FIVE BY FOURMusic for Piano Duo
Eleanor Alberga, Donald Grantham, Thomas Kerr Jr, Astor Piazzolla, Stella Sung
NYAHO/GARCIA PIANO DUO
"This is a great program of pieces new to me for two pianists at both one and two pianos... the popular element in the styles here are brought together by thoroughly convincing compositional abilities... The piano sound, listed as a Candlewood Digital Natural Presence recording is very good. Nyaho and Garcia appear to be a mature duo with an abundance of energy in their playing. Their ensemble is dead on and this will remain on my active list for the foreseeable future."
American Record Guide [March/April 2023]
"William Chapman Nyaho and Susanna Garcia are a gracefully matured pair, pictured smiling arm-in-arm at the piano... They like their music strong and flavorful, whatever its tempo... This is such a wonderfully natural piano recording... I can’t get over how spectacularly Nyaho and Garcia play, nor what marvelous music they have found. What a terrific album this is!"
James H. North, Fanfare [Autumn 2022]
"The exuberant piano performances of William Chapman Nyaho and Susanna Garcia are the main attraction of an MSR Classics release... There is certainly fine craftsmanship in the music... The pianistic attractiveness of Grantham’s work and the underlying lyricism of the two by Piazzolla come across very well through the exceptional sensitivity of Nyaho and Garcia not only to the music but also to each other – they seem to sense the best way to have their two pianos interrelate to bring out the nuances of the music... [Alberga’s Two-Piano Suite] is a single extended movement that gives Nyaho and Garcia plenty of opportunities to lead and follow where the music takes them – indeed, the whole lead-and-follow idea is almost irrelevant in this well-integrated piece, while the performers’ mutuality of technique results throughout the CD in excellent balance and readings of care and integrity... these top-notch performers raise everything on the disc to the highest level at which the material is capable of being displayed."
Mark J. Estren, InfoDad [August 2022]
“One head, one heart, but four hands… [Nyaho/Garcia] played with sensitivity to the music rarely heard by a single pianist, let alone two working together.”
PROGRAM NOTESWilliam Chapman Nyaho and Susanna Garcia met during their doctoral studies at the University of Texas at Austin in the 1980s. Although simply friends at first, their musical collaboration began as they both began teaching at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in the early 1990s. The formation of the Nyaho/Garcia Piano Duo represented not only their respect for each other’s musicianship, but also their shared musical philosophy and the desire to bring the joy of music for two pianos to a wider audience. They have gained recognition throughout the United States, Europe and Africa, with programs that blend standard repertoire and newly composed works, much of which had been written expressly for them. The Nyaho/Garcia duo’s debut album, Aaron Copland: Music for Two Pianos (Centaur CRC 2405), received critical acclaim, being called by some “the standard against which any future performances of these dances will be measured.” With this new collection of music for two pianos, Nyaho/Garcia presents a world of sound by composers both familiar and not. It is hoped these performances will bring to light the composers and their works, and in so doing helping them find a place in the canon of piano music for duos and duets.
Susanna Garcia, a South Texas native, has performed both solo and chamber recitals throughout the United States, and in Canada, Europe, Mexico, the Caribbean and Ghana, and has been featured on radio and television. Under the auspices of the Mexican government’s cultural enrichment program, Garcia toured the country giving recitals and workshops. Also highly active as a clinician, she has presented workshops, papers and master classes on a variety of topics for an assortment of organizations, including the International Society for Music Education, College Music Society, Music Teachers National Association, National Association for Humanities Education, National Group Piano/Piano Pedagogy Forum, Louisiana Music Teachers Association, and others. She has been the recipient of many honors including the University of Louisiana Distinguished Professor Award, Music Teachers National Association Foundation Fellow, Louisiana Music Teachers Association Outstanding Teacher and the University of Louisiana College of the Arts Research Excellence Award. Garcia is the co-developer of eNovativePiano: Multimedia Resources for Developing Musicianship
Skills, which was awarded the 2021 MTNA-Frances Clark Award for Keyboard Pedagogy. Dr. Garcia holds a Master’s degree and Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Bachelor of Music degree from Texas A&M at Corpus Christi. In 2021, she retired from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where she held the Louisiana Board of Regents/Ruth Stodghill Girard Endowed Professorship in Music.
William Chapman Nyaho, a Ghanaian American, is an active solo recitalist, duo pianist and chamber musician, giving recitals and concerts throughout the United States, and in Europe, Africa, Asia, South America and the Caribbean, often focusing on music by composers of African descent. He regularly serves as a guest clinician at colleges and universities around the United States and has also adjudicated for national and international piano competitions. Chapman Nyaho’s professional experience includes being a North Carolina Visiting Artist and Associate Professor of Music at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where he held the Heymann Endowed Professorship and was the recipient of the Distinguished Professor Award. He has served as Visiting Professor of Piano at Colby College and Pomona College, has been an Artist-in-Residence at Willamette University and professor of piano studies at the Adamant Music School. He has also been on the summer faculty of the Interlochen Center for the Arts. Chapman Nyaho currently serves on the piano faculty at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington, as well as operating a private teaching studio in Seattle. In addition to teaching, Chapman Nyaho serves on the board of trustees of the Frances Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy and is Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the Music Teachers’ National Association. A strong advocate for music by composers of African descent, Chapman Nyaho’s publications include a five-volume anthology entitled Piano Music of Africa and the African Diaspora [Oxford University Press] in recognition of which he received the 2022 MTNA-Frances Clark Keyboard Pedagogy Award. Chapman Nyaho earned his degrees from St. Peter’s College, Oxford University, the Eastman School of Music and the University of Texas at Austin. He also studied at the Conservatoire de Musique de Genève in Switzerland.
PROGRAMELEANOR ALBERGA (b.1949)
TWO-PIANO SUITE (1986)
DONALD GRANTHAM (b.1947)
FANTASY VARIATIONS ON GERSHWIN’S PRELUDE II FOR PIANO (1996)
for Two Pianos
THOMAS H. KERR, JR. (1915-1988)
CONCERT SCHERZO: DIDN’T MY LORD DELIVER DANIEL? (1996)
for Two Pianos
STELLA SUNG (b.1959)
EPICYCLES (1992) for Piano Four-Hands
I. Allegro energico
II. Interlude: Adagio religioso
III. Andante con moto
IV. Interlude: Adagio
3-DAY MIX (1986) for Piano Four-Hands
ASTOR PIAZZOLLA (1921-1992) | Arranged by Pablo Ziegler (b.1944)
MILONGA DEL ÁNGEL (1962) for Two Pianos
LA MUERTE DEL ÁNGEL (1962) for Two Pianos
Recorded 1-4 June 2021 at the Lagerquist Concert Hall at the Mary Baker Russell Music Center, Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, Washington. A Candlewood Digital high resolution Natural Presence recording: Produced, edited and mastered by Richard Price. Recording engineer: Bill Levey, Via Audio. Piano Technician: Phil Glenn, RPT.