JON MANASSE, CLARINET – Among the most distinguished classical artists of his generation, clarinetist Jon Manasse is internationally recognized for his inspiring artistry, uniquely glorious sound and charismatic performing style.
Jon Manasse’s current season is highlighted by return performances with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra and debuts with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Erie Philharmonic, The Chappaqua Orchestra, Montana’s Missoula Symphony Orchestra and Oregon’s Rogue Valley Symphony. With pianist Jon Nakamatsu, he continues to tour throughout the United States as half of the acclaimed Manasse/Nakamatsu Duo. The Duo’s activities include the world premiere performances of Paquito D’Rivera’s The Cape Cod Concerto with Symphony Silicon Valley, conducted by Leslie B. Dunner.
Jon Manasse’s solo appearances include New York City performances at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts’ Avery Fisher Hall and Alice Tully Hall, Hunter College’s Sylvia & Danny Kaye Playhouse, Columbia University, Rockefeller University and The Town Hall, fourteen tours of Japan and Southeast Asia – all with the New York Symphonic Ensemble, debuts in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Osaka and concerto performances with Gerard Schwarz and the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, both at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall and at the prestigious Tokyu Bunkamura Festival in Tokyo. With orchestra, he has been guest soloist with the Augsburg, Dayton, Evansville, Naples and National philharmonics, Canada’s Symphony Nova Scotia, the National Chamber Orchestra and the Alabama, Annapolis, Bozeman, Dubuque, Florida West Coast, Green Bay, Indianapolis, Jackson, Oakland East Bay, Pensacola, Princeton, Richmond, Seattle, Stamford and Wyoming symphonies, under the batons of Leslie B. Dunner, Peter Leonard, Eckart Preu, Matthew Savery, Alfred Savia and Lawrence Leighton Smith. Of special distinction was Mr. Manasse’s 2002 London debut in a Barbican Centre performance of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto with Gerard Schwarz and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields.
During the 2009-2010 season, Jon Manasse gave the world premiere performances of Lowell Liebermann’s Concerto for Clarinet & Orchestra with the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, under the baton of Music Director Neal Gittleman – performances that were recorded for commercial CD release. Subsequent performances included those with the symphony orchestras of Evansville, Juneau, Las Cruces, North State (CA), Roanoke and the University of Massachusetts.
An avid chamber musician, Jon Manasse has been featured in New York City programs with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Walter Reade Theatre (on Lincoln Center’s “Great Performers Series”), The Sylvia & Danny Kaye Playhouse and Merkin Concert Hall; at the Aspen Music Festival, Caramoor International Music Festival, Colorado Springs Music Festival, Newport Music Festival, Sarasota Music Festival and France’s Festival International des Arts, as well as the chamber music festivals of Bridgehampton, Cape and Islands, Crested Butte, Georgetown, St. Bart’s, Seattle and Tucson. He has also been the guest soloist with many of the leading chamber ensembles of the day, including The Amadeus Trio and Germany’s Trio Parnassus and the American, Borromeo, Colorado, Lark, Manhattan, Moscow, Orion, Rossetti, Shanghai, Tokyo and Ying String Quartets, and has collaborated with violinist Joshua Bell and pianist Jon Nakamatsu.
Jon Manasse is also principal clarinetist of the American Ballet Theater Orchestra and the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra. In 2008 he was also appointed principal clarinetist and Ensemble Member of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s in New York City. As one of the nation’s most highly sought-after wind players, has also served as guest principal clarinetist of the New York Pops Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and New Jersey, Saint Louis and Seattle Symphony Orchestras, under the batons of Gerard Schwarz, Zdenek Macal, Jerzy Semkow, Robert Craft and Hugh Wolff. For several seasons, he was also the principal clarinetist of the New York Chamber Symphony. Mr. Manasse has been a guest clarinetist with the New York Philharmonic in concerts conducted by Valery Gergiev and André Previn, and, during the 2003-04 season, served as the principal clarinetist of The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, performing under the batons of Artistic Director James Levine and, among others, Andrew Davis, Valery Gergiev and Vladimir Jurowski.
In addition to the premiere performances of Lowell Liebermann’s Clarinet Concerto, which was commissioned for him, Jon Manasse has also presented the world premieres of James Cohn’s Concerto for Clarinet & String Orchestra at the international ClarinetFest ’97 at Texas Tech University and, in 2005, of Steven R. Gerber’s Clarinet Concerto with the National Philharmonic.
