Performance | The Last Detail: Bugallo-Williams Piano Duo
Part of four-day festival of classical performances with an eclectic twist
Saturday, April 14, 2018, 7 pm
Hailed as “beyond brilliant” (San Francisco Classical Voice) and “simply stunning” (Gramophone), the Bugallo-Williams Piano Duo has been presenting innovative programs of contemporary music around the world since 1995. Helena Bugallo and Amy Williams perform cutting-edge new works and masterpieces of the 20th century for piano four-hands and two pianos.
They have premiered dozens of works, many of which were written for the Duo, and they have worked directly with such renowned composers as David Lang, Louis Andriessen, Lukas Foss, Tania León, Bernard Rands, Carola Bauckholt, Peter Eötvös, and Steve Reich. They also collaborate with composers who explore new approaches to the piano through multimedia applications, electronics, and extended techniques. They frequently perform with additional players in works for multiple keyboards, chamber works for duo piano and instruments, and concertos.
Admission $10; Members free
Call 716-878-6011 for tickets
from Jatékók/Games (1979-2010):
György Kurtág Homage to Verdi (Caro nome che il mio cor)
Microludes for György Kurtág:
Amy Williams In the Shadows (2017)*
Kurtág Play with Infinity
Carola Bauckholt When they go low we go high (2017)*
Kurtág One More Voice from Far Away
Katharina Rosenberger Bogen (2017)*
Kurtág Homage to Sáry Lázló (Dot and Spot)
Marcos Balter Hang (2017)**
Kurtág Furious Chorale
Jason Eckardt Toll (2016)
Peter Eötvös O Rose! (2015)
Caspar Johannes Walter Spiel mit dem Unendlichen (2016)
Kurtág Homage to Halmágyi Mihály
Philippe Manoury G for K (2016)
Kurtág Prelude and Waltz in F (or F sharp)
Klas Torstensson One Two Three Four (2016)
Joseph Michaels Together in Perfect Harmony (2014)
Kurtág Homage to Stravinsky (Bells)
Igor Stravinsky Petrushka: Burlesque in Four Scenes (1910-1911) (arranged by the composer)
Program is organized, in a continuous thread, around the music of Hungarian composer, György Kurtág, who celebrated his 92nd birthday in February. There is no other living composer so intimately and profoundly connected to the medium of the piano duo as Kurtág. His own performances with his wife, pianist Marta Kurtág, have led to the creation of nearly 100 pieces for piano, four-hands and two pianos.
The composer began his series of Jatékók (Games) in the late 1970s as a collection of didactic piano pieces very much influenced by Bartók’s Mikrokosmos. His initial focus was on the development of students’ musical imagination and experimental attitude towards the keyboard, as opposed to the technical orientation of more conventional methods. As the series progressed, Kurtág’s Games have become more personal, close to a musical diary, often reflecting his thoughts and recollections of the music of other composers.
For the Duo’s Microludes for György Kurtág project, they invited ten esteemed composers from different countries and generations to contribute new pieces in the spirit of Kurtág’s Játékok. The series pays homage to the master of miniatures and celebrates his pianistic legacy, while projecting it into the future. A significant contribution to the repertoire, it marks the debut of all the composers in the genre of one piano, four hands. Joseph Michaels, a former student of Williams, was inspired by an existing piece of music—in this case, the pop song “Ebony and Ivory” by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder. His playful approach to the playing of the piano in Together in Perfect Harmony has much in common with Kurtág.
Kurtág’s music is paired with that of Igor Stravinsky, a composer whose influence for contemporary composers cannot be understated. The musical seeds of Petrushka first took the form of a concerto for piano and orchestra, conceived by the composer in 1910 just after the completion of his first ballet, The Firebird. It was the visionary Russian impresario, Sergei Diaghilev who, upon hearing portions of the planned concerto, suggested the elaboration into a full-fledged ballet. The main character, Petrushka, retained in the ballet the voice of the rebellious piano, both embedded within the orchestra and resisting it. This outspoken, bold, and inopportune clown figure—a Russian version of Punch or Pulcinella—interacts with two other marionettes, the Ballerina and the Moor, in a commedia dell’arte fashion. In the four-hand arrangement, the piano fulfills a double function: it represents the individual Petrushka as well as the other characters and their surroundings, becoming the sole platform on which the vivid action takes place.
About the Artists:
The Bugallo-Williams Piano Duo has been presenting innovative programs of contemporary music throughout North America and Europe since 1995. Helena Bugallo and Amy Williams perform cutting-edge new works and masterpieces of the twentieth century for piano four-hands and two pianos. They have premiered dozens of works, many of which were written especially for the Duo, and they have worked directly with such renowned composers as David Lang, Tania Léon, Louis Andriessen, Lukas Foss, Steve Reich, Bernard Rands, Betsy Jolas and Kevin Volans.
They also collaborate with composers who explore new approaches to the piano through multimedia applications, electronics, and extended techniques. They frequently perform with additional players in works for multiple keyboards, chamber works for duo piano and instruments, and concertos. The Duo has been featured at the Warsaw Autumn Festival, Muziekgebouw aan’t IJ (Amsterdam), Palacio de Bellas Artes (Mexico City), Miller Theatre, Le Poisson Rouge and Symphony Space (New York City), CAL Performances (Berkeley), Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik (Witten), and Ojai Festival (California), to name a few.
As part of their mission to expand the repertoire for piano duet, the Duo has undertaken an extensive transcription project of the Studies for Player Piano by Conlon Nancarrow. This resulted in a critically acclaimed recording of Nancarrow’s music for piano duet and solo piano, released by Wergo in 2004. Their subsequent CD "Stravinsky in Black and White" (Wergo, 2007) includes original arrangements for piano duet and two pianos by the composer, two of which are world premiere recordings. They have also recorded the music of Jorge Liderman (Albany Records, 2005), Erik Oña (Wergo, 2007), Morton Feldman/Edgard Varèse (Wergo, 2009), Alberto Ginastera (Neos, 2010), Amy Williams (Albany, 2013) and Kurtág (Wergo, 2015). Volume 2 of Stravinsky transcriptions will be released in spring 2018. Recent projects include a CD recording of the original version of Bartók’s Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion and performances with the SWR Orchestra of Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s two piano concerto, Dialoge. The Duo was formed when both pianists were graduate students at the University at Buffalo.
Admission $10; Members free
Call 716-878-6011 for tickets