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Duo Stephanie & Saar (Piano Duo)
Stephanie Ho & Saar Ahuvia

Duo Founded: USA

Stephanie Ho and Saar Ahuvia, concert pianists, collaborate to perform four hand works as "Duo." Both Ho and Ahuvia pursued graduate degrees in performance at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University and studied with Leon Fleisher. While there, they were inspired by Leon Fleisher to explore the L.v. Beethoven string quartets in a duo piano setting.

Duo Stephanie and Saar in performances noted for their artistic versatility, elegance and intellectual curiosity. Their performance repertoire is diverse and often unconventional duo, with music ranging from from Machaut to Messiaen, from W.A. Mozart to George Crumb and Bill Evans. Highlights from their eclectic programming include a jazz-inspired concert at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center featuring the world premiere of Fantasia de Très Mundos by Cuban-American jazz pianist Martin Bejerano. In celebrating the 100th anniversary of Igor Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, Duo Stephanie and Saar toured Rite in four-hand, two-piano and mixed ensemble arrangements. Multiple collaborations with Michael Linville and the New World Symphony Percussion Consort featured Linville’s own arrangement of Igor Igor Stravinsky’s Petrouchka and André Boucourechliev’s aleatoric fantasy piece Archipel I. The New York Times declared that their performance, "came through in all...visionary clarity." The duo takes special pride in a performance at the residence of the United States Ambassador in Berlin, Germany, featuring works by Henry Martin (USA), Avner Dorman (Israel) and Felix Mendelssohn.

Recent performances include W.A. Mozart’s Concerto for Two Pianos, K. 365 with Musikkreis Horgen (Switzerland), PianoForte Salon Live on Chicago’s WFMT 98.7, Dranoff 2 Piano Foundation’s “Film Goes Classical: A 2 Piano Celebration of the Movies” at Miami’s Coral Gables Arts Cinema and a live concert on All Classical Portland’s Thursdays @ Three.

To launch the 2015-2016 season, the Duo’s performance at the Sarajevo Chamber Music Festival featured George Crumb’s dazzling Celestial Mechanics for amplified piano and other cutting-edge American works to international acclaim by Radio Sarajevo. “Stephanie and Saar’s last night’s performance once again recalled all the epithets of elegant and innovative, that have been following them throughout their career.”

Duo Stephanie and Saar are the artistic directors of Makrokosmos Project, a new music festival in Portland, Oregon dedicated to American music and performances by Oregon-based performers and composers. The 2015 inaugural festival featured standing-room performances of George Crumb’s Makrokosmos I & II and music by Kenji Bunch and David Crumb. Oregon Arts Watch frankly states “It was one of 2015’s peak Oregon musical moments.”

In celebration of György Kurtág's 90th birthday, Duo Stephanie and Saar is touring with “Hommage à J.S.B.”, a program that features G. Kurtág's Játékok alongside selections from J.S. Bach's Art of Fugue (BWV 1080). The current season also features the daring four hand transcription of L.v. Beethoven’s Quartet in C major, Op. 59 No. 3 “Razumovsky,” part of the duo’s ongoing project to perform and record the complete L.v. Beethoven string quartets.

As probing recording artists, the Duo explores repertoire with concomitant classical and contemporary sensibilities. "Bach Crossings", the Duo’s 2012 album featuring G. Kurtág's illuminating transcriptions of J.S. Bach, continues to receive acclaim. The album was described by the Chicago Reader as a "lovely, concise recording [that] does nothing to obscure Bach's indelible still feels very different from conventional performances of the same music: Kurtág provides a modern sensibility and heightened harmonic splendor, while Ho and Ahuvia bring a less rigid sense of time and rhythm, creating a rich fluidity." International Piano Magazine states, “It is clear from the precision and elegant phrasing on this disc that this is a tight partnership between pianists who have developed an implicit understanding of each other’s musicality.” The New York Times praised their “beautifully understated performances” of selections from the disc. "Beethoven Dialogues", their 2014 album featuring L.v. Beethoven's Quartets Op. 18 Nos. 1, 4 and 6 in rarely heard four hand arrangements, was performed in its entirety at New York City’s (le) poisson rouge and chosen as Album of the Week on WQXR. The album includes "Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 6 in G Major [which] captured the music’s serenity, the melodic interplay [also] exquisitely realized."

