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Sounding like one pianist rather than two 

The Lomazov-Rackers Duo tackle Stravinsky at the Lucas

MARINA LOMAZOV BELIEVES SHE KNOWS the reasons so many classical musicians find themselves romantically linked to others in the same profession: proximity, opportunity and a sense of simpatico.

“Young people meet in college and musicians usually don’t venture far outside their music world,” the critically acclaimed concert pianist explains.

“They practice all the time! Also, musicians understand each other’s need to practice for hours on end.”

Her own husband, Joseph Rackers, surely understands the discipline and dedication required of touring concert pianists, as he himself is one as well.

“I practice every day, for as many hours as possible,” he admits.

Over the past decade, they have become one of the more celebrated duos on the classical music scene, and this weekend, they’ll appear together at the Lucas Theatre in a recital presented by the Savannah Concert Association.

The featured piece will be a special, four-handed rendition of Stravinsky’s iconic 1913 work “The Rite of Spring.”

According to Rackers, the notoriously technical and demanding composition “requires a lot of physical and mental endurance.” Yet, it has become something of a signature piece for the two keyboardists.

Devout advocates of 20th and 21st Century music, the pair have given more than 20 airings of “The Rite of Spring” over the past two years, prompting once reviewer to note the duo had “demonstrated that nearly 100 years after it was written, this modernist touchstone can still sound modern.”

click to enlarge Marina Lomazov & Joseph Rackers
  • Marina Lomazov & Joseph Rackers

Since the couple first met 18 years ago at the famed Eastman School of Music, they —alone and together— have dazzled audiences and earned critical raves throughout the USA and Europe.

When not giving symphonic, solo or duo concerts, they both serve on the piano faculty of the University of South Carolina School of Music.

The Russian-born Lomazov says the hours of preparation which go into honing a difficult piece such as this one allow musicians to focus solely on the art as opposed to the physical act of performing.

“One has to be physically trained to play an instrument, dance or paint, so the passion and emotion one feels so intensely can be expressed with utmost abandon and freedom. For us, a successful recital means not thinking about the technical aspects, so we can concentrate completely on conveying how we feel about the music.”

Rackers notes “the biggest challenge” in playing a four-handed recital is “to create a blended approach that almost sounds like one pianist rather than two.”

This is quite a tricky proposition, notes Lomazov. She stresses that in order to achieve such a “unified sound” at a single keyboard, the two soloists are constrained by their environment.

“Physically sharing a space so close to each other presents challenges in coordinating our movements,” she offers. “One can’t simply move freely, or they may bump into the other person and distract them.”

So, does working alongside one’s romantic partner in such a high-stress situation ever contribute to domestic friction?

“We wouldn’t know,” Lomazov replies with a smile. “We never fight.” cs

Full transcripts of these interviews can be found here.

Savannah Concert Association presents: Marina Lomazov & Joseph Rackers

When: Sat., 8 pm

Where: Lucas Theatre

Cost: $12.50-$35 @ lucastheatre.com

Info: marinalomazov.com

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Connect Today 12.03.2016

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