Masterworks 1 – Bold Beginnings


Sunday, October 30, 2016: 3:00 p.m.
Tuesday, November 1, 2016: 7:30 p.m.

Alasdair Neale, conductor
Jon Nakamatsu, piano

Adams: Short Ride In A Fast Machine
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No.5 “Emperor”
Rachmaninoff: Symphonic Dances

In celebration of our season opener, we’re literally “kicking things off” with John Adams’ joyful exuberant piece, Short Ride in a Fast Machine, brilliantly scored for a large orchestra.  This kinetic gem evokes the excitement-cum-terror of a late-night thrill ride in a sports car.

Every portrait of Beethoven seems to drive home the impression that he was a composer whose music was tempestuous, brooding and muscular. And while that was certainly the case, the masterful Emperor Concerto is proof of the tenderness and beauty that runs like a thread through this great man’s music.  Joining the orchestra will be guest piano favorite, Jon Nakamatsu, a true aristocrat of the keyboard, whose playing combines elegance, clarity, and electrifying power. Learn more about Jon here.

Rachmaninoff’s final three works, the Variations on a Theme of Paganini Op.43, the Third Symphony Op.44 and the Symphonic Dances Op.45 share a common theme. All were written in the United States in the late 1930’s. Rachmaninov was nearing the end of his life, in exile from his homeland. The world was on the brink of war, and when the Symphonic Dances were completed in 1940, France had fallen to the Germans. These three last works are more spartan than their predecessors, less lush in their orchestrations, more direct and menacing in their tone. While Rachmaninoff never talked about death, it is clear that this is the theme of the Symphonic Dances. Rachmaninov wrote no more music after his Symphonic Dances. It was, he said, his “final flicker” and today many regard it as his finest music, perhaps even comprehensive enough to be his Fourth Symphony.

Please join us for this incredible season-opener.

Masterworks Pre-Concert Talks begin Sundays at 2:00 p.m. and Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m., and are free for all ticket holders. All concert attendees are also invited to the post-concert gathering at Gaspares Pizzeria in San Rafael, minutes away from the concert hall (learn more).


Marin Center Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium
Reserved Seating
Starting at $40, Adult
Starting at $20, Youth 6-17
Group discount available for 10 or more, 20%

Single tickets on sale at
Marin Center Box Office August 1, 2016
Open Monday through Friday, 11:00am to 6:00pm
Call or visit to purchase tickets
Phone: 415.473.6800

Buy Tix Oct 30



Buy Tix Nov 1



$6 convenience fee + $3 facility fee for online and phone orders,
$6 convenience fee is waived for in-person orders at the Marin Center Box Office ($3 facility fee still applies).
Box Office location: 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael, CA 94903

Directions to the concert hall and box office.