LIVERMORE, CA – (August 21, 2017) – Widely acknowledged to be the world’s premier performer of the Native American flute, R. Carlos Nakai will offer a single performance at the Bankhead Theater on Thursday, September 21. Nakai’s music showcases the wood flute’s lovely, sophisticated sound and shows its versatility across the spectrum of musical genres. Combined with the vibrant tones of William Eaton’s ambient, lyraharp guitar, and the subtle pulse of Will Clipman’s world beat percussion, Nakai offers music that has been described as “a vast panorama of moods, from plaintive laments to soaring joy.” Tickets for the performance are just $30 for adults and $17 for students and active military personnel.

Nakai will also offer an interactive educational outreach workshop for students in fourth grade and up from the Livermore Valley Unified School District sharing his passion for the instruments, music and traditions of the Native American culture. The next day, the Bankhead will host its second annual Native American Day on the plaza outside the theater beginning at 4:00 p.m. The family friendly event for all ages, offered in association with Livermore’s American Indian Center, will include demonstrations of tipi building, dancing and singing, as well as artifacts, crafts and food.

Of Navajo-Ute heritage, R. Carlos Nakai is acclaimed for his creative and innovative compositions for the wood flute. Originally trained in classical trumpet, Nakai was given a traditional wood flute as a gift in 1972. He had researched American Indian music and was determined to not just learn to play the instrument but to gain a thorough knowledge of it. Part of his philosophy is to ensure the flute is not a “museum piece” of a bygone culture, rather to show, through original compositions and musical collaborations, the instrument’s unique versatility and capabilities. His musical career has been shaped by a desire to communicate a sense of Native American culture and society that transcends the common stereotypes presented in mass media.

Nakai eventually set out to learn how to craft his own instrument as well. Native American flutes are made from cedar with no standard dimensions. The finger holes and air column are based on hand and finger measurements and are never the same thus each flute has a different sound and pitch, which makes the tonality of the instruments random. Nakai has described the flutes as not so much a musical instrument “as a sound sculpture – a piece of art that also creates sound.”

Nakai has released more than 50 albums including “Canyon Trilogy,” which went platinum, the first for a Native American artist performing traditional solo flute music. Over the past three decades, Nakai has melded his classical training with his expertise on the cedar flute to form a complex, sophisticated sound that not only reveals the flute’s uniqueness, but covers the spectrum of musical genres. In addition to traditional Native American music, he has also explored new age, world-beat jazz and classical styles. Nakai’s cross-cultural collaborations have included an album with the Wind Travelin’ Band, a Japanese folk ensemble, and Tibetan flutist and singer Nawang Khechog, composer Phillip Glass and several symphony orchestras.

The Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center offers wide-ranging programs that provide access to the arts for the Tri-Valley community and beyond. The Bankhead Theater, which houses the Livermore Visitor’s Center and Gallery, together with the Bothwell Arts Center, are home to nine resident performing arts companies and over 40 studio artists and cultural arts instructors. The Bankhead Theater ticket office at 2400 First Street in Livermore is open Tuesday through Saturday from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. On performance days the ticket office is open from two hours before to 30 minutes after the scheduled start of each show. Tickets are also available by calling (925) 373-6800, or online at

Event: R. Carlos Nakai, William Eaton, Will Clipman
Date/Time: Thursday, September 21, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
Venue: Bankhead Theater, 2400 First Street, Livermore
Price: $30 or $17 students and active military personnel
Tickets: visit or call 925-383-6800

Event: Native American Day Celebration
Date/Time: Friday, September 22, 2017 from 4:00 -6:00 p.m.
Venue: Bankhead Theater Plaza, 2400 First Street, Livermore
Price: Free