"Two is Company" - A&R featured in Clavier Companion!

We're on the cover of this month's "Clavier Companion." The corresponding article is spot-on: Nick Romeo (the author) actually "gets" us, our mission, and our artistic pursuits, and he swirls it all together into a mighty read! Kudos to Nick!

We need batteries, duct tape, and a flashlight,” said Greg Anderson, a doctoral candidate in the piano department at Yale University. Greg and I were walking to a thrift store in downtown New Haven with Elizabeth Joy Roe, Greg’s friend and partner in the Anderson & Roe Piano Duo. “Are we going to be destroying anything in slow motion?” Liz asked, in a serious voice. “We can bring that lamp I don’t want,” Greg said. Arriving at the New Haven Salvation Army, they fanned out and searched the aisles for flared jeans, bell bottoms, tapered shirts with pointed collars, anything reminiscent of the 1970s. Greg found a marigold shirt with a brown floral pattern and a pointed collar that fit him perfectly. He made for the register. “I haven’t seen one of these in a long time,” the cashier said as he counted out change.

In a few hours, Greg and Liz were shooting footage for a music video of their two-piano paraphrase of the Bee Gees song Stayin’ Alive.

... Greg and Liz take an iconoclastic pleasure in smashing through the stereotype of classical music as a tame and harmless anachronism. They want audiences to have powerful, visceral reactions to their music. After hearing their exuberantly virtuosic take on Strauss’ Blue Danube Waltz at a concert in Oregon, one woman in the audience leapt to her feet and shouted “Now that’s a waltz!”

Read the entire article here.

an innate necessity

We receive a hefty number of wonderful emails, both positive and negative, and we thank everyone who takes the time to share their thoughts with us.

I admit, however, to taking offense when our artistic integrity is called into question. Our websites and videos have never been about show-biz, nor are they simply about virtuosity. They were not created as gimmicks or to be clever.

They were born out of an innate necessity.

Our websites, videos, performances, and compositions are an outcome of the spirit and joy inherent in music-making. They are the result of our desire to create real and authentic links with our audiences.

Our videos are not intended to be clever or “rock-style;” they are designed to enhance the meaning of the music performed. The "Pas de deux" video, for example, aims to intensify the intimacy and nostalgia already inherent in the music. Similarly, our video of the New Account of the Blue Danube Waltzes intends to visually dramatize what the music already conveys: as we wrote in our album’s liner notes, “our kaleidoscopic Blue Danube Fantasy takes the elegance of the Viennese waltz as a point of departure and plunges headlong into the passions that undulate beneath the dance's restrained facade.” We created the "Reimagine" trailers to represent, in a few short minutes, the impact and drama of the entire album and to encourage viewers to invest in the full production, just as a movie trailer intends to do.

Our compositions and arrangements are not pianistically challenging merely for the sake of virtuosity. For example, we wrote the hand crossings into our Libertango arrangement to visually communicate an element of danger: the racing heartbeats, the physical friction, and the charged chemistry between a pair of tango dancers. Many of our compositions and arrangements for four-hands are designed to withstand the demands of a 2000-seat concert hall, unlike so many works from the four-hand repertoire more suited for a living room; this also changes the way we approach the compositional process.

We do not select repertoire to be sensational; we select music that speaks to us, music that we love, and music that makes a statement. When asked to replace John Williams as composers for a Juilliard centennial concert, we chose to use the iconic Star Wars music as our source material for a very simple reason: we love the music. We really do. And we found great joy in making this music our own.

Our presence on the Internet is not simply about self-promotion; we maintain a strong presence on the Internet because we feel it is an effective way to share and discuss music with people, especially young people. It is an exceptional tool with the power to galvanize new classical music listeners. The questions and answers on our website, and the polling booth for that matter, are designed to give us an opportunity to communicate directly with our audiences (we hope to relate to our audiences as real people and not some aloof automatons on stage).

Everything we do is a result of our mission:

To connect with others; to engage, provoke, illuminate; to serve as a conduit for the composer’s voice; to authentically 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. …to demonstrate that classical piano music can serve as a relevant and powerful force in society.

All that we do as musicians is geared toward these goals, is inspired by these goals, and is fueled by these goals.

If we were doing it all for gimmickry or attention, we wouldn’t have accomplished nearly as much (in fact, we’d be downright bored), and we’re confident it wouldn’t be nearly as good.

Questions from Daniel Baker

Dear Greg and Liz,
What would you say is your mission, exactly? You're both excellent pianists who try to break the mold and expose wider audiences to classical music, but I'd like to hear it in your words. And, on another, fairly unrelated subject, what do you know of the Liszt two piano versions of the operatic fantasies? I think that the antiphonal possibilities are gorgeously exploited in Norma, for example. Thanks
- Daniel Baker

Dear Daniel,

We defined our mission several years ago, and it has literally shaped all of our decisions as individuals, as musicians, and as a team. So, bombs away:

Greg & Liz's mission:

  • 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
  • To demonstrate that classical piano music can serve as a relevant and powerful force in society

As for Reminiscences de Norma, we urge you to purchase Greg's solo album, "On Wings of Song!" You'll find Greg playing the solo version there, and he continues to perform the work on many of his solo concerts. It would be unnecessarily confusing for him to learn both versions of the piece: a recipe for disaster. (It would be pretty embarrassing to slip into the two-piano version in the middle of a solo recital!) Similarly, although we used to play Ravel's La Valse in its two-piano version, we took it out of our performing repertoire when Liz started playing the solo version in concerts and competitions. Too confusing.

You're right; the antiphonal possibilities are wonderful in the two-piano version of Reminiscences de Norma, but (and a big "but" here), if we were to ever perform the work, Greg would insist upon recreating the six-or-so minutes of music that Liszt cut from the solo version in arranging the work. Liszt cut Greg's favorite arias (and the arias that add the most dramatic weight to the paraphrase, no less)!

Thanks for your interest in our work!