September 26, 2013

Khasma Piano Duo -- Katherine Palumbo and Ashlee Mack -- in concert Oct. 6

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By Kathryn Kopchik

LEWISBURG, Pa. — The Khasma Piano Duo will perform in concert Sunday, Oct. 6, at 4 p.m. in the Rooke Recital Hall of the Weis Music Building at Bucknell University.

The concert, which is free and open to the public, will include "Mihr" by Alan Hovhaness; "Three Preludes" by David Maki; "The Garden of Eden" by William Bolcom; "Tango" by Igor Stravinsky; "Time Seems to Pass" by James Romig; and "Halleluja Junction" by John Adams.

Bucknell alumnae Ashlee Mack, a 2003 graduate, and Katherine Palumbo, who graduated in 2004, formed the Khasma Piano Duo in 2012 after playing together for several years since meeting as undergraduates in 2000. Recent concerts have been dedicated to the performance of music from the 20th and 21st centuries, including works by John Adams, Samuel Barber, William Bolcom, Paul Bowles, Morton Feldman, Alan Hovhaness, David Maki, James Romig and Igor Stravinsky. Their next project is a call-for-scores followed by a concert tour of the chosen works.

Mack has given recitals in Germany, Italy and across the United States. As a specialist of contemporary music, she has performed solo and chamber music with organizations such as the Society for Chromatic Art, Vox Novus, New Music Forum, Iowa Composers Forum, New Music Festival at Western Illinois University, Aspen Composers Conference at the Aspen Institute, PASIC and SCI.

Mack's recordings of "Odds and Ends" by Robert Morris and "For Milton" by Christian Carey are featured on a Milton Babbitt memorial CD published by Perspectives of New Music/Open Space. Her recording of James Romig's "Transparencies" was recently released on Navona Records.

Upcoming events include concerts of new music with composer/pianist David Maki and an artist residency at Grand Canyon National Park this December. Primary teachers include Lois Svard (Bucknell University), Michael Adcock (Washington, D.C.), and Alan Huckleberry (University of Iowa). Mack is the coordinator of piano instruction at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill.

Palumbo is a pianist, vocalist and advocate of contemporary music. As a founding member of both the Khasma Piano Duo and Trillium Ensemble (flute, clarinet and piano trio), Palumbo is passionate about collaborating with others on uniquely programmed concerts and has premiered pieces by notable composers such as James Romig, Robert Morris, Federico Garcia, Efrain Amaya, Nathan Hall, Matthew Heap and Mark Fromm.

In her hometown of Pittsburgh, Pa., she has performed with organizations such as the Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, Alia Musica, OvreArts and has performed live on Classical WQED 89.3 FM. She has been an accompanist for Duquesne University, vocal coach and accompanist for Chatham University's Minna Kaufmann Ruud Scholars, and director of music for Incarnation of Lord Catholic Church.

Palumbo teaches piano at the Winchester Thurston School and privately from her home in Pittsburgh. To encourage the importance of injury prevention and body awareness within herself and her students, she is training to become a certified Alexander Technique teacher at the Philadelphia School for the Alexander Technique under the instruction of Martha Hansen Fertman. Palumbo earned her degree in piano performance from Bucknell University where she studied with Barry Hannigan, and also has studied with Maria Caruso and Ralph Zitterbart of Pittsburgh, Pa.