The unique amber sound of the Orchestra has originated in a unique place at the Baltic Sea – in Liepāja.

Piano Music Opens the International Stars Festival

The 24th Liepāja International Stars Festival, which is carrying on the tradition of the annual International Piano Stars Festival, will open on 5 March in Liepāja Concert Hall “GREAT AMBER”. The opening concert will feature Liepāja Symphony Orchestra together with one of the world’s leading piano duos “Duo Amal” − Yaron Kohlberg from Israel and Bishara Haroni from Palestine, as well as pianist and conductor Matthias Manasi from Germany.

It will be an unusual event –in the first part of the concert the German pianist and conductor Matthias Manasi will be playing the piano and at the same time conducting the orchestra performing the rarely played Ludwig van Beethoven’s piano concerto No.0 written by the composer at the age of 14. “Most German conductors as a result of music education process in Germany are also excellent pianists. Matthias Manasi is one of them,” says the principal conductor and artistic director of the festival Atvars Lakstīgala. While being a widely demanded conductor, Manasi has won international acclaim also as a pianist. He has conducted orchestras in 30 countries and given concerts in prestigious opera houses. From 2010−2013, as a Music Director he successfully ran the International Punta Classic Festival in Montevideo in Uruguay and the orchestra Camerata Italiana.

In the second half of the concert the piano duo “Duo Amal” will treat the audience to the most popular and most performed pieces of the genre. One of them will be Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.10 for two pianos. The concerto is ingenious in its unity and inseparability. Even an uneducated listener is able to tell that there are too many notes for a single piano; however, without visual confirmation it is almost impossible to discern the solo parts of both pianists. The second piece will be Francis Poulenc’s Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra. When asked about the programme the duo is going to perform, pianist Yaron Kohlberg says: “It is Mozart at his best in a very classical and enjoyable concerto and Poulenc’s energy, imagination, colours, technique and marvellous melodies.”

The title of the piano duo “Duo Amal” means “hope” in Arabic. They are two outstanding musicians who extensively perform also as solo pianists − Yaron Kohlberg from Israel and Bishara Haroni from Palestine. Presently they form one of the best piano duos in the world and are protégés of the well-known conductor Zubin Mehta. The Maestro describes them: “Two excellent pianists. This is not only a wonderful sign of friendship but certainly a musical collaboration to enjoy.” The duo is represented by CAMI Agency in New York which is working with such well-known superstars of piano performance as Lang Lang and Maurizio Pollini. “Duo Amal” is invited to give concerts at the most prestigious concert halls in Europe, Asia and Far East. The performances of the duo have been highly acclaimed in world media. The Sydney Herald called their performance “thrilling”, newspaper Haaretz –“absolute explosion” and in the Classical Music Network the duo was characterized as “a striking young piano team”.

“Yaron Kohlberg was one of the first musicians whom we invited to participate in Liepāja International Stars Festival this year. We developed an excellent collaboration during our concert tour in China from December 2014 to January 2015. His performance was so inspiring. He can play the same piano concerto numerous times and each time it is different and surprising,” remembers Atvars Lakstīgala.

It will also be possible to enjoy “Duo Amal” in their solo programme ““Solo for Piano Four-Hands” at the 24th International Stars Festival concert on 6 March at 6 pm at Liepāja Concert Hall “GREAT AMBER”.