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JOSHUA PIERCE & DOROTHY JONAS
DUO-PIANISTS

Since 1978, Mr. Pierce has had a dynamic two-piano career with pianist Dorothy Jonas and have created one of the most exciting two-piano teams of his generation. With numerous recordings and performances, many of them world premieres, the Pierce/Jonas Piano Duo has established itself in the forefront of interpreters of music for two pianos. Their work is international in scope and includes a Command Performance for the Royal Family at London's Royal Festival Hall as well as performances of works composed specifically for them by Academy Award winning composer Miklos Rozsa.

While each artist maintains a successful career as a soloist, the Pierce/Jonas Duo has appeared with symphony orchestras worldwide, recorded works from Mozart to Cage and introduced many important twentieth century compositions. Their impressive reviews best illustrate the impression they have made on the music community.

Pierce and Jonas have been called "consummate technicians with marvelous articulation" and "crystalline performances...the ultimate in crispness, producing performances that go far beyond documentation." by Fanfare Magazine while the San Francisco Chronicle has praised their "Exceptional ensemble and glitter", New York Newsday has said that "they displayed that sort of emotional and interpretive union that must be second nature to a two piano team," while the Washington Post called them "skilled and idiomatic" and the New York Times described them as "technically ingenious...a hand in glove performance". Turok's Choice (1996) has said of the duo: "No performers have done more to bring 20th-century repertory for two pianos and orchestra to the listener's attention than the duo-piano team of Pierce and Jonas."

One of the most imaginative and compelling two piano teams around, Pierce and Jonas have been successfully performing and recording the unusual and neglected two-piano repertoire of the 19th and 20th centuries since the mid-1980's.

The duo has appeared with many symphony orchestras world-wide including those of Houston, San Antonio, Mexico City and Luxembourg as well as the Royal Philharmonic, the London Philharmonia, the National Symphony of Polish Radio and Television, (Katowice), Luxembourg Radio Symphony, the Slovak Philharmonic, State Philharmonic of Kosice, Czech Radio Symphony of Prague, the Orchestra da Camera di Roma, the Chicago Sinfonietta, San Antonio Symphony and Utah Symphony. Among their many recent performances include concert appearances in San Diego, CA, Tijuana, Baja Mexico, Bratislava, Slovakia and various cities in the Czech Republic, in performances Mozart's Two Piano Concerto in Eb K365. Their American performances of this work prompted Ken Smith of the New Jersey Star Ledger to write: "Pierce and Jonas work marvelously in their framework, trading the musical material back and forth comfortably without leaving seams in the textures, yet shaping it with a hint of their own personalities in the process". Paul Somers of Classical New Jersey writes: "Pierce and Jonas play the Mozart Double Concerto with a sense of gallant elegance the piece demands."

The Pierce/Jonas Duo has performed and recorded all the standard repertoire for two pianos and orchestra as well as introduced and recorded many important twentieth century works including Walter Piston's Concerto for Two Pianos, Benjamin Britten's Scottish Ballad, Morton Gould's Dance Variations for Two Pianos and Orchestra, Paul Creston's Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra, Bohuslav Martinu's Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra, as well as works by Nicolai Berezowsky, Alexander Tansman, Gian Francisco Malipiero. Their recordings have ranged from the complete two piano works of Mozart (MSR Classics) to John Cage's Three Dances for Two Prepared Pianos (Wergo), Charles Ives' Three Pieces in Quartertones, (Sony Classics) along with the Concerto for Two Pianos & Orchestra (1993) (MMC) by the late American composer Robert Starer (Pierce/Jonas chosen by the composer to give the European premier/Mischa and Cipa Dichter gave the American premier). In a letter to MMC Records, 12/15/98, the late composer, Robert Starer wrote upon hearing the recording: "I find Joshua Pierce and Dorothy Jonas brilliant technically and highly sensitive and expressive musically. Their interpretation of the second movement of the concerto is truly poetic and they caught the spirit of the third perfectly. There is nothing to complain about the playing of the outer movements either; they have drive and intensity." David Paladino, of the Westfield Times-Leader has recently praised this duo-piano team who have "set the standard for many pieces including many first time recordings."

On October 19, 1997 Pierce and Jonas gave the world premier performance of the Concerto for Two Pianos & Orchestra (1996) which was composed for Pierce/Jonas by William Thomas McKinley, with the Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Vladimir Valek in Smetna Hall, Prague. In 1999, Helicon Recordings released their world premier recording of the 1958 Pulitzer Prize winning Concerto for Two Pianos & Orchestra (1953) [Helicon HE1044] by composer William Quincy Porter. Other recordings include a the Rachmaninov Symphonic Dances for Two Pianos [MSR Classics 1260] as well as works by Arnold Bax, Saint-Saens, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Debussy, Britten and others. On hearing their recording of Felix Mendelssohn's E Major and Ab Major two-piano concerti [MSR Classics 1330], Paul Turok of Turok's Choice wrote: "This recording shows what stunning results a true two-piano team can achieve in these concertos, as opposed to two pianists merely brought together for the occasion. Brilliant performances...virtuosic and sensitive."

In 1984, world-renowned Academy Award™ winning composer, Miklos Rosza, offered to write for the team a work which became the Spellbound Concerto Fantasie for Two Pianos and Orchestra (a work twice as long as the original Spellbound score, including material not used on the original soundtrack).He also wrote for Pierce/Jonas his New England Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra based on music from the films Lydia and Time Out of Mind. The premier performance took place at Salt Lake City and at Snowbird with the Utah Symphony Orchestra ("...polished and sensitive technicians." - Paul Wetzel, Salt Lake City Tribune) and subsequent performances with the Midland-Odessa Symphony ("Dynamically performed with precision and technical excellence." - Skye Osborne Odessa American/Texas. These critically acclaimed performances resulted in the team being invited to give a Command Performance for the Royal Family with the London Philharmonia at the Royal Festival Hall/London. Their 1991 Chicago debut with Paul Freeman and the Chicago Sinfonietta in Francis Poulenc's Two-Piano Concerto was called "most delightful...a performance of stature" - The Chicago Sun-Times.

Starting in 1992/93, Mr. Pierce and Ms. Jonas presented a unique and exciting series of performances at CAMI Hall, New York University and at MicroFest Trenton, NJ as part of the American Festival of MicroTonal Music® performance seasons. They presented first performances of two piano works by Stefen Konicek (Preludium, Blues and Toccata) and Roland Moser's Homage AO as well as two-piano works by Alan Hohvaness, Mordecai Sandberg, Ivan Wyschnegradsky, Bruce Mather, and Charles Ives of which, Kyle Gann of the Village Voice said: "very satisfying performances of some very difficult music... and imbued with spirit." Their 1994 release of Two Steinways on Broadway continues to receive tremendous airplay and great critical acclaim: Fanfare: "Pierce and Jonas play with confidence, flair and style."; Daniel Webster of the Philadelphia Enquirer said: "a heightened sense of poetry".

In 2001, Pierce and Jonas completed a new album of World Premier performances for Kleos Classics. Along with the North American Square Dance Suite for Two Pianos and Orchestra by Arthur Benjamin and the Concerto Italleinne for Two Pianos and Orchestra by Pierre Max Dubois, they recorded the Two Piano Concerto (1946) by Roy Harris, the latter an obscure yet extremely important work in this genre by one of America's most important composers of the 20th century.

Both artists are members of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and listed in Who's Who.

TWO-PIANO > TWO-PIANO REVIEWS | TWO-PIANO DISCOGRAPHY

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Copyright 2011 Joshua Pierce