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School of Music

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View the 2016-17 brochure >>

Piano Series Recital tickets are $20 general, $15 student/senior (free to Sac State music majors on the night of the show, subject to availability).

Tickets for concerts are available online, through the Sac State Ticket Office at (916) 278-4323, or at the door (starting one hour prior to performance, subject to availability). Cash or Credit cards may be used at the door.

The house opens 30 minutes prior to concert start time.

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Piano Series

The Piano Series at Sacramento State presents 4-5 guest artist recitals and multiple masterclasses each year, featuring a wide variety of professional performers from around the country. Now entering our 22nd Season of the Piano Series, take a look back at the first 20 years with Series director Richard Cionco, in this 56-minute video produced at Sac State and recorded in our own Capistrano Concert Hall.


The 2017-2018 Piano Series kicks off with a recital by guest artist John Hillebrandt on Saturday, October 28 at 7:30 p.m. He will be performing his own 70-minute cycle Transcendental Hymn-Fantasies. John Hillebrandt keeps an active schedule as a pianist, composer and educator. His numerous and highly acclaimed performances each season include solo recitals, chamber music, concertos, and original compositions. He retired in 2011 from California State University, Stanislaus, where his remarkable career as staff accompanist and lecturer spanned 15 years and included more than 500 performances. He has been the Principal Pianist and Keyboardist for the Modesto Symphony Orchestra since 1996. He graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. degree in music from the University of Central Florida, and earned his M.M. and Doctorate of Musical Arts degrees in piano performance from the University of Michigan.


Guest artist Michael Rickman will perform on Saturday, March 1, 2018, at 7:30 p.m. Steinway Artist Michael Rickman has been portrayed as "a resourceful and sensitive pianist, technically in control and emotionally rewarding." New York Times critic, Bernard Holland, hailed him as "a sure and steady pianist." His performances have taken him to many significant cultural centers around the world: Wagnersaal in Riga, Latvia; Alice Tully, Bruno Walter and Carnegie Halls in New York; Frutillar International Music Festival, Chile; as well as performances in Miami, Palm Beach, Philadelphia, Louisville, Kansas City, Toronto, London, Paris and Frankfurt. Rickman joined the faculty at the acclaimed School of Music of Stetson University in 1983, where he is professor of piano. In 1990, he was the first recipient of Stetson University's Homer and Dolly Hand Award for Creative Activity and Research, and received the award again in 2013. A native of North Carolina, Michael Rickman was a pupil of the late Grace Potter Carroll, herself a pupil of both Ferruccio Busoni and Theodore Leschetitzky. He holds degrees and the performer's certificate from Mars Hill College and the University of North Texas where he was a pupil of Richard Cass and Jack Roberts. In 1978, Rickman received top honors in the Theodore Leschetitzky International Competition at Carnegie Hall, New York. He was placed on the international roster of Steinway Artists in 1990.


Guest artist Jon Nakamatsu will perform on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. A native of California, Mr. Nakamatsu came to international attention in 1997 when he was named Gold Medalist of the Tenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, the only American to have achieved this distinction since 1981. Mr. Nakamatsu has performed widely in North and South America, Europe, and the Far East, collaborating with such conductors as James Conlon, Marek Janowski, Raymond Leppard, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Osmo Vänskä and Hans Vonk. He also performed at a White House concert hosted by President and Mrs. Clinton.

Mr. Nakamatsu's extensive recital tours throughout the U.S. and Europe have featured appearances in New York's Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, Washington D.C.'s Kennedy Center, and in Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Paris, London and Milan. He has worked with various chamber ensembles - among them the Brentano, Tokyo, Kuss, Jupiter, Cypress, Prazak and Ying String Quartets - and has toured repeatedly with the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet.

Mr. Nakamatsu records exclusively for Harmonia Mundi USA, which has released thirteen CDs to date. His all-Gershwin recording with Jeff Tyzik and the Rochester Philharmonic featuring Rhapsody in Blue and the Concerto in F rose to number three on Billboard's classical music charts, earning extraordinary critical praise. Of his most recent release on the label, a 2014 solo disc of the piano works of Robert Schumann, BBC Music Magazine states that "Nakamatsu clarifies Schumann's mid-range saturated textures to a remarkable degree, reveling in its fantastic imaginings with rapier-like precision and effortless command." Mr. Nakamatsu studied privately with Marina Derryberry and has worked with Karl Ulrich Schnabel, son of the great pianist Artur Schnabel. He is a graduate of Stanford University.