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A Preview of “Keys to the Future: SPOTLIGHT on Four Hand Piano” – Monday, February 9 at Mannes

Keys to the Future is presenting an evening of contemporary four hand piano works this coming Monday, February 9 at 8PM, at a free concert at Mannes College’s Concert Hall. As the date approaches, I thought I’d write a few words about a couple of the pieces on this concert, both of which will be premieres:

The first is a piano duet version of Arvo Pärt’s 1976 organ piece Pari Intervallo. Manon Hutton-DeWys and Evi Jundt will give the this version of Pari Intervallo its U.S. premiere. I heard them rehearse it earlier in the week, and it’s similar to his other works of that period in its use of the style known as “Tintinnabulum”, first introduced in Pärt’s r Alina (1976) and Spiegel Im Spiegel (1978). Pari Intervallo definitely casts a spell, and I would be surprised if this doesn’t become a very popular work for piano duos.

Here are a few comments from composer Bruce Stark about his Four, which will be played by virtuosos Karén Hakobian and Gabriel Escudero:

Four is a set of variations based on two themes: one is quick and syncopated, the other broadly lyrical. The title refers to a predominant structural motif of  the piece: four variations, four hands, 4/4 time, and the lyrical theme is (mostly) comprised of four phrases of four notes moving up (or down) a scale. Every variation uses both themes, providing contrast and imparting a sonata-like quality to some of the music. There is no definitive presentation of the material; each variation offers a version, like viewing the same object through four different lenses.

Bruce will be unable to make the concert, as he lives in Tokyo, but through the magic of the internet he has been guiding the pianists on their interpretation of this robust piece.

I’ll try and post here again tomorrow about a couple of the other pieces on the program, which are Andrew List’s Mystical Journey (2005), William Bolcom’s Recuerdos No. 1 (1985), Doug Opel’s Dilukkenjon (2002), and Steve Reich’s seminal Piano Phase (1967), which will be performed by the awesomely talented Keys regulars Blair McMillen snd Stephen Gosling.

“Keys to the Future: SPOTLIGHT on Four Hand Piano” will take place Monday, February 9 at 8PM at Mannes College’s Concert Hall in New York. Admission is free. For complete information about this concert and about our upcoming “SPOTLIGHT on Minimalism” concert (April 5) and our annual 3-day Festival of contemporary solo piano music (May 19-21), please check out our newly updated website:

Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you there.

Joseph Rubenstein, Artistic Director, Keys to the Future