14th annual Duo Piano Gala Saturday at Tuckerman Hall

  •   After a 3-year hiatus due to COVID-19, the Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra's annual Duo Piano Gala will be presented on Saturday, October 29, 2022 at 7:30 PM at Worcester's Tuckerman Hall. Marking its 14th year, this fall's keyboard celebration will feature nine pianists including renowned husband and wife duo Randall Hodgkinson and Leslie Amper. Other pianists are Gillian Berkowitz, Malcolm Halliday, Kallin Johnson, Sima Kustanovich, Olga Rogach, Myron Romanul and Ian Watson. Presented will be music for two pianos written by some of the most celebrated classical and jazz composers performed in combinations of two, four, six, and even nine pianists! The artists will be playing on MSO's renowned Steinway grand pianos.

      Repertoire for this concert includes Mozart's Overture to the Marriage of Figaro, as arranged by Czerny; an arrangement of the third movement of Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 6; Amy Beach's Peasant Dance from Suite for Two Pianos on Old Irish Melodies; Mendelssohn's Allegro Brilliante; an arrangement of Beethoven's Egmont Overture; Schubert's An Die Musik; and an arrangement of Chabrier's Espagna. Additional works include Moskovsky's Spanish Dance; Concertino by Shostakovich; Spanish Dance from Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake as arranged by Debussy; Gershwin's Porgy and Bess as arranged by Grainger; a jazz arrangement of music from The Wizard of Oz; and a medley of composer Henry Mancini tunes for nine pianists as arranged by Myron Romanul. Corporate sponsor of this concert is Reliant Medical Group.

      Commenting on this year's performance, MSO Executive Director Paul Levenson said "we're glad to be back presenting this highly popular concert, as it combines many strengths of this organization: all of the pianists have local ties and are among the most accomplished in this area. Tuckerman Hall's intimacy as well as its superb acoustics allows us to spotlight our terrific pianos and pianists in the best way possible. We're especially thrilled to have Randy Hodgkinson and Leslie Amper this year who round out our stellar cast of first rate pianists. This concert has become such a favorite of audiences who sense the joy of all of the pianists in this unique setting devoted to an exploration of such diverse piano repertoire."

      Leslie Amper is on the piano faculty at Longy School of Music at Bard College, the New England Conservatory, and Wheaton College. She has appeared as a soloist with the Boston Pops, Pittsburgh Symphony, and at the Aspen and Monadnock Music Festivals, among others. She holds Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the New England Conservatory.

      Gillian Berkowitz is one of the most in-demand pianists in New York City with extended run performances in over 40 Broadway shows including A Bronx Tale, Billy Elliot, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Jersey Boys, Mamma Mia, and Wicked. An adjunct faculty member at Pace University, she has appeared in such iconic Manhattan venues as The Rainbow Room, 54 Below, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Town Hall, Birdland, Merkin Hall, and City Winery.

      Malcolm Halliday is the Artistic Director of Chorale San Miguel in Guanajuato state, Mexico.  Formerly Artistic Director of the Master Singers of Worcester and formerly Minister of Music at First Congregational Church in Shrewsbury, he holds a B.A. degree in piano performance from Oberlin Conservatory and a Master of Music degree from Boston University.

      Randall Hodgkinson has appeared as a piano soloist with the Atlanta Symphony, Boston Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, and the Philadelphia Orchestra, among others. He is on the piano faculty at the New England Conservatory, Longy School of Music at Bard College, and Wellesley College. He holds B.M., M.M., and an artist diploma from the New England Conservatory. He has appeared with Leonard Bernstein at Tanglewood, and as a chamber musician, he frequently appears as a member of the Boston Chamber Music Society and the Worcester Chamber Music Society.

      Kallin Johnson is Director of Music at Worcester's Notre Dame Academy and is principal pianist with the Massachusetts Symphony. One of the most active pianists in Central Massachusetts, he is a graduate of the New England Conservatory.

      Sima Kustanovich is on the piano faculty of Clark University and Walnut Hill School for the Performing Arts. She holds a Master's in Music from the St. Petersburg Conservatory, and was a past recipient of the Worcester Telegram and Gazette's Visions Cultural Enrichment Award.

      Olga Rogach is Music Director of the First Parish Church of Northboro, and piano accompanist for Greater Worcester Opera. She teaches piano privately in the Worcester area and also at WPI. She holds a Master's of Music degree from the St. Petersburg Conservatory.

      Myron Romanul is Principal Conductor of the Massachusetts Symphony. He was the original pianist of the New England Conservatory Ragtime Ensemble which won a Grammy Award in 1971 for Best Classical Chamber Music. He served as touring pianist of the Boston Pops under Arthur Fiedler for over 10 years. He is First Kapellmeister of the State Theatre in Munich Germany and directs the Bayern State Opera and Ballet. He holds degrees from Boston University School of Music and the New England Conservatory.

      Ian Watson is Associate Conductor of Boston's Handel and Haydn Society.  He has appeared as piano soloist with the London Symphony, English Chamber Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, among others. Appearing on numerous film soundtracks including Amadeus and Mr. Holland's Opus, he is the holder of a Recital Diploma from the Royal Academy of Music in London.

      Tickets (balcony or floor) to this year's Duo Piano Gala are $30 each and can be obtained by visiting MSO's web site at http://masymphony.org/mso/Concerts.html or by calling (508) 754-1234.