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Women as Duopianists

Duos begun [1900-1920's] [1930's-1940's] [1950's-1960's] [1970's-1980's] [1990's]

Women pianists as members of an established piano duo, performing at the national/international level and/or recording artists. This list is roughly chronological, based upon the time the duo was formed, beginning with the early 1900's and continuing down to today.

Duos begun 1900-1920's

Rosina (b. Kiev, Mar, 28, 1880; d. Glendale, Calif., Nov. 9, 1976)
and Josef Lhevinne (b. Moscow, Dec. 13, 1874; d. New York, Dec. 2, 1944)
    Married in 1908, after Rosina's graduation from the Moscow Conservatory, Josef had an active solo carer throughout Europe, and Rosina made performances in 1910-1912. He made his U.S. debut in 1906 and in 1919 they moved to New York where they established a music studio. Josef began teaching at Julliard in 1922 and she later joined him there. Early on they performed together occasionally, but by the 1930's they included two-piano music in most of his performances. Their biography is A Century of Music-Making by Robert Wallace (1976).
Ethel Bartlett (b. London, June 6, 1896; d. Los Angeles, April 17, 1978)
and Rae Robertson (b. Inverness, Scotland, Nov. 29, 1893; d. Los Angeles, Nov. 4, 1956)
    This couple toured extensively in Europe and North and South America as a two-piano duo from 1928 to his death. They also taught at the Matthay School of Music and arranged and published two-piano music. A number of composers wrote two piano music for them. They are credited with beginning the popularity of the piano duo team.
Gaby (b. Marseilles, Aug 9, 1901; d. Paris, Nov. 12, 1999)
and Robert Casadesus (b. Paris, April 7, 1899; d. Paris, Sept. 19, 1972)
    Both were students at the Paris Conservatory. They married in 1921 and each were famous as soloists, as well as piano duo partners. He is credited with over 3,000 concerts and later in life spent more time composing. They taught at the American Conservatory in Fontaineleau, which he later directed. She edited works by Ravel and Debussy, wrote a book on piano technique and her memoirs.

Duos begun 1930's-1940's

Genia Nemenoff (b. Paris, Oct. 23, 1905; d. N.Y., Sept. 19, 1989)
and Pierre Luboshutz (b. Odessa, June 17, 1891; d. Maine, April 17, 1971)
    Pierre studied in Moscow and Paris, played in a trio with his sisters in Russia, and in 1926 went to the U.S. as an accompanist to several violinists. Married in 1931, they formed a piano duo in 1937 and toured with much success. 1962-1968 they taught at Michigan State University, then returned to New York.
Vitya Vronsky (b. Russia, Aug. 22, 1909; d. Cleveland, OH, June 28, 1992)
and Victor Babin (b. Moscow, Dec. 13, 1908; d. Cleveland, OH, March 1, 1972)
    These Russian students met while studying in Berlin with Artur Schnabel. Married in 1933 they soon began touring internationally as a duo, making thier highly successful tour of the U.S. in 1937. Later they taught at the Cleveland Inst. of Music, where he was a director from 1961 to his death. They made many recordings of most of the duet/duo literature, including the many works written specifically for them. He was also a composer.
Phyllis Sellick (b. England, June 16, 1911; d. May 26, 2007)
and Cyril Smith (b. England, Aug. 11, 1909; d. London, Aug. 2, 1974)
    Married in 1937 these individual soloists began performing together in 1941, making many international tours and recordings as a duo, along with solo recordings. He suffered a stroke in 1956 and lost the use of his left arm, but they went on to perform three-handed music which they arranged and had composer friends write for them. They both taught at the Royal College of Music and he wrote a memoir: Duet for Three Hands (Angus & Robertson, 1958).
Helen (b. New York, July 22, 1911; d. Lake Como, Italy, Sept. 29, 1974)
and Karl Ulrich Schnabel (b. Berlin, Aug. 6, 1909; d. Aug. 27, 2001)
    Throughout the 1930's Karl Ulrich performed extensively as a soloist. In 1938 he joined the faculty of the Dalcroze School of Music in New York City, where he met Helen. Upon their marriage in 1939 he performed more freqently as a duo with his wife. From 1947 on he gave yearly international summer master courses at Lake Como, Italy.
Lillian (b. Ohio, Mar. 13, 1912; d. 1999) and Irwin Freundlich
    She was a student at Julliard of Siloti, the Lhevinnes and Steurmann and gave her New York debut in 1941. For many years they performed in the U.S. and European both in solo and duo performances. She taught many years at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. He was on the faculty of the Julliard Conservatory and was co-author of the important book: Music for the Piano.
Constance Keene (b. NY, Feb. 9, 1923; d. Dec. 24, 2005)
and Abram Chasins (b. New York, Aug. 17, 1903; d. New York, June 21, 1987)
    Abram Chasins was a renown performer, teacher and composer by the time he married his student, Constance Keene in 1949. She had made her debut as a soloist in 1943. Together they appeared frequently as duo pianists. He is also the author of five books; she is currently in great demand as a teacher at the Manhatten School of Music.

