Symphonie Fantastique

ProMedica Classics

Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle

March 23 & 24, 2018

Concert Time: 8:00 pm

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Alain Trudel, conductor
Jon Nakamatsu, piano

Liszt – Totentanz
Rachmaninoff – Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
Berlioz – Symphonie Fantastique

The iconic and terrifying Dies irae motif has inspired each work on this program. Van Cliburn Gold Medalist Jon Nakamatsu returns to Toledo to perform Liszt’s daring Totentanz and Rachmaninoff’s radiant Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. The program finishes with the drama of desperate young love, magnified by opium-induced hallucinations in the evocative Symphonie Fantastique. TSO Music Director Alain Trudel conducts.

Jon Nakamatsu’s performance is made possible by the generous support of Jonathan F. Orser. 


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Recently appointed Music Director of the Toledo Symphony (USA), conductor Alain Trudel has been praised for his “immense talent as conductor, musician and performer” (La Presse). He is also Music Director of l’Orchestre Symphonique de Laval, Principal Youth and Family Conductor of the National Arts Centre Orchestra and Principal Guest conductor of the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra. Trudel was also the CBC Radio Orchestra conductor, taking the orchestra to new heights of artistic quality, as well as public and critical acclaim.

Trudel has conducted every major orchestra in Canada as well as orchestras in the UK, USA, Sweden, Brazil, Italy, Russia, Japan, Hong-Kong, Malaysia and Latin America. Trudel made his Opera de Montréal debut in 2009 in Mozart’s Magic Flute and conducted the live recording of their 30th anniversary gala. He has been a regular guest since and in March 2017 he conducted to great acclaim (“The entire audience was on its feet for another standing ovation, with concertgoers shouting “wow” and “bravo.” Rolling Stone Magazine, “The Wall Triumphs in Montréal.”  Le Figaro, Paris) the world premiere operatic version of “The Wall”. Trudel will also lead the american premiere at the Cincinnati Opera in July 2018.

Always committed to upcoming generations of musicians, Trudel was Conductor of the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra from 2014 to 2012 and has regularly been invited to conduct the National Youth Orchestra of Canada. From 2011 to 2015 Trudel was Professor and conductor of the orchestra and opera orchestra at the University of Western and is now guess professor for orchestra and opera at the University of Ottawa.

First known to the public as “the Jascha Heifetz of the trombone” (Le monde de la musique), Alain Trudel has been a guest soloist with orchestras worldwide including Philharmonique de Radio-France, Hong-Kong Philharmonic, Austrian Radio Orchestra, Festival Musica Strasbourg (France), Klangbogen Festival (Vienna), Akiyoshidai and Hamamatsu festival (Japan). Alain is also a respected composer with performances across America and in Asia.

Alain Trudel was the first Canadian to be a Yamaha international artist, and is the recipient of numerous awards including the Virginia Parker, Charles Cros (France), Opus prize and Heinz Unger prizes. He has been named an Ambassador of Canadian Music by the Canadian Music Centre and received a Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 2012.


The distinguished American pianist Jon Nakamatsu - known internationally for the panache and elegance of his solo, concerto, and chamber performances - has become a favorite with audiences throughout the world. As a prolific recording artist, Mr. Nakamatsu has set to disc numerous seminal performances on the harmonia mundi label. In his review of Mr. Nakamatsu’s recent performance of Saint-Saëns' Piano Concerto No. 2, Daniel J. Kushner writes in The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle: “Nakamatsu evinced brilliant musicianship. His tone and articulation sparkled and shimmered, while his use of dynamics and energy brought out the lifeblood of each and every phrase.” (May 1, 2015)

The 2017-18 season brings Mr. Nakamatsu opportunities to perform with some of the finest North American orchestras, including the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra, Bozeman Symphony, Peninsula Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony, Greenwich Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Silicon Valley, Toledo Symphony, Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, San Jose Wind Symphony, and Symphoria in Syracuse, NY. Chamber music engagements similarly take him across the United States to Chamber Music Columbus, Brookings Chamber Music Society, Music at Kohl Mansion, Chamber Music International, and Dallas Chamber Music Society, where he will collaborate with Imani Winds. Other engagements include performances with the American Beethoven Society, University of Georgia, Athens, Arts Council of Moore County, and International Classical Concerts of the Desert.

In the 2016-17 season, Mr. Nakamatsu joined the Rochester Philharmonic for Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Concerto in F, the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra for Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4, as well as the Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra and the Helena Symphony. He also performed in solo recitals across the country: in New Jersey, Pensacola, FL, Waco, TX, as well as several towns throughout the state of California. In May of 2017, Mr. Nakamatsu traveled to Japan for several performances in Okinawa and Miyako Island. In the 2016-17 summer season, Mr. Nakamatsu’s appearances included the Colorado Music Festival, the Chautauqua Music Festival, the Aloha International Piano Festival, and the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival, where he is co-artistic director, together with his longtime artistic partner, clarinetist Jon Manasse.

Mr. Nakamatsu has been an active guest soloist with leading orchestras throughout his career; among them the orchestras of Dallas, Detroit, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Rochester, San Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver, Berlin, Milan, and Tokyo. He 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. His numerous summer engagements have included appearances at the Aspen, Tanglewood, Ravinia, Caramoor, Vail, Wolftrap, and Britt festivals. In 1999, Mr. Nakamatsu performed at the White House at the special invitation of President and Mrs. Clinton.

Among the many chamber ensembles with which Mr. Nakamatsu has collaborated are the Brentano, Jupiter, Miami, Tokyo, Prazak, St. Lawrence, and Ying String Quartets. He also tours frequently with the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet and in 2008 debuted on the Philharmonic’s chamber music series performing with the Quintet and members of the orchestra. In 2008, the Manasse/Nakamatsu Duo released its first CD (Brahms Sonatas for Clarinet and Piano) which received the highest praise from The New York Times classical music editor James R. Oestreich, who named it a “Best of the Year” choice for 2008. In addition to their joint concert performances, Mr. Nakamatsu and Mr. Manasse serve as Artistic Directors of the esteemed Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival, founded by pianist Samuel Sanders in 1979.

Mr. Nakamatsu records exclusively for harmonia mundi USA, and has released twelve CDs to date. All have garnered high critical praise. Notable releases include Mr. Nakamatsu’s first collaboration with Jon Manasse with Brahms’ Op. 120 Sonatas, an all-Gershwin recording with Jeff Tyzik and the Rochester Philharmonic featuring Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Concerto in F which rose to number three on Billboard’s classical music charts, and a recently released 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”).

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.

Listen to Liszt's daring Totentanz. Van Cliburn Gold Medalist Jon Nakamatsu will perform this piece and Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with the TSO.

Check out Hector Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique.


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