Arts & Entertainment

2 pianos, many sounds

A piano's 88 keys can create amazing sounds. But husband and wife Jeffrey Savage and Karen Hsiao Savage want you to go beyond the standard piano performance and imagine the music that two sets of keys can make at once.

They say listening to two pianos being played simultaneously is a powerful experience.

"You can make all kinds of colors and sounds with two," Jeffrey Savage said. "There's that much more possibility, so you can be very orchestral."

The duo call themselves 88² (88 Squared) and will be playing a concert at 8 p.m. Nov. 22 at the Central United Protestant Church, 1124 Stevens Drive, Richland. Their performance is being organized by Camerata Musica, a Tri-City chamber music organization.

Onnie Adams, Camerata's publicity chairwoman, said her music group is lucky to have the couple. They are both piano faculty members at Washington State University's School of Music and placed second at the 2006 Concours Grieg International Competition for Pianists in Oslo, Norway.

"The Savages are phenomenal musicians and come with personalities that add excitement to their performance," she wrote in an e-mail.

The couple first met during orientation at The Julliard School in New York, where they both received master's and doctoral degrees in piano from the prestigious performing arts school. But they didn't seriously play as a duo until about three years ago, when they moved to Pullman to teach at WSU.

An intriguing part of listening to a piano duo is hearing the players respond to each other's notes, Jeffrey Savage said.

"There's certainly an element of communication that happens between two artists," he said.

The Savages have designed a dynamic classical playlist for their performance.

They plan to start with Fantasy (Suite No. 1) by Sergei Rachmaninov and then fast-forward a century to music written by Frederic Rzewski. The 1980s piece, Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues, is based on a labor song and mimics the sound of a cotton mill.

Other music scheduled for the show include Witold Lutoslawski's Variations on a Theme of Paganini and Maurice Ravel's La Valse.

The performance is free, but Camerata Musica welcomes donations.

-- On the Net: http://libarts.wsu.edu/music/areainfo/keyboard/88-2.htm

*Franny White: 582-1542; fwhite@tricityherald.com

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