Music News & Reviews

This world-class conductor grew up in Morro Bay. Now he's coming home for a concert

Kent Nagano, who grew in Morro Bay, is the music director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and the general music director of Germany’s Hamburg State Opera.
Kent Nagano, who grew in Morro Bay, is the music director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and the general music director of Germany’s Hamburg State Opera.

Grammy Award-winning conductor Kent Nagano will return to Morro Bay this week for a rare hometown concert.

Nagano and his daughter, pianist Karin Kei Nagano, will take the stage Friday at St. Timothy's Catholic Church in Morro Bay. Proceeds from the show benefit the Morro Bay Open Space Alliance's campaign to purchase and preserve Cerrito Peak.

Friday's program features works by Claude Debussy, Olivier Messian and Franz Schubert.

Kent Nagano, 66, grew up on a farm in Morro Bay, where he studied with music educator and artist Wachtang “Botso” Korsheli, founder of the San Luis Obispo Youth Symphony. Nagano’s daughter also studied with Korsheli — as did his sister, pianist Joan Nagano, and cousin, San Luis Obispo Symphony cellist Nancy Nagano.

Karin Kei Nagano Photo Dominik Odenkirchen.jpg
Pianist Karin Kei Nagano will perform in concert with her father, conductor Kent Nagano, on June 8, 2018, at St. Timothy's Catholic Church in Morro Bay. Dominik Odenkirchen

Kent Nagano, who graduated from Morro Bay High School in 1969, is music director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and general music director of the Hamburg State Opera and Philharmonic Orchestra in Germany. In addition, he serves as artistic advisor and principal guest conductor of Sweden’s Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra.

A three-time Grammy winner, Nagano is a grand officer of the Order of Québec, a commander of the Order of Montreal and a recipient of Japan’s Order of the Rising Sun. He received his third honorary doctorate — this one from San Francisco State University — on May 24.

Friday's concert kicks off at 7 p.m. at St. Timothy's, 962 Piney Way in Morro Bay. A champagne reception follows at 10 p.m.

Tickets cost $80 to $120. For more information, visit mbopenspace.org.

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