• Steve Ambler

The EStrella Piano Duo


Svetlana Belsky and Elena Doubovitskaya will be performing at the final concert of the Hudson Chamber Music Series’ 34th season.

The fourth and final concert of the Hudson Chamber Music Series' 34th season will take place on April 9 at 4 pm in St. James Church Hall, 642 Main Road, Hudson. The EStrella Piano Duo will mark their Canadian debut in works for piano four hands by Rachmaninoff, Rimsky-Korsakov, Mussorgsky, Debussy, Mendelssohn, Brahms and Johann Strauss Junior.

The EStrella Duo is made up of two remarkable young Russian-American pianists, Svetlana Belsky and Elena Doubovitskaya.

Svetlana emigrated from the Soviet Union before earning Bachelor of Music and Masters degrees from the Peabody Conservatory of Music and a Doctorate in Performance at the Manhattan School of Music. Critically acclaimed as "a passionate pianist and scholar", she is in demand recitalist and chamber pianist, noted for her remarkable rapport with audiences and stylistic versatility, and has played in Europe, Asia, and throughout the U.S. She has received numerous awards both for her performances in international piano competitions as well as for her advocacy of new American music.

Elena studied in Russia, and moved to the U.S. to study at the Manhattan School of Music before obtaining her Doctorate in Piano Performance from the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University in 2011. She has received several performance awards and has played in Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic and Russia as well as festivals across the U.S., including in the Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall for the 67th Young Musicians Concert. An accomplished teacher, she has held several faculty positions and is currently Chair of the Piano Department at the Merit School of Music in Chicago.

Svetlana and Elena made their piano duo debut together in 2011 to great acclaim. Reviews of their first performance spoke of "technical brilliance" and "infectious joy in music making". The second drew a standing-room-only crowd. They went on to give a series of concerts celebrating the great Russian works for piano duet, and have since presented concerts and master classes throughout the US. They have and extensive discography as soloists, together as a duo, and with other ensembles. A selection will be available for purchase at the concert. Interested readers can check out their remarkable artistry on their YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/EStrellaPianoDuo

Sunday's programme focuses on the Romantic repertoire. In keeping with their debut season, the first half is all Russian. The first work is Rachmaninoff's famous Vocalise. Originally for soprano or tenor with piano accompaniment, the Duo will play an arrangement for four hands by Greg Anderson. Next up is the final movement from Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherezade, and before the interval they will play Mussorgsky's masterwork Pictures at an Exhibition. Composed for solo piano, the best known version of this work is the orchestration by Ravel. The four-hands arrangement is a collaborative effort including a contribution by Elena.

After the interval, the Duo will make a brief excursion into Impressionism with the second movement (Fêtes) from Debussy's Nocturnes. Then, straight back to the Romantic period with five selections from Mendelssohn's Midsummer Night's Dream. They will finish up with a rousing selection of waltzes: the first four of Brahms' Sixteen Waltzes opus 39 and the crowd-pleasing Blue Danube Waltzes (Concert Fantasy) by Strauss.

As usual, patrons will be able to meet and discuss with the artists after the concert. Tickets will be available at the door for $25 (seniors $20, children under 14 free). For more information phone 450-458-4088 or 450-458-5107 or log on to the Hudson Chamber Music Series web site at http://www.hudsonchambermusic.ca/index.html. The web site includes the full schedule of concerts for the 2016-2017 season and more detailed biographies of the artists.

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