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The A&R mission:

To make classical music a relevant and powerful force in society.

To connect with others; to engage, provoke, illuminate; to serve as a conduit for the composer's voice; to express our inner lives; to share the joy and fulfillment that only music can elicit.

...to free the world from the constraints of sleep-inducing concerts.

Schedule
Thursday
Apr102014

We're addicted to love ;-)

What with our latest duo release (An Amadeus Affair) and our nearly non-stop touring schedule, we've had quite a number of (awesome!) reactions to our recent performances. Here's a round-up of some of the latest love we've received:

Palm Beach Daily News
Glorious… The Anderson & Roe Piano Duo’s performance was something rarely encountered in concert-going. They have a truly deep artistry … a massive range of sound and impeccable technique. Imagine two pianos on steroids. Who says classical musicians are stuffy?  

Audiophile Audition
 (regarding An Amadeus Affair):
Totally delightful … unforgettable moments of heartbroken, bittersweet, eternal love … utterly poignant. Everything is beautifully realized by Anderson & Roe; it will change the lives of all who hear it, both for the music and the way it is played.

Performing Arts Monterey Bay
The audience, like Vesuvius, erupted with one massive cheer, jumping to its feet, settling for a moment like hot pumice only to explode again minutes later for two more dazzling pyrotechnic encores. …all the flamboyance, adrenaline and infectious passion that youth and virtuosity could muster.
 
…sublime, heart-felt musicianship. [Their performance of Bach's] Concerto for Two Keyboards in C major showed exquisite phrasing, beautiful rich tone and a synchronicity in performance and interpretation that I have rarely seen in a live performance. 

Wayne Lee Gay of D Magazine:
Beautifully crafted, brilliantly played … this jaded old music critic was impressed by the impeccable technique and musicianship of the duo.

Palm Beach Arts Paper
Exquisite … nothing short of brilliant … Their playing left me in awe and amazement. 

Theater Jones
A gateway drug to classical music … [Anderson & Roe] get people listening and having fun doing it. Two highly skilled, energetic young pianists … really wonderful, sensible ensemble … clever, complex arrangements. Their piano four hands performance of their arrangement of the first section of Stravinsky’s ballet The Rite of Spring, which turned 100 last year, was timeless.

Dallas Observer:
Immensely talented and entertaining…  

DFW.com
Mixing music and mayhem … [Anderson & Roe's] playing was marked by virtuosity and bubbled with youthful energy. Excellent music that was markedly different from what we usually hear, a full measure of originality, and Cliburn-level pianism. 
Wednesday
Apr022014

Greg Releases New Solo Album

In celebration of what would have been Sergei Rachmaninoff's 141st birthday, I'm super excited to announce the release of my brand new solo album. From the heavenly heights of Bach's French Suite No. 5 to the fiery depths of hell portrayed in Rachmaninoff's Piano Sonata No. 1, the album makes for a thoroughly unearthly and transcendent journey. 

Together they represent my personal journey as a pianist: I first played the French Suite as a fledgling pianist growing up in Minnesota, and the sonata I began years later as a doctoral student at Yale University. They are forever special to me; I hope that you'll similarly find meaning and beauty while exploring them.

Friday
Feb282014

An Amadeus Affair

BIG news—it's finally here! We're thrilled to announce that our brand new all-Mozart album, An Amadeus Affair, is officially available! Our sonic love letter to the work of Wolfgang is already garnering rave reviews:

Way too hot to be background music, this duo commands and demands your attention. (Midwest Record)
The quicksilver spirit of Mozart shines in a new way in this disc of music for two pianos and four hands … Anderson & Roe make it a marvel, each note just right … [It] has to be heard to be believed ... Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Joy Roe play pretty much as one and they sound as if they are enjoying it, too. (Buffalo News)
The wit and playfulness of Mozart are the primary elements on display here … [An Amadeus Affair] is polished to a fine sheen and delivered with panache. (Infodad)

Purchase your brand-spanking new copy of An Amadeus Affair (available in both CD and mp3 format) from ArkivMusic, Amazon, or iTunes

In commemoration of the new album, we're planning to release a new Mozart music video as well...stay tuned!
Friday
Feb142014

Bellini's Legacy

My cocktail blog has suffered of late (mostly due to my indecision regarding the forthcoming "Rite of Spring" cocktail), but there's nothing like the romance of Valentine's Day to rekindle one's inspiration. Today, I present not one, not two, but THREE cocktail recipes, all inspired by the simple and magnificent "Bellini." 