Duos begun 1950's-1960's

Nancy Arganbright (b. Georgetown, Indiana, Mar. 29, 1936)
and Dallas Weekley (b. Sparks, Georgia, USA, May 15, 1933)
    Married in 1957, they toured worldwide as America's premier one-piano, four-hand team from 1960-2000. Together they taught for 28 years at the University of Wisconsin at LaCrosse. They have contributed greatly to the duet piano literature as editors of major works and an educational duet series, as well as writing transcriptions and original works. In 1990 their book, Schubert's music for four hands, was published.
Bracha Eden (b. 1928, d. May 22, 2006) and Alexander Tamir
    Senior professors at the Jerusalem Rubin Academy of Music, Bracha Eden and Alexander Tamir celebrated over 40 years on the concert platform. Their reputation for expanding the duo piano repertoire is represented during annual tours to the Far East, Europe and the United States. They were responsible for introducing Lutoslawski's Paganini Variations to audiences outside Europe and, at the suggestion of Igor Stravinsky, were the first to record "The Rite of Spring" for two pianos. They were awarded the Grand Prix du Disque for their interpretation of the Brahms Sonata in F minor and, when the BBC discovered Brahms' own transcription for the four symphonies, they were invited to record them. To celebrate Brahms' 150th Anniversary, BBC television produced "Four Hands Play Brahms", featuring the duo.
Lyubov Bruk (b. 1920's; d. 1996) and Mark Taimanov (b. 1925)
    These are the only duo pianists in the Phillips series "Great Pianists of the 20th Century" (volume 15), and many say that this album is one of the highlights of this entire series. They met in the Leningrad Conservatory, married at 19 years old, and performed extensively as a duo throughout Eastern Europe. The recording is when the duo were at their height between 1959 and 1968. They separated in the 1970's, some say due to the enormous pressures placed upon Taimanov, a salaried Russian chess master, who lost to Bobby Fischer shortly before Fischer took the world crown from the Soviets in 1972 . 2002 interview with Mark Taimanov by Chessbase.com.
Janine Reding and Henry Piette (d. 1987)
    This couple performed and recorded extensively before Henry's death. They gave many world premiers, including two piano concertos by Bartok (2nd version), Martinu (in Europe) and Poulenc. After the decease of Henry Piette, Janine Reding created the Reding-Piette international competition to promote young piano teams and pass on her experience to them. She also wrote their biography: 2 pianos, une vocation, published in 1992.
Jean and Kenneth Wentworth
    For over five decades the one-piano, four-hand team of Jean and Kenneth Wentworth have performed in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East, and India and recorded a wide variety of four-hand repertoire. Jean Wentworth is on the faculty of Sarah Lawrence College.
Isabel Beyer and Harvey Dagul
    Based in England, this piano duet couple have been performing together since 1951. Their appearances have included performances, lectures and masterclasses in Austria, Belgium. France, Germany, Japan, Malta, Hungary, U.S.A. and the U.K. They have also served on juries for national and international piano duo competitions.
Allison Nelson and Harry Neal
    This Austrialian-American duo piano couple performing throughout the U.S. in the 1950's and 1960's. They went on to teach at the Univ. of Tennessee at Martin, where Allison is professor emeritus in piano. They wrote piano series for their children, and a fascinating (an very enjoyable) book of their years on the road as traveling performers: Wave As You Pass by Harry Neal, 1958.
Yaltah Menuhin (b. San Francisco, October 7, 1921; d. June 9, 2001) and Joel Ryce
    While studying in London with Dame Myra Hess in 1959, Joel Ryce was introduced to Yaltah Menuhin, who had come to play in the Bath Festival. One year later they decided to form a Duo, and were married in 1961. Yaltah and Joel were blissfully married for almost forty years. Their joint appearances included evenings of solo and double concerto's, recitals of solo's, duets and works for two piano's, and television appearances in New York, Paris and Geneva. In 1962, the duo won the Harriet Cohen International Music Award for their London debut, in a programme largely devoted to works by Schubert for four hands. Their annual tours in America and Europe included many charity performances, for such organisations as the Swiss Technical Overseas Relief, for mental hospitals, needy infants in Germany, the World Day of Peace at the Swiss National Exposition and for the opening of the United Nations Week in London. They recorded the entire duet repertoire of Mozart in America for Everest Recordings, the first time this was done by one team of artists. (contributed by Iain Phillips)
Heidi (b. Santa Monica, CA, 1930's) and Alfred Kanwischer
    Established in 1964, this couple performed in the U.S. and Europe in the late 1960's and the 1970's, as well as Japan in 1985. Returning to Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, in the 90’s, the duo received highest praise from the New York Times. Radio and TV credits include the BBC, London, WGBH, Boston, and WQXR, New York. The Kanwischers have recorded for the Orion label.

