Cincinnati Symphony Hosts the U.S. Premiere of The National's Bryce Dessner's Work for Two Pianos at Music Hall

At the Summit: Strauss + Dessner will feature Katia and Marielle Labèque performing Dessner's "Concerto for Two Pianos," sandwiched between Strauss' "Don Juan" and "An Alpine Symphony"

Sep 17, 2019 at 11:00 am
click to enlarge Bryce Dessner - Photo: Shervin Lainez
Photo: Shervin Lainez
Bryce Dessner

The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year and is opening the season with the U.S. premiere of Bryce Dessner’s “Concerto for Two Pianos,” performed by sister duo Katia and Marielle Labèque. 

The Grammy-winning Dessner — the now-Paris-based Cincinnati native who has found international success as a member of Rock band The National and as a solo New Music composer, performer and creative entrepreneur — is no stranger to the CSO; the orchestra presented his previously annual MusicNOW contemporary music festival (the fest is taking a break in 2019).

click to enlarge The Labeque sisters - Photo: Umberto Nicoletti
Photo: Umberto Nicoletti
The Labeque sisters

For this premiere, taking place 11 a.m. Sept. 20 and 8 p.m. Sept. 21 at Music Hall, the Labèque sisters will be playing Dessner's work — which NPR calls “gorgeous, full-hearted” — sandwiched between works by Richard Strauss (1864-1949), including "Don Juan" and "Alpine Symphony."

The CSO says the sisters are regular guests of the symphony and have been praised by The New York Times as, “The best piano duet in front of an audience today.”

The CSO says these particular Strauss works were chosen because the composer conducted the exciting "Don Juan" with the CSO and because "Alpine Symphony" premiered in the U.S. via the CSO.

Before Saturday's performance, Hart & Cru will be hosting a pre-show wine tasting with wines available by the glass or in flights from 6:30-7:45 p.m.

11 a.m. Sept. 20 and 8 p.m. Sept. 21. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. Tickets run $14-$130