Preview: Music Institute of Chicago to Host 34th Duo Piano Festival

The 34th installment of the Music Institute of Chicago’s Duo Piano Festival will take place in person at Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston. Starting this Friday evening, July 8, and running through Sunday, July 17, the festival has concerts and master classes at Nichols.

The activities start on Friday when festival founders and Artistic Directors Claire Aebersold and Ralph Neiweem offer Duo Piano Dialogue, “Johannes Brahms, Clara Schumann, and the story of Brahms's Piano Concerto No. 1.”  The concert will include commentary and will start with duos for solo piano, four hands, by Clara and Robert Schumann.

The chestnut on Friday’s program is an arrangement for one piano, four hands, of Brahms’s first piano concerto, in d-minor, op. 15. As he was composing the work, Brahms sent a two-piano version to the Schumanns. At the request of his publisher, he later recast it as a duo for one piano, which is the version on tap Friday night.

MIC faculty members will be performing two concerts. The first, Tuesday, July 12, will include music by Mozart, Schubert, Surace, and Diemer. The second will be next Friday, July 15, with a program that includes Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, and Schubert.

That weekend, the Unison Piano Duo of Du Huang and Xiao Hu will offer a masterclass on Saturday, July 16. The festival ends with a student recital on Sunday, July 17.

All events at the Chicago Duo Piano Festival are free and take place at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave, Evanston. For program information and concert times, click here.

Nichols Concert Hall currently requires all attendees to wear masks and provide proof of COVID-19 vaccine. This is subject to change. Click here for the latest COVID-19 protocols.  

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Louis Harris

A lover of music his whole life, Louis Harris has written extensively from the early days of punk and alternative rock. More recently he has focused on classical music, especially chamber ensembles. He has reviewed concerts, festivals, and recordings and has interviewed composers and performers. He has paid special attention to Chicago’s rich and robust contemporary art music scene. He occasionally writes poetry and has a published novel to his credit, 32 Variations on a Theme by Basil II in the Key of Washington, DC. He now lives on the north side of Chicago, which he considers to be the greatest city in the country, if not the world. Member of the Music Critics Association of North America.