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Quills: Piano duo luminaries play here Friday

The Tutunov Piano Series will present Sergio Marchegiani and Marco Schiavo at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 23, at the Southern Oregon University Music Recital Hall at the Oregon Center for the Arts. The program will feature Mozart’s “Piano Sonata in C Major (K521)” — a popular piano piece for four hands composed by the Austrian in 1787. This will be followed by Franz Schubert’s “Fantasy in F minor Op. 103 D. 940,” also for four-handed piano. After intermission, the program will continue with work of German composer Johannes Brahms, specifically his “Hungarian Dances 1-10” of 1869.

Dr. Tutunov has been dazzling regional audiences with his programming and choice of musicians since he began the series in 2013. It has brought here some of the most worthy talents on the international piano performance circuit. These have included such luminaries as Alon Goldstein, Nikita Fitenko and Katerina Zaitseva, and Andrey Ponochevny.

Says Tutunov, “I meet artists, some less known than others, on my international concert travels (and) tours ... (thereby) letting my patrons experience, first hand, the difference between the piano tradition of French piano school versus (the) German, Polish, Russian, Chinese and so on.”

Messrs. Marchegiani and Schiavo are no exception — both artists feature a strong international concert pedigree.

Born in Italy, Mr. Marchegiani commenced his piano studies at the age of 6 and performed his first solo recital at 10, going on to win numerous prizes in national and international piano competitions. He then began an intense concert schedule that has continued to this day.

In 2013, the Amadeus label released his double CD of Chopin’s Complete Nocturnes. He has recorded for important national television and radio programs in Italy (RAI Radio 3), France, Czech Republic, Germany, Russia, Mexico and Hong Kong, and — in addition to his work with Mr. Schiavo — is also a renowned chamber musician.

Mr. Schiavo was born in 1973 in Casal Velino, a small seaside town in the province of Salerno in southwestern Italy. He was sent at a very early age by his parents to study classical piano. He later continued his studies at the Avellino Music Conservatory in Campania, where he graduated magna cum laude. He has performed and recorded numerously with the Russian Symphony Orchestra as a solo artist and has recorded as a soloist on the KNS Classical label.

As a pair and individually, Marchegiani and Schiavo have studied under Ilonka Deckers Küszler, Alexander Lonquich, Bruno Canino, Franco Scala, Aldo Ciccolini and Sergei Dorenski. They have played together around the globe with pre-eminent orchestras, including the Berliner Symphoniker, Budapest Symphony Orchestra, New York Symphonic Orchestra, Mexico State Symphony Orchestra, Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra, Madrid Chamber Orchestra and Azerbaijan State Symphony Orchestra.

The pair have been playing together since 2006, with concerts at venues as diverse as Carnegie Hall in New York and Sala Verdi in Milan. They publish their music — of which Schubert is a specialty — under the Decca recording label, and have been described by as playing with “with a lively and easy immediacy, whilst giving a strong sense of clarity to Schubert” by London-based critic Robert Hugill, and as “forthright and clear-eyed” in execution by New York conductor Stephen Francis Vasta.

Tickets to the performance are available at oca.sou.edu/events/category/tutunov-piano-series or by calling the OCA box office at 541-552-6348.

— Ashland resident Jeffrey Gillespie is a Tidings columnist, arts reviewer and freelance writer. Email him at gillespie.jeffrey@gmail.com.