The Telegraph
Friday , March 20 , 2015

How one piano and four hands made music magic

Jennifer Heemstra and Douglas Jurs perform at Kala Mandir

Compositions by Gershwin, Debussy, Piazzolla and Brahms jumped off the ebony and ivory of pianists Jennifer Heemstra and Douglas Jurs to fill Kala Mandir as Kolkata Classics Club, in association with Swar Sangam and t2, presented Music Unlocked on March 12. 

With only one piano and two sets of hands, Heemstra and Jurs took the audience on a sonic carpet weaved out of classical pieces like Libertango, Hungarian Dances, Clair de Lune and Rhapsody in Blue. They also played Franz Schubert’s Fantasia in F Minor for piano four-hands. 

“The pieces we picked were pushing the envelope. They were sophisticated yet accessible,” laughed Heemstra. “We’re very happy to be in Calcutta, where people are warm, appreciative and inspire us,” she added. 

“It’s always invigorating, especially when the crowd applauds and appreciates your music. It’s fun to come so far away and receive such a response. The audience is just as enthusiastic here as everywhere else,” said Jurs, who performed in Calcutta for the first time. 

Speaking about classical musicians of this age, Heemstra said: “I hope that we break the stereotype because we’re younger and more approachable.” “In the US a lot of things are happening to make it less pretentious as there’s a notion that classical music is stuffy. Playing music in unconventional venues, such as bars and clubs, helps. Some modern composers are also taking elements from popular, modern music, which also helps the cause,” Jurs added. 

After an hour-long set, the duo returned to the stage amid cries for an encore. They obliged with a medley of Gershwin pieces. 

Text: DG
Pictures: Sayantan Ghosh

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