Akiko Kobayashi And Eric Siepkes Return to Rogers Memorial Libarary To Perform Rarely Heard Works - 27 East

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Akiko Kobayashi And Eric Siepkes Return to Rogers Memorial Libarary To Perform Rarely Heard Works

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author on Feb 21, 2017

Violinist Akiko Kobayashi and pianist Eric Siepkes will make a return visit to Rogers Memorial Library this Sunday, February 26, to perform rarely heard and underappreciated works by composer-pianists Edvard Grieg, Clara Schumann and Igor Stravinsky.

Ms. Kobayashi, who holds a master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music, and Mr. Siepkes, who studied at Eastman School of Music, have played at the library in Southampton Village several times before, both as soloists and as a duo, to much acclaim. They first met at a music festival in the Berkshires and have been collaborating since 2010, which Ms. Kobayashi described as a fruitful and enriching experience.

“We both look at music from different points of view, but also with a certain central common aspect in mind,” Ms. Kobayashi said. “We really like to go for the composer’s intentions to really understand the meaning of the music, to understand what it’s really communicating, what our role is as artists.”

The program they will perform this weekend is new, she explained, and they anticipate taking it to Europe in the spring.

The Russian-born Stravinsky is best known for the three ballets that he composed while touring Paris, including “The Rite of Spring,” though this duo has chosen to perform a more obscure work, “Suite Italienne,” which Ms. Kobayashi said Stravinsky composed as an orchestral suite during the same period. Later, “Suite Italienne” was made into a violin and piano piece in collaboration with the pianist Samuel Dushkin, she said, adding that it is a nice change for audiences to hear a Stravinsky in a chamber music context.

“It’s based on very familiar baroque dance forms and rhythms, but there is a delicious twist in the harmony and unexpected asymmetries,” Mr. Siepkes said of “Suite Italienne.”

From the German pianist Clara Schumann, the duo will perform “Three Romances for Violin and Piano.”

“If you think of Clara Schumann, you rarely think of her as a composer,” Ms. Kobayashi said. “She is more thought of as the wife of Robert Schumann, a wonderful pianist, who was really supportive of her husband, but she was a great musician in her own right. And her father actually had opposed her marriage with Robert Schumann because he was not that well known. She was already a very successful pianist and a performer in her own right, and she already had quite a career going.”

Though Robert Schumann’s career would eventually surpass his wife’s, they influenced each other’s compositions.

“You can see the influence of her husband in her works, and it’s interesting to see her as a composer,” Ms. Kobayashi said. “I have actually never come across any performances of her works.”

She added that she sees the budding relationship between the two composers reflected in “Three Romances.”

“I think Clara Schumann was a fascinating figure in music, and has gone rather unappreciated,” Mr. Siepkes said.

From Norwegian composer Grieg, the duo will play a sonata that Ms. Kobayashi said was standard concert fare in the early 1900s but, for some reason, is hard to come across now.

“The Grieg Sonata is a very evocative piece,” Mr. Siepkes said. “This past fall I had the opportunity to perform his famous piano Concerto in A minor. For me his music is very tied to his geography. It’s as though he’s painting a landscape through sound.”

Ms. Kobayashi said she will offer the audience insights on each piece to help grasp what the composer wanted to convey.

“Music is a journey,” she said. “It’s like a metaphorical journey. It’s also a narrative, because of the structure and form and the way music is made—especially at least until the early 1900s. I think that helps them actually grab onto something that will help them take a ride.”

The Sunday, February 26, the performance begins at 3 p.m., is free and open to the public. Register at myrml.org or call 631-283-0774, extension 523.

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