Thursday, November 18, 2010
In 2004 a music manager suggested to his two clients that they play together. Clarinetist Jon Manasse and pianist Jon Nakamatsu took their manager’s advice and sat down to play Brahms’ Clarinet Sonata No. 1. The power of the pairing was immediately apparent.
“When we first played together it was as though we had been playing for years,” Manasse says. “It was seamless from the start.”
Thanks to Chamber Music Monterey Bay, they’ll be performing that same Clarinet Sonata No. 1 in Carmel this Saturday, Nov. 20, along with Weber’s Grand Duo Concertant and Novacek’s Four Rags for Two Jons. They will also entertain audiences with pieces exhibiting their solo styles.
Their career has taken them from New York City’s Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts to Washington’s National Gallery of Art, electrifying audiences with haunting lows, energetic highs and rare accuracy and articulation.
The chemistry comes despite the fact that their music pedigrees couldn’t differ much more. Nakamatsu was a self-taught pianist whose day job was teaching German. Manassee graduated from Julliard.
The two are best friends off the stage, dealing with stinky socks (Nakamatsu’s good luck charm) and best man trickery (Manasse pretended to lose the rings at Nakamatsu’s wedding).
“It’s a once in a lifetime relationship,” Manasse says.
Classical music critics agree.