44 min

Katia and Marielle Labèque Music Matters

    • Society & Culture

The Labeque Sisters, Katia and Marielle Labeque, shot to fame in 1980 with their arrangements of Gershwin, including the Rhapsody in Blue, and for more than half a century have made a unique musical life together. Tom Service talks to Katia and Marielle about the broad range of music that they are creating, the boundaries that they are constantly pushing, and their sound-world within two pianos.
Before the release of their award-winning Gershwin disc in 1980, Katia and Marielle Labeque predominantly performed contemporary music, and encountered the composer Olivier Messiaen, who overheard them practising his Vision de l’Amen while they were still students at the Paris Conservatoire. They’ve since worked with Boulez and Berio, and it was on tour in Los Angeles, performing Berio’s Concerto for Two Pianos, that they happened across Gershwin for the first time. As students at the Paris Conservatoire, they had to fight to be accepted into the chamber music class, and they tell Tom about perceptions of piano duos and the mission to constantly seek new repertoire.
The sisters’ continual curiosity and creativity has led them on a journey, as Marielle describes it, where one chance encounter leads to another. They have commissioned new works from musicians of backgrounds from rock to classical, from Bryce Dessner to Nico Muhly, and they have worked alongside Giovanni Antonini who helped them to acquire two reproductions of Bach’s Silbermann keyboards, which they keep in their Palazzo in Venice.
The sisters speak to Tom at length about all their musical projects, delve into what keeps them going, and discuss how their distinct two-piano sound really works.

The Labeque Sisters, Katia and Marielle Labeque, shot to fame in 1980 with their arrangements of Gershwin, including the Rhapsody in Blue, and for more than half a century have made a unique musical life together. Tom Service talks to Katia and Marielle about the broad range of music that they are creating, the boundaries that they are constantly pushing, and their sound-world within two pianos.
Before the release of their award-winning Gershwin disc in 1980, Katia and Marielle Labeque predominantly performed contemporary music, and encountered the composer Olivier Messiaen, who overheard them practising his Vision de l’Amen while they were still students at the Paris Conservatoire. They’ve since worked with Boulez and Berio, and it was on tour in Los Angeles, performing Berio’s Concerto for Two Pianos, that they happened across Gershwin for the first time. As students at the Paris Conservatoire, they had to fight to be accepted into the chamber music class, and they tell Tom about perceptions of piano duos and the mission to constantly seek new repertoire.
The sisters’ continual curiosity and creativity has led them on a journey, as Marielle describes it, where one chance encounter leads to another. They have commissioned new works from musicians of backgrounds from rock to classical, from Bryce Dessner to Nico Muhly, and they have worked alongside Giovanni Antonini who helped them to acquire two reproductions of Bach’s Silbermann keyboards, which they keep in their Palazzo in Venice.
The sisters speak to Tom at length about all their musical projects, delve into what keeps them going, and discuss how their distinct two-piano sound really works.

44 min

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