Turning up the heat on 'Dueling Pianos'

2014-03-13T00:00:00Z Turning up the heat on 'Dueling Pianos'Eloise Marie Valadez Eloise.Valadez@nwi.com nwitimes.com
March 13, 2014 12:00 am  • 

A blend of dynamic, graceful and engaging compositions will take center stage when Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra presents its latest show.

Music director and conductor Kirk Muspratt leads the symphony in a "Dueling Pianos" show Friday at The Auditorium at Bethel Church in Crown Point.

"This is a great concert for families and children," Muspratt said. He added the excitement of having two pianos "face to face' on stage in a type of battling play, in a sense, is fascinating for audience members to see.

"And we have piano cams that focus in on the hands at the keyboard throughout the show," he explained. The piano cams make it much more dramatic to watch the musician's feats up close.

"If anyone happens to be studying the piano (taking lessons), they'll really enjoy this show," Muspratt said.

Special guests performing with the symphony will be pianists Marta Aznavoorian and Winston Choi. Steve Robinson of WFMT radio will serve as narrator for the "Carnival of the Animals" piece by Saint-Saens.

Muspratt said "Carnival of the Animals" is an engaging work and it's  filled with humor. Also on the concert bill are performances of  Poulenc's "Concerto for Two Pianos" and Brahms' "4th Symphony."

Since it is St. Patrick's Day weekend, Muspratt promises some "Irish encores" at the show.

About the evening's special guests, Muspratt said he's looking forward to presenting the three talents on stage with the orchestra.

"We're very lucky to have them," he said, noting the pianists are well known on the touring circuit and Robinson's distinct and "gorgeous" speaking voice will be perfect for narrating Saint-Saens' work.

Muspratt plans to present a pre-concert discussion as he does for other shows. "And the soloists always show up for the pre-concert lectures," he said.

The talks are well-attended as are the maestro's "Cookies with Kirk" gatherings after the show. He promises "the artists will be there after the show to greet everyone."

Muspratt said the concert is sure to be a fun experience for audience members. And he's looking forward to saluting St. Paddy's Day with  special surprises as well.

"We're expecting this concert to sell out," he said. The concert is sponsored by The Crown Point Community Foundation and The Giragos Family.

FYI: The Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra will present "Dueling Pianos" at 7:30 p.m. Friday at The Auditorium at Bethel Church, on Broadway, south of U.S. 30, Crown Point. Pre-concert talk begins at 6:15 p.m. Tickets range from $25 to $65, with student tickets priced at $10. Call (219) 836-0525, ext. 200 or visit nisorchestra.org

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