Stephanie & Saar
Praised by The New York Times for their "beautifully understated playing," pianists Stephanie Ho and Saar Ahuvia regularly collaborate as DUO STEPHANIE & SAAR in performances of both two-piano and four-hand repertoire, spanning the centuries from the Baroque era to the music of our own time.
Recent seasons have included the Duo’s performances in New York City, among them The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the cutting-edge (le) poisson rouge, the Cornelia Street Café, the Cervantes Institute and Queens College’s LeFrak Concert Hall. They have also been presented by Chicago’s Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series, Washington, DC’s Friends of Music at Dumbarton Oaks, Maryland’s Gordon Center for Performing Arts, New Jersey’s Kean University and Texas Wesleyan University. In Miami, the Duo has given a special concert for the Murray Dranoff International Two Piano Foundation and appeared with the New World Symphony Percussion Consort. The artists have also been guest soloists with Switzerland’s Regensdorf Chamber Orchestra and the Czech Republic’s Pilsen Radio Symphony Orchestra. They take special pride in a recital performed at the residence of the United States Ambassador in Berlin, Germany.
A keen interest in programming innovative and thought-provoking repertoire has led DUO Stephanie & Saar to explore a wide range of compositions from Guillame de Machaut to György Kurtág and Messiaen’s monumental Visions de l’Amen, as well as their own four-hand transcription of A Time for Love by jazz pianist Bill Evans. Deeply committed to new music, the Duo has premiered works by Martin Bejerano, Philippe Bodin, Matt van Brink, Hywel Davies, Jay Anthony Gach, Paul Hefner, Henry Martin, Dana Richardson and Andrew Rudin. As recipients of New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs Performing Arts Grant, the Duo presented "Sounds of New York," a concert devoted to New York composers at Queens College. A grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts was key in presenting a special concert celebrating George Crumb’s 80th birthday at New York City’s (le) poisson rouge. Collaboration with actors has led to Intimate Letters, music and correspondence readings of Leoš Janá ek, and A Life in Letters, music and readings exploring the intricate relationship between Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms.
DUO Stephanie & Saar has been heard in live broadcasts on Chicago’s WFMT-FM, New York City’s WNYC and WQXR, Washington, DC’s WETA and Baltimore’s WBJC. On CD, the artists have two albums released on New Focus Recordings: "Bach Crossings," transcriptions for Piano Four Hands by György Kurtág, Franz Xaver Gleichauf and Max Reger, and "Beethoven Dialogues," rarely heard transcriptions of three early string quartets for Piano Four Hands by Hugo Ulrich and Robert Wittmann.
While pursuing graduate studies at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, Stephanie Ho and Saar Ahuvia were inspired by Leon Fleisher to explore the Beethoven string quartets in a duo piano setting. Mr. Fleisher’s mentorship was furthered by support from Julian Martin and Boris Slutsky, faculty members of The Juilliard School and Peabody Institute, respectively. Two Performing Artist Residencies at Canada’s Banff Centre in 2005 and 2006 helped solidify their creative partnership. Saar Ahuvia, a native of Israel, studied at the Tel Aviv Academy and Switzerland’s Schaufhausen Conservatory before coming to the United States to pursue a Graduate Performance Diploma with Leon Fleisher at the Peabody Institute. Stephanie Ho, of Taiwanese descent, grew up in Portland, Oregon before earning degrees from Oberlin College and Northwestern University. She received a Graduate Performance Diploma from the Peabody Institute, under the direction of Julian Martin. Stephanie and Saar, who are married to each other, reside in New York City.
June 18, 2015
Recital: Festival Sampler
Short selections by the guest artists, Festival staff and volunteers