KUO TWO PIANO BENEFIT RECITAL
February 18th at 8pm
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Rachmaninoff - Duo Suite No. 1, Op. 5
Piazzolla - Michaelangelo 70
Poulenc - Cappricio d’après le bal masqué
Lutoslawski - Variations on a theme by Paganini
Milhaud - Scaramouche
Ravel - La Valse
Michelle Chen Kuo (Chen Chou-Hsia) is a critically acclaimed concert pianist, teacher, and philanthropist. She has performed extensively in the United States, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Great Britain as a solo artist, and has appeared as a guest with the woodwind quintet “Five”, the EMCA Chamber Ensemble Carmerata Atlantica, and the Hanover Wind Symphony. Michelle made her New York debut at Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall in May 1997, which was highly praised by critics and music lovers. The New York Concert Review said “…the ringing tone, the firing projectiles of tone with a clarity that comes from having supreme confidence in the piece. [Michelle Chen Kuo] is a very gifted pianist.” A specialist in the Romantic Era, Michelle commands a comprehensive repertoire of the period’s most difficult and treasured master works, which she showcases in her annual recitals at Weill Recital Hall.
Michelle’s formative years as a pianist began in her native Taiwan, where she graduated with the highest achievement from Kuang-Jen Music School. She made her professional debut with the Wen Hua University Symphony Orchestra at the age of 11, and went on to have her solo debut in Taipei at the age of 16 after winning the Taiwan National Piano Competition three years consecutively. Michelle received the L.R.S.M. in performance from the Associated Board of the Royal School of Music in London. As the first-prize winner of the National Piano Competition in Hong Kong and recipient of the Tom Lee Scholarship, she represented Hong Kong at the London Arts Festival. Michelle also frequently performed solo and with the Hong Kong Chamber Society on national radio and television in Taiwan and Hong Kong. She received her Bachelor of Music Degree from the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester and her Master of Music Degree from The Juilliard School with high distinction. She was awarded the Avis H. and David L. Vaughn Scholarship from the Eastman School of Music and was invited to the Waterloo Music Festival while she was at The Juilliard School. Throughout her performance career, she has studied with renowned teachers including Barry Snyder, Adele Marcus, Herbert Stessin, and Dr. Nina Lelchuk for solo performance, and with Samuel Sanders and Robert Spillman for chamber music.
Christopher began learning piano at a very young age with his mother and continued to pursue his studies in music through his time in university and the beginning of his professional career. As a young pianist, he won more than 10 awards and titles in regional and state-wide solo, duet, and duo competitions, including those hosted by the NJFMC and Music Educators Association of New Jersey. At sixteen years old, he made his 2006 solo New York Debut at Weill Recital Hall which was enthusiastically received; the New York Concert Review said he “play[ed] with the ease of a flick of a switch.” He appeared there again with Michelle in 2007 in their first performance together as a duo team and made an exciting return there in October 2015.
In 2012, Christopher received his Bachelor of Science in Finance and Statistics from the Leonard N. Stern School of Business of New York University with high distinction as the recipient of the Beta Gamma Sigma Scholastic Award, Sally Blount Social Impact Award, and the Presidential Service Award. He is currently a second year associate at Credit Suisse in the Emerging Markets Trading Division, where he is responsible for pricing LATAM rates and credit derivatives.
Michelle and Christopher are a two piano and duet team using their talents to raise money for nonprofits, schools, churches, and disaster relief efforts. In collaboration with many inspiring philanthropic organizations, they have been able to raise more than two hundred fifty thousand dollars for social causes. Most recently, Michelle and Christopher performed at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music in New York City and Whippany Park High School in New Jersey, raising $10,000 along the way.
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