Feb. 13, 2013
COPY BY: Rana McDonald, 806-651-2129, email@example.com
WTAMU School of Music to Host Annual Piano Festival
CANYON, Texas—West Texas A&M University’s School of Music will host its annual Piano Festival with an opening recital featuring the Unison Piano Duo at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22 in Mary Moody Northen Recital Hall. The event is sponsored by the festival and the University Guest Artist Series.
The theme will be “music making in ensemble” when the duo takes the stage to perform works for two pianos and for one piano, four-hands by Schubert, Fauré, Corigliano, Stravinsky and Piazolla. The WT Piano Ensemble also will perform. They will present the world premiere of Molto Perpetuo for one piano, eight hands composed for the group by WTAMU composition professor B.J. Brooks. Members of the piano ensemble are Luke Haile, Cong Nguyen, Puntita Panyadee and Lynsi Porterfield.
On Saturday, Feb. 23, piano students from around the region will perform in judged events for elementary, junior and senior divisions. Each student will receive written critiques of their performances as well as a certificate from the WTAMU School of Music. The outstanding performers, selected by festival judges, will be presented in an Honors Recital at 2 p.m. in the Sybil B. Harrington Fine Arts Complex, Recital Hall.
The Unison Piano Duo features husband and wife pianists Du Huang and Xiao Hu, who have “dazzled and moved audiences with their heartfelt emotion and seamless ensemble… the best piano duo concert heard in years,” according to the Wuhan Morning Post in China. The New York Concert Review wrote, “…fleet and sparkling… an unusually high level of ensemble playing.” The famous piano duet team Weekley and Arganbright gave the following endorsement: “We had the great pleasure of hearing the Unison Piano Duo, their playing displayed extraordinary musical sensitivity to the contrasting styles of composers, clean and strong technique and both warmth and excitement. They will bring great pleasure and inspiration to audiences everywhere.”
The duo commissioned and recorded American composer Brooke Joyce’s Waves of Stone on the Innova Label. They have performed in concert halls in Europe, Asia and America, including Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall in New York City, Orchestra Hall in Chicago, Grosser Saal of Konzerthaus in Vienna, Salle Gaveau and Salle Cortot in Paris, Shanghai Music Hall and Beijing Music Hall. The duo performed numerous concerts in the Czech Republic as part of the Vysocina Music Festival, the South Bohemia Music Festival, and the American Springs Music Festival. Live performances by the duo have been broadcast by Minnesota Public Radio and Iowa Public Television. During the summer, they teach and perform at the Lutheran Summer Music Academy and Festival. In recent years, they have also become popular guest teachers in their native country of China.
Huang and Hu received their early training at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, and later graduated from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music as students of Eugene and Elizabeth Pridonoff. Both hold a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where they studied with pianist Gil Kalish. They have served as adjudicators for the Hong Kong Schools Music Festival, Chicago Two-Piano Festival and Competition and numerous Music Teacher Association Auditions in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The duo enjoys a busy career performing recitals, as concerto soloists with orchestras and as collaborators with choirs. They have served as piano faculty at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa since 2001.
The Friday evening recital is free for those with a Buff ID, and for students registered for the festival. General admission is $5 at the door.