Jon Nakamatsu Stars in Viva Gershwin! Concert at Aloha International Piano Festival

Aloha International Piano Festival presents pianist Jon Nakamatsu in Viva Gershwin!, a Honolulu concert event featuring selections from Porgy & Bess, Gershwin’s 1924 original version of Rhapsody in Blue, and singers Guy Merola and Starr Kalahiki
Jon Nakamatsu in Viva Gershwin! at Aloha International Piano Festival
Jon Nakamatsu in Viva Gershwin! at Aloha International Piano Festival
KAILUA, Hawaii - June 2, 2014 - PRLog -- The Aloha International Piano Festival (AIPF) presents Viva Gershwin! — a celebration of the music of George Gershwin featuring concert pianist Jon Nakamatsu at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 12 at the Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu. The focal point of the evening is Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with Nakamatsu as soloist and Henry Miyamura conducting an authentic jazz band. One of the most important American musical works of the 20th century, the Rhapsody to be performed is Gershwin’s original 1924 version for jazz band and piano, which is arguably a Hawaii premiere.

Joining Nakamatsu for this evening featuring selections from Gershwin’s beloved Porgy & Bess are singers Guy Merola and Starr Kalahiki. Violinist Ignace (Iggy) Jang is also in the spotlight in performance of songs such as “Summertime/A Woman is a Something Thing” and “It Ain’t Necessarily So” from Porgy and Bess. Tickets are $30 for adults and $10 for students. To learn more and purchase tickets, visit and follow AIPF on Facebook (

This year, the music world celebrates the 90th anniversary of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, a work that opened the door for future composers to integrate elements of jazz into classical compositions. Its premiere on February 12, 1924 was a breakthrough moment for the 26-year-old unknown composer, who performed at the keyboard. On the night of the premiere, Gershwin ad-libbed the solo, improvising a key section of what was to become one of music’s most popular works. That same improvisation section remains on the score, offering the pianist a rare outlet for personal creativity. As a result, no two performances are ever the same.

The ninth annual AIPF runs from June 8 to 15, 2014 at the Hawaii Convention Center and features a concert series, piano competitions, free events and masterclasses. AIPF faculty include concert pianists Frederic Chiu, John Bayless, Thomas Sauer, Haewon Song, and AIPF Founder, Lisa Nakamichi.

Frederic Chiu, one of music’s most exciting artists, will make his AIPF debut on June 8 in the family-friendly “Classical Smackdown” event, which pairs the music of Debussy and Prokofiev in a “professional sports event meets classic music” showdown with the audience voting for a favorite.

Viva Gershwin! Featuring Jon Nakamatsu
Thursday, June 12 at 7:30 p.m.
Hawaii Convention Center
Tickets: General $30, Students $10
Purchase tickets online:
This enchanted evening will highlight some of Gershwin’s all-time favorites, including the Rhapsody in Blue with celebrated pianist Jon Nakamatsu as soloist and Henry Miyamura conducting. The Rhapsody to be performed in this concert is Gershwin’s original 1924 version for jazz band and piano. The program also includes Gershwin’s pops/jazz element featuring local favorites, singers Guy Merola and Starr Kalahiki, joined by jazz bassist Steve Jones.

—Jon Nakamatsu, piano & Henry Miyamura, conductor: Gershwin – Rhapsody in Blue (1924 original jazz band version)
—Lisa Nakamichi & Jon Nakamatsu: Three Preludes for two pianos
—Ignace (Iggy) Jang: Gershwin/Heifetz – “Summertime/A Woman is a Something Thing”, “Bess, You is my Woman Now” & “It Ain’t Necessarily So” from Porgy and Bess
—Haewon Song & Thomas Sauer: Gershwin/P. Grainger – Fantasy on Themes on Porgy and Bess
—John Bayless: Gershwin/Bayless – “Our Love is Here to Stay” & “Embraceable You”
—Guy Merola & Starr Kalahiki joined by bassist Steve Jones: Gershwin songs announced from the stage

For more information about Rhapsody in Blue, please see the source reviewed for this release:

George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue (!TG6Sp
The article, written by Bill DeMain, is reprinted with permission from the July-August 2010 issue of mental_floss magazine.

About the Aloha International Piano Festival
Founded in 2006 by pianist Lisa Nakamichi, the Aloha International Piano Festival (AIPF) is a non-profit organization committed to educating Hawaii’s children and teachers. AIPF addresses three main needs: the need for music teacher training, the need for low-cost music concerts and music education opportunities, and the need for high-caliber classes and lessons for piano students. AIPF strives to elevate the awareness of classical music in Hawaii while offering people of all ages the opportunity to experience music in a welcoming and educational setting. As a result of volunteer efforts and work to minimize administrative costs, AIPF has consistently offered programs at low and affordable rates for more than eight years. Visit ( for more information.

The Aloha International Piano Festival gratefully acknowledges the support of The Atherton Foundation, the Consulate General of Japan in Honolulu, and the Music Teachers National Association Foundation.

Kristin Jackson
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Tags:Jon Nakamatsu, Lisa Nakamichi, Frederic Chiu, Haewon Song, John Bayless
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Location:Kailua - Hawaii - United States
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