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Piano Duo to perform Sunday



Two pairs of hands will take to the same set of keys Sunday for a piano performance.

Piano duo Emile Naoumoff and Yau Cheng will perform at Auer Concert Hall in a free event as part of the Jacobs School of Music Summer Series and the IU Summer Festival of the Arts. The show will start at 8 p.m.

Naoumoff and Cheng will play three classical pieces composed and once played by historic pianist Louis The’odore Gouvy. The pair will be playing “The Three Sonatas for Piano Four Hands.”

“I have always loved his work and wanted to replay it for an audience the way he might have wanted it to be played,” Naoumoff said.

Naoumoff and Cheng met after a performance while Cheng was a student at IU.

Cheng earned both her master’s and Bachelor of Music degrees in Piano Performance through Jacobs under the tutelage of Naoumoff.

“After I heard her play, I immediately knew I wanted to play with her,” Naoumoff said.

Both pianists began playing when they were young. Cheng started playing when she was four.

“I was just taking lessons, and I just fell in love with it,” Cheng said.

And Naoumoff began at age five, revealing himself as a musical prodigy.

“After I began playing, I started to take up studying the piano and adding composition to my studies a year later,” Naoumoff said.

But practicing is a challenge for the two of them. Cheng lives in London, so they can’t just get together for rehearsal.

“We tried Skype, but learned very quickly there was a delay in the keystrokes, so we decided that was not going to work,” Naoumoff said.

Cheng recently arrived in Bloomington so the two could really begin preparing for Sunday’s performance.

“It takes us about a week before the performance to make sure we are ready,” Cheng said.

During that week, the arm placement of each pianist is rehearsed, along with organizing the parts each will play during each sonata.

Naoumoff said that part is crucial.

“It is very important to know where your partner’s arms will be placed when playing in four arm. If we do not know, then it could mess up the performance,” he said.

The duo also spends time making sure the parts they chose to play would suit them best.

“We have to know when each other will switch on the piano, which can be difficult,” Naoumoff said. “The most difficult part is figuring out the foot pedals.”

The three sonatas they will be playing from Gouvy’s work are “Sonata in D Minor, Op. 36 (1861),” “Sonata in C Minor, Op. 49 (1869)” and “Sonata in F Major, Op. 51 (1869).”

“These are not easy pieces to perform,” Naoumoff said. “We just hope to make them sound like Gouvy and give the audience an experience they have never had before.”

When: Sunday, July 6 at 8 p.m.

Where: Auer Hall

Cost: Free

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