Marimba virtuoso Makoto Nakura will perform in an Afternoon Music concert at 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 29, in our acoustically wonderful sanctuary.
Pianist Mitchell Vines will perform as guest artist in the program, which includes works by Bach, Philip Lasser, Saint-Saëns and Leonard Bernstein’s Suite from West Side Story. The audience will meet the performers at a reception following the performance.
This will be Mitchell’s last performance as Afternoon Music’s artistic director, since he is retiring after 19 years as Beacon’s music director in June.
Makoto Nakura is a musician of astonishing artistry, whose innovative programs reveal the versatility and expressive range of the marimba. His repertoire includes new music as well as traditional classical compositions. Recent premieres include Toshio Mashima’s marimba concerto at Berlin’s Philharmonic Hall and Benjamin C. S. Boyle’s marimba concerto with the Montreal Chamber Orchestra.
Nakura is a devoted champion of the marimba, a keyboard percussion instrument with wooden tone bars struck with mallets. Its rich tone is enhanced by tubes, called resonators, which hang below each bar.
Born in Kobe, Japan, Nakura began playing the marimba at the age of 8. He earned bachelor and master’s degrees in Tokyo and continued his studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London before moving to New York in 1994. He was the first marimbist to win First Prize in the prestigious Young Concert Artists International Auditions.
Nakura “demonstrates brilliant music making and subtle nuance” in his CD Bach Beat,” wrote Shigeki Saeki in the Japanese magazine Record Geijutsu. “His highly virtuosic technique is one thing, but…he wholeheartedly utlilizes it to achieve the musical expression he wants, instead of showcasing the technique itself.”
Nakura’s critically acclaimed performances have included venues in London, Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Seoul, Mexico City and Buenos Aires. In the U.S., he has performed in 41 of the 50 states in solo recitals and with such orchestras as the New York Chamber Symphony and the Chicago Sinfonietta.
Pianist Mitchell Vines’s active performing career has taken him to Europe, South America, Asia and throughout the U.S. His teaching and performing experience include positions with the Aspen Music Festival, Mannes School of Music, Berkshire Choral International, New York Opera Scenes and Trinity Wall Street.
“The sensitive playing of American pianist Mitchell Vines captivated the audience,” wrote the German newspaper Hessiche-Niedersächsische Allgemeine. “He performed with virtuosity and bravura.”
A native of Portland, Oregon, Mr. Vines holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Portland State University and a Master of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music. Mr. Vines is music director at Temple Israel of the City of New York. He has served as music and choir director at Beacon for the past 19 years.
Afternoon Music tickets are $25 for adults and $20 for seniors. Students are welcome free.
Afternoon Music is funded in part by a grant from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, through a grant administered by the Union County Division of Cultural & Heritage Affairs.
Further information is available at (908) 273-2899 or summitbeacon.org.