Nakamatsu Debuts Vancouver Symphony

Ruzan Haruriunyan's picture

The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra celebrates the iconic music of George Gershwin in the final London Drugs VSO Pops concert of the season.

Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik, world-renowned pianist Jon Nakamatsu and vocalist Doug LaBrecque are featured in some of the most memorable and enjoyable music ever written, including Rhapsody in Blue, an American in Paris, Fascinatin’ Rhythm, and many more beloved Gershwin classics. Concerts take place on May 22nd and 23rd at 8pm at the Orpheum Theatre.

World-renowned pianist Jon Nakamatsu gained immediate international attention in 1997 when he was awarded the Gold Medal at the Tenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. The next year he was named Debut Artist of the Year by National Public Radio’s Performance Today. Interestingly, Nakamatsu did not attend a music conservatory or major in music; instead he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in German studies and his Masters of Arts degree in education.

Nakamatsu was employed as a high-school German teacher at the time he won the Van Cliburn Gold Medal. He has since pursued a busy performing career, appearing in recital and with major orchestras throughout the world. This concert will mark his Vancouver Symphony Orchestra debut.

Though this concert is featured on the London Drugs Vancouver Symphony Orchestra Pops series, the repertoire could well be featured in a Masterworks Classical series – the music of George Gershwin being completely at home in both worlds. Mr. Nakamatsu himself is right at home in an all-Gershwin concert, having collaborated with Jeff Tyzik and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in his latest recording, Gershwin: Piano Concerto in F / Rhapsody in blue / Cuban Overture. The CD debuted at number 21 and reached number 3 on the Classical Billboard charts. Mr. Tyzik and Mr. Nakamatsu will be signing CDs in the lobby after each performance.

Doug LaBrecque, a magnificent vocalist and favourite of Vancouver audiences, thrilled theatre audiences as The Phantom and Raoul in the Harold Prince production of The Phantom of the Opera. In addition, Mr. LaBrecque has starred on Broadway as Ravenal in the Hal Prince revival of Showboat, a role he also performed in Canada and Chicago. He was featured in Oscar Hammerstein’s 100th Birthday Celebration on Broadway at The Gershwin Theatre, and toured nationally with Les Miserables.

Regionally, Mr. LaBrecque has performed leading roles in Candide, A Chorus Line, Man of LaMancha among many others. A graduate of University of Michigan he was also featured in the world premiere of A Wonderful Life, written by Sheldon Harnick and Joe Raposo, and starred in the premiere revival of Kurt Weill and Alan Jay Lerner’s Love Life. --

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