From Beethoven to Bartok: New York Duo to Release CD and Perform Benefit Concert

New York City-based duo, violinist Akiko Kobayashi and pianist Eric Siepkes will perform a classical chamber music benefit concert at the Saint Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church at 323 South Main Street, in New City, NY, on Sunday, May 20 at 3 pm, to celebrate the release of their debut CD, as well as benefit St. Paul Lutheran Church and Rockland Family Shelter.

The Kobayashi-Siepkes Duo has been noted by audiences for their perfect synchronization, warm and direct communication style, colorful palette, and depth of interpretation. After meeting at an international music festival in 2008, the two decided to form a duo. They started in earnest with a few concerts in New York City in 2009. Since then, they have gained a devoted following in the Northeast, frequently performing in major cities including Boston, New York, and Pittsburgh, and culminating in an upcoming release of a debut CD featuring works by Prokofiev, Mozart, Beethoven and Debussy. The coming season’s highlights include a debut appearance in Chicago and a project to perform the complete Beethoven Violin & Piano Sonatas. The duo will also be performing in October of 2012 at the New City Public Library.

Their program at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church will feature a multi-national program chronicling music from a wide range of periods: starting with Mozart and Beethoven, two strikingly different representatives of the First Viennese School of composition; continuing with Schumann, a dreamer plagued by mental instability, weaving fanciful daydreams in his Fantasiestücke, a set of three pieces representative of high Romanticism; and ending with energetic folk dances by Bartok. As researcher and collector of folk melodies in his native Hungary, Bartok compiled and transcribed these peasant melodies into a more classical format, creating an earthy and rich sound world.

Violinist Akiko Kobayashi, praised by the jury at the IBLA Grand Prize Competition for her “remarkably precise and honest playing, with no artificial effects,” has appeared as a soloist with the Tokyo Suginami Kokaido Chamber Orchestra, Yonkers Philharmonic Orchestra and Interharmony International Festival Orchestra. Past recital venues include Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall sponsored by the MTNA; New York’s Steinway Hall; the Gala Chamber Music Concert at the Nyack Academy of Music Summer Festival where she collaborated with some of the founding members of the American String Quartet; and Bach-Archiv in Leipzig, Germany.

Eric Siepkes’ recital appearances include the Baruch Center of Performing Arts and Carnegie Hall in New York and the Allegheny Riverstone Center for the Arts in Pennsylvania. He has performed in master classes for Richard Goode, Angela Hewitt, Natalya Antonova, and in chamber music master classes for London Baroque, the Avalon String Quartet, and the Eroica Trio.

The concert is free and open to the public, with a suggested donation of $10. For more information about the concert or to learn more about the Kobayashi-Siepkes Duo, visit www.akikokobayashi.net, or contact Akiko Kobayashi at akiko@akikokobayashi.net or 914.434.0573.