Catherine and Anthony Angelo

    This couple is based in San Francisco and have performed as a duo from 1968 to present. Their programs feature well-known twentieth century composers and several living American, Australian, and Russian composers.
Cipa (b. Brazil, May 20, 1944) and Mischa Dichter (b. Shanghai, Sept. 27, 1945)
    Mischa has had an illustrious international career for over forty years as a soloist, chamber musician and recording artist. Married in 1968, Cipa appeared in duo concerts with Mischa several years later. Today their duo performances consist of about twenty percent of Mischa's total yearly performances. Read an indepth article from December 2000, and an interview with Cipa.
Nora Novik and Raffi Kharajanyan
    Based in Riga, Latvia, this couple teaches at Riga Music Academy. They both studied at St. Peterburg conservatoire and have perform as a duo from 1968 to present. They are credited with over 1,000 recitals and 15 recordings. The repertoire list on their website is extensive.

Duos begun 1970's-1980's

Katia (b. Hendaye, France, Mar. 3, 1950)
and Marielle Labeque (b. Hendaye, France, Mar. 6, 1952)
    Currently considered the super-stars of duopianism these sisters perform an extensive repertoire with the leading orchestras and as recitalists in the major cities worldwide. Weeks out of the Paris Conservatory they recorded Messien's "Visions de l´Amen", under his guidance,and they gained instant attention. Their first recording with Philips, Gershwin´s ´Rhapsody in Blue´, received a Gold Disc immediately after its release. Since then Katia and Marielle Labèque have made numerous recordings for Philips, Sony and EMI. Katia also has her own jazz band.
Wyneke Jordans and Leo van Doeselaar
    Highly acclaimed Dutch musicians, Wyneke and Leo have been a duo since 1977 and appear regularly with orchestras and in recital throughout Europe and the USA. For many years they taught at the faculty of the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. Currently Leo van Doeselaar is professor of organ at Berlin's Hochschule der Künste. The duo also specializes in historical performance on the fortepiano, focusing particularly on the literature of the First Viennese School.
Yaara Tal (b. Israel, Feb. 27, 1955) and Andreas Groethuysen
    The Israeli pianist Yaara Tal and her German partner Andreas Groethuysen formed their duo in 1985. One of the most notable duo teams today, this couple also has an impressive amount of recordings to their credit. Read an interview with them at www.mvdaily.com.
Elena Sorokina and Alexander Bakhchiev
    Graduates, and now on the faculty of the Moscow Conservatory, this couple has performed together for over 30 years. Early in their career they performed more than a hundred works on the Russian TV program "Chamber Evenings", and they also have appeared on many radio programs. More recently they have appeared internationally in recitals and on juries. Elena currently holds the chair of the History of Russian Music at the Moscow Conservatory, where he teaches chamber music performance.
Peggy Salkind and Milton Salkind (1916-1998)
    The Milton and Peggy Salkind duo performed for over 27 years. Currently Peggy is chair of the keyboard division of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. A highly skilled administrator, Milton developed the San Francisco Conservatory to its current status.
Taeko Kuwata (b. Tokyo, 1945; d. Brussels, July 14, 1994)
and Patrick Crommelynck (b. Belgium, 1947?; d. Brussels, July 14, 1994)
    Founded in 1974, the Duo Crommelynck met in Vienna, married, and rapidly gained recognition as one of the leading piano duos of the day. Many composers wrote for them and they made frequent tours and recordings, leaving a shocked music world upon their suicide.
Frances Veri and Michael Jamanis
    This couple met as scholarship students of James Friskin at The Juillard School where they received the Bachelor and Masters degrees. Appearances in Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and Town Hall have included the entire piano repertory of George Gershwin, a rarely-performed and widely acclaimed all-Rachmaninoff program, and numerous premieres including John Corigliano's Gazebo Dances. Currently they teach at the Pennsylvania Academy of Music, which they founded in 1989.
Nadya and Steven Gordon (d.1990)
