By Stephanie Butzer
The yellow glow from the stage of Whitley Auditorium spilled on pianists Andrey Kasparov and Oksana Lutsyshyn as they played an assortment of pieces Sept. 4.
The duo, more commonly known as the Invencia Piano Duo, was launched in 2003 and invited to travel the world to perform various repertoires from Mozart to baroque to contemporary composers. They sat at the same piano, on different benches, and played duets.
Kasparov and Lutsyshyn, who attended and met at Moscow State Conservatory, have won several international awards not only for their interpretation of dozens of pieces, but the ones they composed themselves.
Upon their entrance on stage, Kasparov marveled at the welcoming applause.
“So much applause already,” Kasparov said.
While Kasparov gave a brief introduction, Lutsyshyn sat on her bench in a long black dress. Her glittering earrings caught the high lights of Whitley as she stared at the music in front of her.
There was a slight pause before they began, like a prayer, and the music started.
The first piece was called “Pictures from the East” by German composer Robert Schumann. It consisted of six impromptus and after they were completed, Kasparov stood up to introduce the next piece, “Fantasy on Lutheran Chorales,” which he composed.
The third and fourth pieces – “Six Epigraphes antiques” by Claude Debussy and “Trois pieces recreatives, Op. 36” by Florent Schmitt, respectively – consisted of fancy handiwork where Kasparov and Oksana often reached across each other to play on opposite sides of the piano. The duo pulled off this tricky maneuver with fluidity.
The final piece, “La valse” by Maurice Ravel, was meant for a full symphony but Kasparov rearranged it for a piano duo.
With each accented note of “La valse,” the pianists started, as if they had been shocked. During the lively portions of the song, they both lifted their hands strictly and with authority.
The music echoed around the auditorium as a quiet, polite audience watched the rushing. Kasparov’s and Lutsyshyn hands varied from jabbing the keys furiously to caressing them tenderly.