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Piano duet recital set for Friday


July 7, 2019

CLOVIS — Sharing a stage is not for every musician. Sharing a piano is for even fewer.

An exception to the rule is set for First United Methodist Church, as visiting musicians Denise Parr-Scanlin and Maria Garzon will perform a piano duet recital 7 p.m. Friday. There is no charge for the recital.

Ferrell Roberts, a longtime friend of Parr-Scanlin, said the event isn’t a church event, but more a musical event that happens to be taking place at a church. Parr-Scanlin, a member of the music faculty at West Texas A&M, said she has known Roberts for years and has judged piano competitions in Clovis but never played here herself.

That will change Friday in a most unusual way, as she and Garzon will sit on the same bench and play at the same piano. While Parr-Scanlin doesn’t expect any blunders once Friday starts, there have been plenty of them during practices because it’s hard to share that small space of ebony and ivory real estate.

“We have to decide who’s going to play their hand up or down,” Parr-Scanlin said. “We shouldn’t give it away because the audiences are always shocked. It can be difficult, but it’s so much fun. We’re laughing during half of our rehearsal.”

The two have known each other since 2014, when both were selected to serve as adjudicators for the Hong Kong Schools Music Festival — Garzon from London, Parr-Scanlin from Amarillo. They’d discussed working together on playing “four hands, one piano” music since then, and began practicing such last fall when Garzon visited Amarillo to give classes and a lecture-recital at WT and Amarillo College.

“We just click as musicians,” Garzon said. “Sometimes you can find two very good soloists, and they’re not very good together. You can sometimes find two mediocre soloists and they sound great together.”

The two did more rehearsing in March, when both were invited back to Hong Kong. Now, they’re doing an exhibition at Clovis with mostly French music to keep a light atmosphere.

Duet selections will include the Dolly Suite by Faure, movements from the Mother Goose Suite and Francis Poulenc’s “Sonata for Piano Four Hands.” Garzon said they’ll have conversations with the audience about most of the pieces. It won’t feel like a lecture, she said, but audience members will learn a little while they’re being entertained.

Each performer will also have some solo time.

“Maria is from Spain,” Parr-Scanlin said, “so she’ll be playing some Spanish music and I’ll play some selections from George Gershwin.”

Both are accomplished pianists in their own right. Garzon has an award-winning Spanish music CD and a documentary on Viktor Ullman to her credit, while Parr-Scanlin has studied at the American Conservatory of Music and presented master classes in several countries.

They’re hopeful and confident their talents together will be entertaining for their audiences, starting Friday night.

“These pieces could be played as a solo piece, but it would be extremely difficult to do so and you wouldn’t get all of the nuance,” Garzon said. “Obviously, we have more possibilities in the sound.”


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