Mercury Soul, which transforms commercial clubs into exciting hybrid musical events. He has also composed for films, including Gus Van Sant’s The Sea of Treesstarring Matthew McConaughey and Naomi Watts. He serves on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, which offers instruction in both composition and music technology.

Jon Nakamatsu

Jon Nakamatsu

Jon Nakamatsu

A high school teacher of German with no formal conservatory training, Jon Nakamatsu’s electrifying performance of Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto won him the Gold Medal at the 1997 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition amidst a field of experienced competition warriors. Mr. Nakamatsu had studied privately with the late Marina Derryberry from the age of six, and worked with Karl Ulrich Schnabel, son of the great pianist Artur Schnabel. He also studied composition and orchestration with Dr. Leonard Stein of the Schoenberg Institute at the University of Southern California, and pursued extensive studies in chamber music and musicology. Mr. Nakamatsu is a graduate of Stanford University with a bachelor’s degree in German Studies and a master’s degree in Education. In the fall of 2016, Jon Nakamatsu joined the piano faculty of the prestigious San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Mr. Nakamatsu has collaborated with such esteemed conductors as James Conlon, Philippe Entremont, Marek Janowski, Raymond Leppard, Gerard Schwarz, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Michael Tilson Thomas and Osmo Vänskä. In 1999, Mr. Nakamatsu performed at the White House at the special invitation of President and Mrs. Clinton. Other engagements include solo recitals with American Beethoven Society, University of Georgia, Athens, Arts Council of Moore County, and International Classical Concerts of the Desert, as well as solo performances in New Jersey, Pensacola, FL, Waco, TX, Japan’s Okinawa and Miyako Islands, and several cities throughout the state of California.

He records exclusively for harmonia mundi USA, and has released twelve CDs to date. All have garnered high critical praise. Notable releases include an all-Gershwin recording with Jeff Tyzik and Rochester Philharmonic featuring Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Concerto in F which rose to number three on Billboard’s classical music chart as well as a trio disc of works by Brahms, Beethoven, and Weber with Mr. Manasse and cellist Clive Greensmith, which has elicited brilliant reviews from The New York Times (“Mr. Nakamatsu’s fleet-fingered clarity enhancing the vivacious outer movements and all three playing with deep expression in the Adagio”), Gramophone (“a most enjoyable disc, beautifully played and recorded, with the three players joining together to make a perfect ensemble”), and audiophile edition (“Every once in a while a disc comes along so good that I would award it six stars if my editor allowed such things”).

RELATED EVENTS

Fri. Oct. 11 - League Preview

Fri. Oct. 11 - Open Rehearsal 7:30 - 10:00 pm at the Civic Auditorium

Sat. Oct. 12 - Street Party 6:00 pm in front of the Civic Auditorium

Fri. Nov. 8 - Rebroadcast KKUP 91.5 FM at 1:00 pm

Earlier Event: October 12
ASCENDANCE
Later Event: November 1
League Preview: Horizons