A Bellini cocktail is the perfect combination of white peach puree and Prosecco. Most classical music aficionados instantly assume the cocktail is associated with Vincenzo Bellini, an Italian composer known for his impossibly gorgeous (and endless) melodic lines. (The drink, sadly, has nothing to do with the composer—it's inspired, rather, by a 15th century artist—but I still like to think that the two are indelibly linked.) As such, and after MUCH taste-testing, I propose three new cocktails inspired by early-nineteenth century bel canto opera:

Donezzeti

In theory it's a stretch, but in taste, it's perfect:

  • 1 part pineapple purée (or juice, if you're in a hurry)
  • 2 to 3 parts Prosecco (or sparkling wine)

Pour the pineapple purée into a chilled champagne flute, then gently (GEN-T-LY!) add the sparkling wine. If the "gentle" addition of sparkling wine results in a lava flow of froth, try adding the sparkling wine with a baster, inserted below the surface of purée. Drink flamboyantly while careening about your living room to the "Mad Scene" from Lucia di Lammermoor.

The Elixir of Love

Um. Yes. Since an "elixir" (especially the love variety) ought to be complicated to produce, this drink adds a fussy, but delicious step to the "Donizetti" recipe listed above:

  • 2-4 sage leaves
  • 1.5 ounces pineapple purée/juice
  • 4 ounces Prosecco/sparkling wine

Lightly muddle the sage leaves with the pineapple purée/juice. (Vigorous muddling can make a bitter mess of sage leaves, so try to stay calm. Experimentation is key.) Remove the bruised leaves. Pour the infused pineapple mixture into a chilled champagne flute, then gently (GEN-T-LY!) add the sparkling wine. Share with a lover while listening/crying to "Una furtiva lagrime" from Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore.

Rossini

I know, I know, for years (centuries, actually) the bubbly music of Rossini has been compared to champagne, but I'm going to go out on a limb with the following:

  • 3/4 ounce limoncello
  • 1.5 ounces vodka
  • 4.5 ounces Pompelmo (a grapefruit-flavored variety of San Pellegrino)

Mix together in a collins glass with plenty of ice.

With the inclusion of limoncello (from Sorrento) and San Pellegrino (from northeast of Milan), the drink is undeniably Italian and "bubbly." BUT, there's something to this drink that's even perkier, more joyous, and less pretentious than even champagne. Opera's rom-com master, Rossini, now has a new drink to celebrate his glittering carouses of the stage. :-)

Tuesday
Feb112014

New Album Announcement (and its first review!)

An Amadeus Affair

Here's a quick blurb about the album:

Mozart's fascination with romance and Anderson & Roe's infatuation with Mozart come together in a sonic whirl of intrigue, scandal, exhilaration and mischief. Featuring Mozart's own Sonata for Two Pianos and scintillating Mozart arrangements by his not-so-secret admirers, this kaleidoscopic collection of works reveals the composer's mastery of opera, concerto, and the sonata. The Anderson & Roe Piano Duo, hailed as "the most dynamic duo of their generation" (San Francisco Classical Voice), brings Mozart's musical dialogue to life in a flirtatious interplay of four hands at one and two pianos. 