Stephanie and Saar, who are married to each other, reside in New York City.


Stephanie Ho
Portland, Oregon, USA

The American pianist and teacher, Stephanie Kai-Win Ho, is of Taiwanese descent, and grew up in Portland, Oregon. She studied at Oberlin College, where she took intensive courses in religion and philosophy while pursuing piano performance in both solo and chamber settings. Capturing a major prize in the Arthur Dann Piano Competition and the Dean’s Talent Award, she studied with Robert Shannon and became a dedicated member of the Oberlin Contemporary Ensemble. She received a Masters of Music from Northwestern University in 2000 where she studied with Alan Chow, and a Graduate Performance Diploma from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University in 2003, under the direction of Julian Martin. While at Peabody, she was actively premiering and performing new music, this time as a member of Camerata. During her tenure in Baltimore, she won a prize in the Mary Graham Lasley Scholarship Competition and received a Peabody Career Development Grant.

Stephanie Ho has achieved public recognition in a number of concert appearances including numerous summer festivals such as the Orford International Summer Festival, Bowdoin Summer Music Festival and the New Millennium Piano Festival as well as a Recording Arts Residency at the Banff Centre. Her recital performances have been heard in the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Spain, Canada and many parts of the USA. She is the co-creator of Duo Stephanie and Saar, an award-winning duo piano ensemble with her husband, pianist and LMS faculty member Saar Ahuvia. She enjoy teaching both children and adults.

Saar Ahuvia
Born: Beit Hashitta, Hazafon, Israel

The Israeli pianist, Saar Ahuvia, studied at the Rubin Academy of Music at Tel Aviv University, the Schaffhausen Conservatory (Class of 2001) and the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University (Class of 2004). He completed both a Masters of Music as well as a Graduate Performance Diploma from the Peabody Institute in 2004, under the direction of Leon Fleisher. He continued to prosper while in Baltimore, winning the Baltimore Music Club Competition, a Peabody Career Development Grant and reaching the Semifinal round at the Hilton Head International Piano Competition. He was a fellow at the Toradze Piano Institute at the University of Indiana in South Bend. His teachers have included Arie Vardi, Michael Bugoslavsky, Gary Wolf and Daniel Höxter. He was awarded the America-Israel Cultural Foundation Scholarship for the extraordinary period of 10 consecutive years.

Saar Ahuvia made his public debut at the age of 10, and at age 12 was already a promsoloist, winning the First Prize of a Steinway-sponsored piano competition in Florida. Since his debut, participation in International piano competitions led to a First Prize in the Ariana Katcz Piano Competition and Finalist in the Francois Shapira Competition, both in Isarel. In Barcelona, he captured the Third Prize and two Special Prizes at the Maria Canals International Piano Competition. During his studies in Switzerland he was awarded the Second prize at the Walter Bringolf Competition and the Orpheus Prize.s

The gathering of numerous international musical influences and tastes has been manifested in the pianism of Saar Ahuvia. His highly acclaimed solo recitals have taken him to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Prague, Moscow, Zürich, New York, Baltimore, Chicago Atlanta, Washington, Paris and Barcelona. He has appeared as a soloist with the Young Israel Philharmonic, Haifa Symphony, Israel Chamber Orchestra, Florida Symphony, Musikreis Horgen (Switzerland), Johns Hopkins Symphony Orchestra and Israel Symphony Rishon le Zion. He has also appeared in radio and television broadcasts in Israel, Switzerland and the USA. His international music festival appearances include solo appearances at the Candas International Music Festival and the New Millennium Piano Festival (Spain).

Source: Duo Stephanie Saar Website; Wikipedia Website; Kaufman Music Center Website; America-Israel Cultural Foundation Website; Facebook profiles
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (December 2017)

Duo Stephanie & Saar: Short Biographies | Recordings of Instrumental Works

Links to other Sites

Duo Stephanie & Saar (Official Website)
Duo: Stephanie Ho and Saar Ahuvia (Wikipedia)
Stephanie Ho - Piano (Kaufman Music Center)
Saar Ahuvia (America-Israel Cultural Foundation)
Stephanie Ho on Facebook | Saar Ahuvia on Facebook
DUO Stephanie & Saar (Parker Artists)

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Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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Last update: Monday, December 18, 2017 00:52