    A California-based couple who gave frequent U.S. performances in major venues in the late 1970's and 1980's.
Dorothy Jonas and Joshua Pierce
    Established in 1978, this two-piano team has made numberous recordings and international performances. The Pierce/Jonas Duo has performed and recorded all the standard repertoire for two pianos and orchestra as well as introduced and recorded many important twentieth century works.
Maribeth and Bradford Gowen
    Based in Washington, D.C., this couple has been performing together for over 20 years. Receiving great acclaim for their Schubert performances during the bicentenary in 1997, they also enjoy performing rare 20th century works for piano duet and duo piano.
Angela Cheng and Alvin Chow
    On the faculty of the Oberlin Conservatory, this couple began performing duets since their marriage over 15 years ago. Both studied with Sascha Gorodnitzki at the Juilliard School and Menahem Pressler at Indiana University and have notable solo careers. Alvin has also performed duets for years with his twin brother, Alan. Angela is considered one of Canada's premier pianists.
Monika Egri (b. Budapest, 1966) and Attila Pertis (b. Budapest, 1966)
    The Duo Egri and Pertis, formed in the 1980's and married in 1991, won first place in the 1990 International Competition for Piano Duos at Finale Ligure (Italy), and placed in the 1995 11th International Piano Duo Competition in Caltanissetta, Italy. In 1996 they purchased, and now often perform on, a rare Pleyel Double Grand Piano.
Claire and Antoinette Cann (b. England, 1963)
    Twin sisters who studied with Phyllis Sellick at the Royal College of Music. Extensive tours throughout Europe, Canada, USA, New Zealand and the Far East, with frequent appearances in the U.K.
Larissa Dedova and Mikhail Volchok
    Formerly on the faculty of the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory (Larissa) this couple currently teaches at the University of Maryland and are active performers, as soloists and in duo, in the U.S., Europe, and Russia.
Güher and Süher Pekinel (b. Turkey)
    Twin sisters, graduated from Julliard in 1978, they were first discovered by Herbert von Karajan in 1984. Tours throughout Europe, the U.S. and Japan, with busy European performing schedule. Recent recordings.
Margarita and Olga Malinova
    Moscow-born, American-trained, the Malinova Sisters have many recordings to their credit as well as U.S. tours.
Margherita Malagoli (b. Modena, 1964) and Roberto Guerra (b. Modena, 1964)
    Students together at the Vivaldi Conservatory in Novara, their career was launched in 1981 they won: 1982 1st prize "AMA Calabra", 1984 1st prize "Pietro Napoli", Leghorn, 1984 1st prize International Competition "City of Stresa", 1987 2nd prize Albenga Competition, 1988 1st prize "City of Rome" Competition, 1988 1st prize Piano "Kavay" Competition in Como, 1988 1st prize, "Prix Saint-Vincent", 1990 Winners in Rome "Castel S. Angelo" Auditions.
Sandra Shapiro and Thomas Hecht
    Students of Leon Fleisher at Baltimore's Peabody Conservatory in the early 1980's they first performed as a duo in 1983. They won prizes in several major two-piano competitions, including First Prize at the 1991 Ellis National Two-Piano Competition. For over a decade they were one of the most exciting duo teams performing. After their divorce in 1993 they perform together only occasionally. Sandra Shapiro is on the faculty of the Cleveland Institute of Music. Thomas Hecht is at the Singapore Conservatory as well as the Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand, where he is Head of Piano Studies and Artist-In-Residence.
Caroline Clemmow and Anthony Goldstone
    A leading British piano duo formed in 1984 and married in 1989. Besides having extensive solo careers, as a duo their extremely diverse activities in two-piano and duet recitals and double concertos have taken them all over the British Isles as well as to Europe, the Middle East and the U.S.A. Their highly praised commercial recordings include many world premières and in the four years preceding the millennium they issued no less than thirteen CDs. A recent CD included world premières of authentic four-hand versions of Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony and Romeo and Juliet, bringing the total duo CD output to 25.

