By Kathryn Kopchik
LEWISBURG, Pa. — The LA Piano Duo — Liam Viney and Anna Grinberg — will perform in concert on Tuesday, Feb. 15, at 8 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, is part of the University's ongoing Gallery Series of both world music and experimental new music concerts, funded in part by grants from the Kushell Music Endowment and Bucknell's Department of music.
The program includes "Diamond Morning" by Shaun Naidoo, "Figures de Resonances" by Henri Dutilleux, "2 Etudes in the Form of a Canon" by Robert Schumann, arranged by Debussy, and "1st Lesson, from Four Lessons for Two Keyboards" by Peter Maxwell Davies.
"A highlight of the program will be a performance of "Structures, Book I" by the French composer Pierre Boulez," said William Duckworth, Bucknell professor of music and director of the Gallery Series. "Completed in 1952, it is one of the most difficult and demanding pieces ever written for two pianos."
A unique repertoire
Viney and Grinberg, who formed the LA Piano Duo in 2006 while living in Los Angeles, are committed to developing a unique repertoire based on exploring classics of the two-piano literature, as well as creating new works through commissions of composers including Ezra Laderman, Marc Lowenstein, Shaun Naidoo and Yevgeniy Sharlat.
In 2010, they gave the world premiere of Stephen Leek's Warrumbungles Burning for two pianos and choir with the St. Peter's Chorale, and released a CD of two-piano and choir works by Leek, Jonathan Dove and Mary Ellen Childs. Upcoming performances include John Adams' Grand Pianola Music with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra and the complete four volumes of Makrokosmos by George Crumb in a one-day event at the Campbelltown Arts Centre.
The two-piano team has performed in festivals and concert series in Australia, the United States and Israel. Directors of the piano department at the University of Queensland, Australia, where they are also Ensemble-in Residence, they were featured pianists at the 2010 Bangalow Music Festival, Yale University's Messiaen Centenary Celebration, and in live broadcasts on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's "Classic FM" Sunday Live program and the ABC's Keys to Music program with Graham Abbott.
They accompanied the great ballerina Nina Ananiashvili's solo appearance at Royce Hall with the State Ballet of Georgia during her 2008 tour of the United States. Critic Ivan Katz said of their duo playing at the Horowitz Series, Yale University, "I cannot imagine a finer performance, as this one had everything, illuminating every bar of the music ... The audience went wild ... "
As individual pianists, their careers have seen concerts in the U.S., Australia, Israel, England, Italy, Germany and Belgium. Described by The Los Angeles Times as "powerful," Grinberg's engagements have included solo and chamber music performances at the Bangalow Music Festival, Royce Hall Los Angeles, the International Cello Festival in Mizra, Israel, and New York's Weil Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. She has performed as soloist with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, and the Paul Mellon Chamber Orchestra, and has appeared on the faculty artist series of Chapman University and Yale University. She was the recipient of several America-Israel Cultural Foundation Scholarships, and was supported in a year of study at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels.
Viney has appeared as soloist with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, the Queensland Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra, the Queensland Youth Orchestra, the Hartford Symphony, and the CalArts Chamber Orchestra in concertos ranging from those of Mozart to Ligeti. He has made solo and chamber appearances in concert series and festivals including the Bangalow Festival, the Beijing Modern Music Festival, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, the Dartington Summer School, "New Paths" festival of New York, "Piano Spheres" of Los Angeles, the "Keynote", "Celebrations" and "Kawai" series in Australia, and the "Tyalgum Festival."
He has won competitions in both Australia and the U.S., including First Prize in the Lev Vlassenko Piano Competition, where he also won the "People's Choice Prize" and prizes for "Best performance of an Australian Work," and "Best Performance of a Classical Sonata." He also won first prize in the Yamaha Australian Youth Piano Competition, (the prize for which was a grand piano), the Queensland Piano Competition on two occasions, the City of Sydney Piano Scholarship, and the Connecticut Young Artists Piano Competition.
His 2008 solo recital of all Australian music (including five U.S. premieres) at Zipper Hall in Los Angeles was named "Best of 2008," one of the top 10 musical events that year in Los Angeles, by music critic Rick Schultz.
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