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Two pianos, four hands/Pine Mountain Music Festival

Two pianos, four hands set for the Rozs

June 30, 2011
By ZACH KUKKONEN - Features Editor/DMG writer ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

HOUGHTON - A pair of pianos will be put to full use at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts, as Stephanie and Jonathan Shames take the stage with their two piano, four hands concert.

The duo appeared at the Pine Mountain Music Festival in 2004, and return to the PMMF seven years later, much to the delight of festival Executive Director Peter Van Pelt.

"I've been hoping to get them back for some time," Van Pelt said. "They are obviously extremely experienced in that kind of performance; they do it all over the world."

In keeping with the "Rockland" theme of this year's PMMF, the husband-and-wife duo will perform music written around 1906, including pieces by Debussy, Stravinsky, Ravel and six tudes by Schumann.

The Shames duo has been performing for more than 25 years, and also have maintained busy solo schedules as soloists and chamber musicians, according to a press release. Most of their time is spent at the University of Oklahoma, where Stephanie teaches chamber music and Jonathan is artistic director of operas and director of orchestras.

For more information, visit or call 888-309-7681. Tickets are available at the door, through the Rozsa Box Office or by telephone at 498-3200.

Van Pelt is pleased with how the festival is going so far, with a few acts finishing their U.P. tours.

"We've had some wonderful performances," Van Pelt said. "The organ concerts were extremely effective, and (Monday) was the last of the recitals by Esa Ruuttunen. One of our volunteers came in and said it was one of the best musical events she's ever gone to."

The festival is also slowly building to the "Rockland" opera, which makes its New World Premiere July 15. Rehearsals have begun and are awe-inspiring, according to Van Pelt.

"Friday night I went to a rehearsal for the 'Rockland' singers, all the 40 singers were on hand," Van Pelt said. "I meant to just stay for a couple minutes, but ended up staying (for three hours).

"I couldn't drag myself away. The level of vocal preparation was so wonderful for this early in the rehearsal process."



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