Susanne (b. 1965) and Dinis Schemann (b. Portugal, 1965)
    This Portuguese-German couple formed the Schemann Duo in 1985. Very active in Germany they are frequently on the radio and have produced several recordings.

Duos begun 1990's

Aglika Genova and Liuben Dimitrov
    Established in 1995, this couple was announced as "The most successful young piano duo of today" by the International Piano Duo Federation. They are winners of all the major piano duo contests, like the Murray Dranoff Two Piano Competition (Miami), the ARD Music Competition (Munich), the Tokyo Two Piano Competition (Japan) and the Bellini Music Competition (Italy). In 2002 they performed at the Opening of the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City (USA). Along with international appearances they also have a busy recording schedule with CPO Classics. WWW.WebConcertHall.com interview with them.
Irina and Julia Elkina
    Graduates of the St. Petersburg Conservatory, these twin sisters won first prize in the 1992 International Duo Piano Competition Citta di Marsala in Italy. After winning a shared first prize at the fourth Murray Dranoff International Two Piano Competition they went on to an active performing career throughout the United States. Julia Elkina is on the faculty of St. Olaf College.
Zdenka (Kolarova) and Martin Hrsel
    As the Prague Piano Duo this couple has had a very active recording and performing career, particularly since taking First Prize in the Fourth Competition for Two Pianos, Rome, 1993. 1996 concert review in English.
Valentina Lisitsa and Alexei Kuznetsoff
    This couple met at Kiev Conservatory and began collaborating in 1990. In 1991, the duo was awarded the first prize in the 3rd International Murray Dranoff Two Piano Competition in Miami. Currently based in the U.S. they are in great demand in performances throughout the world with orchestras and in recitals. Valentina is also very popular as a soloist with major orchestras.
Jennifer Micallef and Glen Inanga
    Based in England, this duo first combined their skills in 1994 and by 1995 they won the International Schubert Piano Duo competition, Czech Republic. Success continued in later years with major prizes at international piano duo competitions – the ARD in Munich and Murray Dranoff in Miami – the Osaka International Chamber Music Competition & Festa, and various other awards. Along with frequent performances they have a busy recording schedule.
Christina and Beatrice Long
    With busy individual careers as soloists, these Taiwanese-born sisters teamed together to place first in the 1997 Ellis Duo Piano Competition sponsored by the National Federation of Music Clubs and have since made two duo recordings and frequently perform together.
Ilia Tosheff (b. Bulgaria, 1976) and Velislava Stoyanova (b. Bulgaria, 1976)
    The Tosheff Piano Duo has performed extensively in Europe, Japan, and the United States. After having completed their studies in Bulgaria and Monaco with Janine Reding, they were officially accepted as one of the first piano duos in Europe, in Germany. Later in 2002, they became the first duo team ever admitted in a university in the United States at the Univ. of Southern California. They have won three First Prizes and two Grand Prix at duo competitions worldwide, and lately recorded at Warner Bros. Los Angeles.
Nicole Narboni and Mark Clinton
