Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

October 3, 2013

Piano playing with four hands

By Judy Wakefield

---- — Two-timing piano style returns to the area as a pair of talented pianists with world-class pedigrees share a local Steinway in a free concert on Sunday.

Pianists Esther Ning-Yau and Eleanor Perrone, a former Phillips Academy teacher, will perform a program of duets, doubling the fun for listeners who will be treated to the four-hand piano concert at Lawrence Public Library, 51 Lawrence St., Lawrence.

The concert starts at 2 p.m. and is part of an ongoing series orchestrated by Terri and George Kelley of Andover.

Four-hand piano might sound more like a poker term, but it’s actually a popular music style practiced by many piano teachers. Ning-Yau and Perrone will share the same piano bench and black-and-white keys to demonstrate the technique.

”It’s energetic and crowds love it,” Terri Kelley said of the four-hand style, adding a similar concert featuring a different set of pianists that was hosted by her group last year was well-received.

Sunday’s program includes ballet music from Gluck’s “Orpheus and Eurydice,” six pieces by Rachmaninoff and three short pieces by Gottschalk.

”All of the music is charming and filled with beautiful melodies,” Kelley said.

Perrone, who trained at Julliard School of Music, has an international resume that includes performances from Brazil to the Merrimack Valley, with appearances with the Boston Pops, Orquestra Sinfonica de Campinas and Billings Symphony.

She says she likes to draw the audience into the music, introducing them to unfamiliar works and re-introducing them to familiar ones. She has a Master of Music degree from Boston University, is on the faculty of Longy School of Music of Bard College in Cambridge and also teaches privately and is an adjunct faculty member at Concord Academy in Concord. She formerly taught piano at Phillips Academy.

A native of Hong Kong and an avid chamber musician, Ning-Yau is also internationally known. She has appeared in recitals from Puerto Rico to Germany and performs frequently throughout New England. She holds a double master’s degree in piano performance and collaborative piano from New England Conservatory of Music.

Ning-Yau is a faculty member at Longy and the Preparatory and Continuing Education school at the New England Conservatory. She is a staff accompanist at the Boston Conservatory and the Meadowmount School of Music in New York.

The concert is being presented in memory of Elizabeth Caesar, a devoted supporter who had a special place in the audience for the series. Caeser’s family generously donated to the series, and the music was selected with her and her family in mind, Kelley said. The performance is funded by the Catherine McCarthy Memorial Trust Fund in Andover and will last about one hour. A reception will follow.

”The Friends of the Lawrence Public Library is truly proud to present this concert. ... These two women are outstanding ...,” Kelley said.