Piano Dialogue with Naughton Sisters at Jax Symphony

October 20, 2015 3 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

The uncannily talented sister duet of Christina and Michelle Naughton will bring their stellar musicianship, technical mastery and awe-inspiring artistry to the Jacksonville Symphony this weekend. They are performing under guest conductor Vladimir Kulenovic for Piano Dialogue. See this incredible show and join us for more details after the jump

About the Naughton Sisters

Christina and Michelle Naughton were born in Princeton, New Jersey, to parents of European and Chinese ancestry. Raised in Madison, Wisconsin, they began taking piano lessons from their mother at the age of four. Although the sisters initially practiced and performed individually, a concert presenter's request that they perform together as a duo when they were 18 highlighted their remarkable talent and marked the beginning of a preference for making music together.

The Naughtons' professional career was launched in 2010 with debuts at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, and the Mann Center for Performing Arts with the Philadelphia Orchestra, after which The Philadelphia Inquirer described them as "paired to perfection". In 2011, they performed in Munich's Herkulessaal and began to establish their reputation outside of the United States.

Subsequently the Naughtons performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Houston Symphony, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Nashville Symphony, the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, the Royal Flemish Philharmonic, and the Solistes Européens Luxembourg, under conductors including Stéphane Denève, Edo de Waart, Charles Dutoit, JoAnn Falletta, Giancarlo Guerrero, Andrés Orozco-Estrada and Michael Stern.

The sisters' recital appearances have included the Schubert Club of St. Paul, the Naumburg Bandshell in New York's Central Park, Chamber Music San Francisco, the Houston Society for the Performing Arts, the Chamber Music Society of Detroit, Munich's Gasteig, the Berlin Philharmonie's Kammermusiksaal, France's Festival de La Roque d'Anthéron, Zurich's Tonhalle, and Prague's Strings of Autumn Festival.

The sisters were trained at the Curtis Institute of Music and at the Juilliard School. They earned bachelor's degrees in solo piano performance in 2011 at Curtis, where they both received the Festorazzi Prize.  They earned master's degrees from Juilliard in 2013. Pianist Joseph Kalichstein taught the sisters at Juilliard and remarked, "When they play together, they seem to have one mind and one body—it's extraordinary—like one person with two hands playing."

This concert features

Shostakovich’s Festive Overture, Op. 96,

Shostakovich wrote the Festive Overture in three days in 1954, answering a desperate plea from the Bolshoi to supply a new overturn to celebrate the Russian October Revolution.

Mozart’s Concerto for Two Pianos in E-flat major, K. 365

This is Mozart’s only concerto for two pianos and was most likely composed with his sister, Nannerl, not long before his final departure from Salzburg in 1781. The pianos are equal partners and dominate the exchange and development of musical ideas. It’s the perfect piece for the talented Naughton sisters who have said “There are times we forget we are two people playing together.”

Stravinsky’s Petrushka

Stravinsky worked on Petrushka before his Firebird came to life. It’s about a puppet come-to-life and is based on the story of Punch (British version) and Pulcinella (Italian version). The setting is the 1830’s at a Shrovetide Fair. Listen for Russian folk songs mixed throughout the piece.

Christina & Michelle Naughton - Mozart 2009
Guest conductor Vladimir Kulenovic has just completed a successful first season as Music Director for the Lake Forest Symphony (IL) and is a 2015 recipient of the Sir George Solti Conducting Award.

Concerts are Thursday, October 22 at 7:30pm, Friday, October 23 at 8pm and Saturday, October 24 at 8pm
Performances are held in Jacoby Symphony Hall at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts at 300 Water St.
                                Tickets are available at jaxsymphony.org, by calling the ticket office at 904-354-5547 or
visiting the ticket office in the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts (open Monday through Friday 10am to 4pm). Under18 FREE tickets are available for all these performances.