AND, the album already has its first review, and it's a stellar, five-star review at that:

Throughout An Amadeus Affair, Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Joy Roe bring Mozart’s greatness to a new generation while escalating the role of the classical piano duo to a new level of virtuosity and sophistication. [Anderson & Roe] excel at a level unheard in recent years by similar concert pianists of their generation.
- examiner.com 

Technically, the album's official release is February 25, but you can preorder it from Arkiv or iTunes

Monday
Feb102014

Rite: The Sacrifice. Episode 10 and beyond...

After months of planning, recording, filming, and editing, we proudly present to you the 10th and final episode of our "Rite of Spring" project:

We revealed a few wild production notes in our recent Gramophone blog, and Greg wrote about the 135-year-old organ that we sacrificially destroyed here.

More pertinent, perhaps, is what comes next! The film wasn't originally designed to be split into installments, but we also knew our YouTube subscribers might be overwhelmed by a 35-minute-long extravaganza. As such, we decided to divide the work into 10 episodes, which we've posted on YouTube for your viewing pleasure.

But now we're working toward our ultimate vision: a seamless, engrossing, and dramatic film — "The Rite of Spring: A Musical Odyssey." We strung the episodes together and re-edited everything; we've re-shot scenes, restructured concepts, and revised and fine-tuned the editing. We are super excited to show you, our fans, the entire film, but we have other ambitions to tackle first. We're currently applying to a handful of carefully selected film festivals, and later we plan to create a DVD/blu-ray version of the film, complete with directors commentary and a behind-the-scenes documentary. Stay tuned for more developments... ;-)

Monday
Feb102014

Gramophone Blog

We outsourced our blogging duties to Gramophone Magazine! Don't miss our provocative essay in which we discuss lost toenails, Lady Gaga, and the challenge of serving classical music effectively via YouTube.

 

Tuesday
Oct012013

Rest in peace, oh beautiful, sad organ

Today, we take a moment to honor the antique Clough & Warren organ that played a significant role in our Rite of Spring music film — and in many peoples' lives over the past 135 years.

I found the organ on Craigslist exactly a year ago. The owners, who were totally charming and helpful, had cared for the instrument for several generations and were looking to de-clutter. No judgements on them: while the instrument, built in 1878, was something of a family heirloom and an example of impeccable craftsmanship, it was a bit of an eyesore... a gothic monstrosity... the Debbie Downer of furniture items. It's so creepy, in fact, that they advertised the organ on Craigslist as the perfect addition to a haunted house!

They were so taken with our videos that they generously offered us the instrument for a price we couldn't refuse, even though we had no idea how we would incorporate the instrument into a future video. 

Greg with the original owners of the instrument. October 2012.

The organ quickly made it's way into the conception of our Rite of Spring film, after we had decided upon the themes of materialism, gluttony, and sacrifice — as a symbol of the first two, and something that could serve as, well... a sacrifice. The organ first makes its way into the film in Episode 6 (the "Introduction to Part II"), stark and alone in the middle of the desert. Throughout the film, and especially throughout the video shoots, the instrument took an enormous beating: we covered it in paint, red wine, bugs, bubbles, and sweat. In the end, we managed to bring our original vision to life: we sacrificially destroy the instrument in a baptism of flames and water. Watch for the dramatic sacrifice in the final episode. We literally pushed the organ into the ocean, then hauled it back out and set it on fire. :-)

(The organ got its comeuppance when it tore off my large toenail while filming in the massive waves of water.)

We grew fond of the organ after working with it for nearly a year. We'll show some footage of us playing it — really playing it — when we release the behind-the-scenes video. For now, suffice it to say that while the complete and utter destruction of a beautiful, 135-year-old organ was sad (tear-inducing, even), we did it for the music. We went to these extreme lengths because we ultimately had no other choice: we had to stay true to the colossal scope and vision of the music. In the end, while the instrument will no longer play its reedy tune, it will live on forever in our visual realization of Stravinsky's cacophonous and apocalyptic score. 