Jon Manasse has six critically acclaimed CDS on the XLNT label: the complete clarinet concerti of Weber, with Lukas Foss and the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra; the complete works for clarinet and piano of Weber, with pianist Samuel Sanders; recording premieres of 20th Century clarinet works; “Clarinet Music from 3 Centuries,” including Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet (with the Shanghai Quartet), as well as music by Spohr, Gershwin and James Cohn; James Cohn’s Clarinet Concerto #2; and the concerti of Mozart, Nielsen and Copland, with the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra. Also available are his recordings of Steven R. Gerber’s Clarinet Concerto with Vladimir Lande and the St. Petersburg State Academic Symphony on the Arabesque label and Lowell Liebermann’s Quintet for Clarinet, Piano and String Trioon KOCH International. His debut CD with pianist Jon Nakamatsu, a harmonia mundi album of the Brahms Clarinet Sonatas, was released to international rave reviews, early in 2008. 2010 saw the release of concerti by Mozart and Spohr with Gerard Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony, also on the harmonia mundi label.
Jon Manasse is a graduate of The Juilliard School, where he studied with David Weber. Mr. Manasse was a top prize winner in the Thirty-Sixth International Competition for Clarinet in Munich and the youngest winner of the International Clarinet Society Competition. Currently, he is an official “Performing Artist” of both the Buffet Crampon Company and Vandoren, the Parisian firms that are the world’s oldest and most distinguished clarinet maker and reed maker, respectively. Since 1995, he has been Associate Professor of Clarinet at the Eastman School of Music; in the fall of 2007 Mr. Manasse joined the faculty of his alma mater, The Juilliard School.
Jon Manasse and his Duo partner, the acclaimed pianist Jon Nakamatsu, serve as Artistic Directors of the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival, an appointment announced during summer 2006.
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JON NAKAMATSU, PIANO – Since winning the Gold Medal at the 1997 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, American pianist Jon Nakamatsu continues to draw unanimous praise as a true aristocrat of the keyboard, whose playing combines deep musical insight with elegance, clarity and electrifying power.
Mr. Nakamatsu maintains a nearly incessant touring schedule, performing throughout the US and abroad. He has worked with many of today’s leading conductors, and has appeared in recital and chamber collaborations in festivals and in music centers worldwide. Together with the renowned clarinetist Jon Manasse, Mr. Nakamatsu regularly tours as a member of the Manasse/Nakamatsu Duo. The Duo also serves as Artistic Directors of the esteemed Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival which was founded by pianist Samuel Sanders in 1979.
Named Debut Artist of the year by NPR’s Performance Today, Mr. Nakamatsu has been profiled by CBS Sunday Morning, Reader’s Digest and is featured in Playing with Fire, a documentary about the Tenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. He records exclusively for harmonia mundi usa, which has released nine CDs to great critical acclaim. His recent recording of Gershwin’s Concerto in F and Rhapsody in Blue with the Rochester Philharmonic remained on Billboard’s classical charts for nearly six months, topping out at Number 3. Most recently, Mr. Nakamatsu’s CD of the Brahms Clarinet Sonatas with clarinetist Jon Manasse was selected by the New York Times as one of its top classical recordings for 2008.
Jon Nakamatsu has studied privately with Marina Derryberry since the age of six, has worked with Karl Ulrich Schnabel, and studied composition and theory with Dr. Leonard Stein of the Schoenberg Institute at the University of Southern California. A former high school German teacher, Mr. Nakamatsu is a graduate of Stanford University and holds a bachelor’s degree in German Studies and a master’s degree in Education.
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CYNTHIA PHELPS, VIOLA – Cynthia Phelps is the New York Philharmonic’s Principal Viola (The Mr. and Mrs. Frederick P. Rose Chair). Her solo appearances with the Orchestra have included performances on the 2006 Tour of Italy, sponsored by Generali, and the 1999 premiere of Sofia Gubaidulina’s Two Paths, which the Orchestra commissioned for her and Philharmonic Associate Principal Viola Rebecca Young. Other solo engagements have included the Minnesota Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, and Orquesta Sinfónica de Bilbao. Ms. Phelps performs with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Boston Chamber Music Society, and Bargemusic. She has toured internationally with the Zukerman and Friends Ensemble; appeared with The Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio and the Guarneri, American, Brentano, and Prague string quartets; and has given recitals in the music capitals of Europe and the U.S. Her honors include the Pro Musicis International Award and first prize in the Lionel Tertis International Viola and Washington International String competitions. Her most recent album, for flute, viola, and harp, on Telarc, was nominated for a Grammy Award.She has released a solo CD on Cala Records. Ms. Phelps has performed on PBS’s NPR, Radio France, and RAI in Italy.
Mozart: Kegelstatt Trio, Bruch: Pieces, Enescu: Concertpiece