2019-2020 RECITAL SERIES ARTISTS:
Duo MusArt Barcelona: September 6, 2019
Two young Spanish keyboard artists, described by journal Diari Avui as “two rising stars in Spain”, formed Duo MusArt Barcelona in 2007 to fill a vacant niche on the Iberian musical landscape; the combination of piano and organ in full-scale concert performance. Maria Teresa Sierra, a noted concert pianist who trained at the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory in St. Petersburg, Russia, and Raúl Prieto Ramírez, Spain's sensational concert organist who studied in Spain and Germany, are also husband and wife. The high artistic standards and blazing, edge-of-the-seat virtuosity which mark their individual styles permit them as a duo to approach the music with the precision and clarity of a premier chamber ensemble. As Le Monde (Spain) described: “They play as with one mind."
They have performed, always to critical and audience acclaim, at Spain's major concert halls in Madrid (Auditorio Nacional, the Conde Duque Hall, and the Circulo de Bellas Artes) and Barcelona (Palau de la Musica, Auditori Hall, and the Pau Casals hall), Canary Islands (Alfredo Klaus Hall), as well as elsewhere in Europe, including Russia, and throughout the United States.
The duo offers a wide repertoire of original works for piano and organ, as well as their own transcriptions of works by Tchaikovsky, Lutoslawski, Horowitz, Liszt, Gershwin, and famous Spanish masterpieces by de Falla and Granados. In addition, they also commission new works by contemporary composers to add to their concert repertoire. In 2010, they recorded a CD on the Brilliant Classics label at the Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona.
Among the major festivals at which the duo has been featured are the International Barcelona Piano Festival, the International Festival in Segovia, and the Third International Organ Festival in Russia. In June 2016, the duo was featured at the American Guild of Organists’ national convention in Houston, and in May 2018 at the Virginia Arts Festival in Virginia Beach.
With words such as “sizzling” and “transcendent” used to describe his performances, Raúl Prieto Ramírez is the first Spanish organist in recent times to establish himself among the elite of the international pipe organ scene. His global schedule takes him to major festivals and concert halls throughout Europe and the U.S., for lectures at universities and institutions, collaborations in summer academies, and as jury member at International competitions. Mr. Ramírez possesses an extensive knowledge of organ repertoire, styles, and schools, from the 14th century Robertsbridge Codex to Messiaen and beyond. His transcriptions of Liszt’s piano études and Mephisto Waltz andhis interpretations of the music of Buxtehude, Bach, Franck, and Reger have been highly praised by audience and critics.In December 2017, Mr. Ramírez was appointed the San Diego Civic Organist and Artistic Director of the Spreckels Organ Society, where he presides over the famed Austin organ at the city’s Balboa Park Pavilion – the largest outdoor pipe organ in the Western Hemisphere. Mr. Ramírez is the eighth Civic Organist to serve San Diego on the Spreckels organ bench. He continues as the artistic director of the annual summer International Organ Festival in Barcelona.
At the tender age of 14, Maria Teresa Sierra was hand-picked by Russian piano pedagogue Leonid Sintsev for admission to the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory in St. Petersburg, Russia and it was there that she developed her deeply sensitive and fiery musical sensibility and acquired the technical proficiency characteristic of the Russian school. Additional studies of contemporary piano literature were with French pedagogue Jean Pierre Dupuy. Ms. Sierra “has the talent to move the audience and transport them...through the sonority she extracts from the piano.” (La Porta Classica, Spain).
Duo MusArt Barcelona is represented in North America exclusively by Phillip Truckenbrod.