Wednesday
Sep182013

Rite: BUGS! RoS: Episode 9

Our concept for this particular movement—entitled "Ritual Action of the Ancestors" in Stravinsky's score—revolves around the idea of decay and dissolution. If the organ, in all its curlicued, hoary stateliness, symbolizes the corporeal, then, as with all material things, it cannot exist forever.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust ...

Its decay is not only inevitable; it is revealing. Appearances are often deceiving: what is beautiful and alluring on the outside can be corrupt and even depraved within. This episode examines what happens when the protagonists choose to relinquish their material attachments in order to face Reality unencumbered. To communicate this narratively crucial (and rather existential!) denouement, we sought ways to make the organ's degeneration not only visceral but disturbing. In choosing to have the bugs emerge from the organ as it rots, we took inspiration from two things: 1) the organ itself, with its macabre aesthetic, not to mention its many orifices!, and 2) the music, which sounds creepy and crawly and haunting and ominous, with its undulating tell-tale heartbeat spelling doom.

To give credit where it's due, Greg—my ultra imaginative yet sometimes off-his-rocker colleague—was the one who thought of the bugs in the first place, on one of our many in-flight brainstorming sessions during our Asia concert tour last fall. (Although I love to sleep / read / watch movies / basically avoid work on flights, I can attest to planes providing an incredibly fruitful setting for creativity: a) you're captive, b) you're in an almost dreamlike state half the time, and c) you're literally miles and miles above the ground ... that's gotta affect one's mental state, right? Needless to say, folks, the majority of concepts within this Rite of Spring film were dreamt up in the air!) OK, so this long, ostensibly random tangent leads to what I'm about to say .....

I DID NOT enjoy the filming of the millipedes, harmless as they were; to put it simply, I am not a fan of bugs. Just writing about the experience now makes my skin crawl. *shudder* That said, I'm generally open to trying new things, and I'm willing to sacrifice personal comfort (to a degree) for the sake of art. And for all you entomologically-inclined people out there, don't worry—we didn't pluck random bugs off the sidewalk or from someone's yard. We went the "official" route and ordered a bunch of millipedes online, and while they were in our care, Greg fed them little bits of veggies from the nearby farmer's market (not kidding!). To assuage my jitters, I jokingly gave them nicknames (to be said in a kiddie voice for maximum effect): Millie A, Millie B, etc., etc.

The filming required lots of patience, trusty assistants (thank you, Caitlin and Cody!), and chopsticks to keep the millipedes on course. They had a tendency to go astray, crawling in the exact opposite direction from what we wanted. There was always the errant one (or three) that would crawl right off the keyboard, almost into my lap, and every time I yelped in horror. To make things even worse, the first one that was placed on my hand excreted—I think it sensed my fear! Speaking of fear, whenever the millipedes felt threatened, they would curl up in a cinnamon-roll-like bundle, ruining the shot and interrupting the flow of filming. So while they might look coordinated onscreen, they were actually very unpredictable. 

Still, all the discomfort (and squealing on my part) appeared to be worthwhile; the millipedes leave quite an indelible impact and fill the viewer with dread, setting up the organ's cataclysmic swan song. Vivent les mille-pattes! Vive le sacre!

EPISODE 9 of 10: Upon grappling with their inner demons, the journeyers emerge even stronger and more vigilant. This newfound awareness shakes the foundation of their egoic attachments and material trappings. The degeneration of these worldly fetters opens the pathway to their final, inevitable task.

Wednesday
Sep042013

RoS: Episode 8

Lesson learned from filming Episode 8: playing the piano while wearing LED gloves is nasty challenging! Be glad you don't have to listen to the real audio during those scenes; it's an utter mess. (Not that we *ever* miss notes. ;-)

EPISODE 8 of 10: The journeyers return to their mission with a newly sharpened focus and even greater urgency, transformed by the revelations of their hallucinatory flashback. Yet this resurgence of resolve is threatened by the attachments, doubts and fears that persist within. To overcome these dark forces, the seekers must summon their latent, untapped power — the inviolable wisdom of the ages.