    The Clinton/Narboni Duo has won a number of significant prizes, including the 1994 ProPiano New York Recital Competition, the 1995 National Federation of Music Clubs Ellis Duo Piano Competition, and the 1996 Concorso Internazionale Carlo Soliva (four-hand division). They made their New York debut at Carnegie Recital Hall in February 1995 and their European debut in Paris in June 1997. They gave the world premiere performance of Ned Rorem's Six Variations for Two Pianos in Miami in December 1995. They are on the faculty of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Ferhan and Ferzan Önder
    The young turkish twin-sisters Ferhan & Ferzan Önder began playing the piano just at the age of ten and only four years later, they won the "Jury Special Award" at the International Duo Competition in Terni (Italy). After a series of further prizes, Ferhan & Ferzan won the First Prize at the International Piano Duo Competition in Hamburg. Ferhan & Ferzan Önder initially received their solo training at the Hacettepe University in Ankara, then at the Academy of Music in Vienna with Noel Flores and Paul Badura-Skoda. Extensive concert tours have taken the pianists through all of Europe and the Far East. Biography in English, concert review in letters to the editor.
Luis Magalhaes and Nina Schumann
    In the five years since its formation in 1999, the Magalhaes & Schumann Piano Duo has performed the world over. They met at the University of North Texas, where both were students of Vladimir Viardo, the distinguished Russian pianist. In an act that might best be described as providential, less than a year later Mr Magalhaes and Ms Schumann married. While each continues to pursue an active solo career, they are internationally regarded not only for their comprehensive virtuosity, exemplary ensemble and passionate musicality, but for the unusual repertoire they have cultivated. Among their programs are several, which sport a thematic thread. Among these are the complete Beetheoven Symphonies for four hands; the complete two piano music of Rachmaninoff; and several programs that include music for two pianos and percussion.
Valentina Lisitsa & Alexei Kuznetsoff
    Valentina Lisitsa and Alexei Kuznetsoff, the brilliant young Ukrainian piano duo, came to the United States with an impressive list of competition prizes to their credit and are winning critical acclaim as gifted artists making a genuine contribution to the marvelous, but seldom-heard literature for two pianos. They combined their formidable talents and began working as a two piano team, performing extensively throughout the world with orchestras and in recitals.
Per Tengstrand and Shan-shan Sun
    Featured in the New York Times as "Two pianos, four hands but one heart", pianists Per Tengstrand and Shan-shan Sun are gaining in reputation as a duo-piano team. The debut performance of the Tengstrand-Sun Piano Duo took place on October 12, 2003 when they performed Mozart's Two Piano Concerto with the Canton (OH) Symphony under Music Director, Gerhardt Zimmermann. While preparing this work, Tengstrand and Sun found how much they enjoyed playing together in two-piano and four-hand repertoire and the more they looked into the literature, the more obvious it became that this was a path on which they wanted to move forward.
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