DUO Stephanie and Saar
Tickets: $15/$10 students
Bach Crossings, a first release for DUO Stephanie and Saar on New Focus Recordings, is a crossing of paths, crossing of minds and inspirations. Johann Sebastian Bach, the monolith of Western music, is recast and given new light in piano four hand transcriptions by one of our most creative living composers, György Kurtág.
DUO Stephanie and Saar will celebrate the release of Bach Crossings by performing the entire CD at An die Musik Live. Opening the concert will be Miranda Cuckson
“The duo gave beautifully understated performances” – The New York Times
“These well-matched artists found considerable expressive depth in Kurtág’s version of the Sonatina…The rapport between Ho and Ahuvia was readily apparent throughout their portion of the program; their music- making placed added value on elegance and subtlety” – The Baltimore Sun
“ Their (DUO Stephanie and Saar) wide ranging repertoire and intellectual curiosity is extraordinary” – Musical America
“Emotionally astute performances” – International Piano Magazine
ABOUT THE ARTISTS:
Duo Stephanie and Saar:
"Bach Crossings" album release concertThe collaboration of pianists Stephanie Ho and Saar Ahuvia in both piano four-hand and two-piano repertoire brings them to New York’s cutting-edge Le Poisson Rouge, the Czech Republic’s Pilsen Radio Symphony Orchestra performing Bohuslav Martinu’s Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra, engagement with Cultural Center of Chicago's Dame Myra Hess series, and a live radio interview and performance on WNYC’s Soundcheck with John Schaefer.
This season DUO Stephanie and Saar were awarded a grant by the Foundation for Contemporary Arts in New York to present a special concert at Le Poisson Rouge featuring Celestial Mechanics by George Crumb in celebration of the composer’s 80th birthday. DUO was also invited for a three-concert residency for Composers Collaborative at Cornelia Street Café in NYC. Other highlights include an appearance on In the Gardens of Spain, a live WQXR broadcast concert from New York City’s Cervantes Institute, a live broadcast concert from Chicago on WFMT presented by PianoForte Foundation and a special concert in Miami for the Murray Dranoff International Two Piano Foundation. Highlights from the 2008-9 season include concerts with the Regensdorf Chamber Orchestra (Switzerland) performing Mozart and Bach Concertos for Two Pianos and engagements at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Catonsville Presbyterian Concert Series in Baltimore and Keneseth Israel Community Series in Philadelphia.
While pursuing Graduate Performance Diplomas at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, the couple was inspired by Leon Fleisher to explore the string quartets of Beethoven in a duo piano setting. From that motivation came several concert appearances of Beethoven’s String Quartet Op.18 No.6 and a mentorship by Mr. Fleisher who was joined in his efforts by both Julian Martin and Boris Slutsky, faculty members at the Juilliard School and Peabody Institute respectively.
In order to focus on developing a duo repertoire, Stephanie and Saar completed two Performing Artist Residencies at the Banff Centre in Canada in 2005 and 2006 where they performed as well as recorded music by Debussy, Mozart, Brahms, Messiaen, Schubert, Stravinsky and more. Selections from these performances were chosen for broadcast on WQXR’s Young Artist Showcase in New York. Interested in programming a wide variety of music, DUO has been exploring a variety of music from Guillame de Machaut to György Kurtág, Messiaen’s monumental Visions de l’Amen, as well as their own four-hand transcription of A Time for Love by jazz pianist Bill Evans. Deeply committed to playing new music, DUO has premiered works by Hywel Davies, Michael Harrison, Philippe Bodin, Matt van Brink, Jay Anthony Gach, Paul Hefner, Dana Richardson, Henry Martin and Joel Mandelbaum. They were awarded a grant from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs to present Sounds of New York – a concert devoted to New York composers at Queens College. DUO presented special programs of music and letter readings. These include Intimate Letters – the Piano Music of Leos Janácek and A Life in Letters – Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms.
In conjunction with their performing careers, both Stephanie and Saar are currently faculty members at Concordia College’s Conservatory of Music in Bronxville, New York and Kean University in Union, New Jersey. They reside in Forest Hills - Queens, NYC.
In demand as a soloist and chamber musician, violinist/violist Miranda Cuckson is highly acclaimed for her performances of a wide range of repertoire, from early eras through to the most current creations. She has recently been praised as "fiercely gifted" (Time Out NY), a violinist of "undeniable musicality" and “a brilliant young performer who plays daunting contemporary music with insight, honesty, and temperament" (the New York Times). She has made five lauded CDs on Centaur Records: concertos by Korngold and Ponce with the Czech National Symphony, and disks of violin music by Ralph Shapey (a two-CD set), Donald Martino, and Ross Lee Finney, for which she was awarded grants from the Copland and Ditson funds. Vanguard Classics also recently released her CD "the wreckage of flowers" featuring the violin works of Michael Hersch. Recent highlights include a concerto performance at Carnegie Hall with the American Symphony Orchestra, and the world premiere of a "through a stillness brightening", a work for violin and ensemble written for her by Jeffrey Mumford. Miranda has appeared internationally as soloist with many orchestras, and she directs nunc, a series of chamber music concerts. She made her recital debut at Carnegie's Weill Hall as winner of the Presser Award. She has performed at major venues including the Berlin Philharmonie, Library of Congress, 92nd Street Y, Zankel Hall, Bargemusic, and the Marlboro, Bard, Bodensee, and Lincoln Center festivals. A passionate and much sought-after advocate of new music, she has worked with composers such as Henri Dutilleux, Elliott Carter, John Adams, Salvatore Sciarrino, Georg Friedrich Haas, and Mario Davidovsky, and she is active with ensembles in NYC including counter)induction and Sequitur. She studied at The Juilliard School, where she received her BM, MM, and DMA, and graduated with the Richard F. French prize for best dissertation. Her teachers included Robert Mann, Dorothy DeLay, Felix Galimir, and Shirley Givens. She teaches at Mannes College the New School for Music.