Double up: Vieness Piano Duo will enthrall audiences
Opera Steamboat’s Variations Piano Series will bring The Vieness Piano Duo to the stage on Saturday, April 2.
Vijay Venkatesh and Eva Schaumkell met at the University of Southern California and have been playing together ever since. When they realized how much they loved playing together, traveling and performing, they formed The Vienesse Piano Duo in 2017 and since then have played hundreds of recitals together — 40 in the last season alone — across the globe.
Stunning musicians on their own — Venkatesh has been hailed for his “dazzling pianism verging on the impossible” by the Herald Tribune — together, the husband-and-wife duo has enthralled their audiences with each performance.
Playing at the same piano, their goal is to make the music seamless, as if one person were playing with four hands rather than two.
“Piano duo is unlike any other combination of chamber music,” said Venkatesh. “It requires being able to sense the music together as a unit without competing or getting in each other’s way. Piano duets are unique in that the performers share a single instrument, and it means that you absolutely have to be in sync at all times.”
But that isn’t a problem for the couple.
The Indian-American Venkatesh has been recognized as a pianist not only with a profound music sense but also an innate sense of partnership. He has an established reputation as a top prizewinner in piano competitions around the world and was the grand prize winner of the Los Angeles Music Center’s Spotlight Awards.
The German-born Schaumkell has also made her mark on pianos across the globe, playing in the United States, the Middle East and throughout Europe. She has been awarded prizes in many competitions in the last decade — including winning first prize several times — and recently earned her doctorate at USC’s Thornton School of Music.
The start of the 2021-22 season began for the duo with the Grand Piano Series in Florida and continued with shows across the United States, including a tour in the Midwest last fall. As well as playing pieces from all classical composers, they pride themselves on also working with contemporary composers and premiering their latest work.
In Steamboat, their program will feature music from Bach, Schubert’s iconic Fantasia in F Minor and five of Brahms’ 21 Hungarian Dances.
What: Opera Steamboat’s Variations Piano Series presents The Vieness Piano Duo
When: 4-5 p.m. Saturday, April 2
Where: Bud Werner Memorial Library
Tickets: $25, available online at OperaSteamboat.org
Sophie Dingle is a contributing writer for the Steamboat Pilot & Today. She can be reached through the editor.
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