Internationally-renowned pianist Jon Nakamatsu joins the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra for performances of Liszt’s first and second piano concertos. Nakamatsu, a Van Cliburn International Piano Competition gold medalist, has performed at the Chopin Institute in Warsaw, the Beijing International Piano Festival and with jazz pianist David Benoit at the prestigious Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, CA. This program under Maestro Joseph Giunta opens with music from Engelbert Humperdinck’s fairy-tale opera, Hansel and Gretel. Although influenced by the dramatic leitmotifs found in Wagnerian operas, many Humperdinck’s melodies are tuneful and beautifully simplistic. Richard Strauss, who directed the premiere of the opera in 1893, described it as “a masterpiece of the first rank.” Also included on this program is Mendelssohn’s Fourth Symphony, written during the young composer’s visit to Italy in the early 1830s.