These lively Q&A's aim to shed light on the personalities behind the music. Get to know your favorite artists...or discover someone new!
Jon Nakamatsu is the epitome of “local boy makes good.” He burst on the international music scene in 1997 when he was named the Gold Medalist at the Tenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. He was certainly an unexpected winner; he had studied with one teacher since he was 6 years old, he had neither attended a music conservatory nor studied music in college, and he had a full-time job teaching German at a Mountain View high school. Although he now spends much of his time performing around the U.S., Europe, and Japan, he still lives in San José.
Last June, soprano Leah Crocetto won the first prize, Spanish Prize, and People’s Choice at the José Iturbi International Music Competition in Los Angeles. On March 14, she was one of five winners of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in New York City.
Known as a phenomenon both in his native country of Macedonia and increasingly around the globe, pianist Simon Trpčeski makes his third appearance with the San Francisco Symphony on April 1-3, performing the Grieg Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 16. On the podium will be his favorite collaborator, conductor Vasily Petrenko, with whom he has just released his latest CD in a series of Rachmaninov complete piano concerts.
Ian Bostridge, who made his U.S. debut at Cal Performances in 1998, returns on March 21 for an afternoon recital. He’s known in musical worlds as one of the finer lieder tenors performing today. What may be less well-known is that he started out to have an academic career, earned a Ph.D. in history from Oxford University, and has become a published author and columnist. From his home in England, he told us a bit about the upcoming program and also answered some questions about witchcraft.
Clarinetist Richard Stoltzman dates his professional career from his first performance as a student in San Francisco’s Douglass Elementary School. Six decades, over 50 recordings, and two Grammys later, he performs at Herbst Theatre on March 13 in the august company of pianist Robert Levin and cellist Lynn Harrell. Under the auspices of Chamber Music San Francisco (see Web site), the newly founded Stoltzman-Harrell-Levin Trio performs Brahms’ Trio for Clarinet, Cello, and Piano in A Minor, Op.
Soprano Jessica Rivera first made her mark internationally when she created the character Kumudha in Peter Sellars’ production of John Adams’ opera A Flowering Tree. After repeating the role in the San Francisco Symphony’s Bay Area premiere, her success helped land her the role of Kitty Oppenheimer in the European debut of Sellars’ production of Adams’ Doctor Atomic. She has since sung the part with Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Metropolitan Opera.