Performance | Italy / Canada

We hope someone is watering the plants at Alessio Bax and Lucille Chung’s New York home, because the couple clocks up serious air miles. As a concerto soloist, Bax has appeared with more than 100 prominent orchestras. Gramophone hailed him ‘among the most remarkable young pianists now before the public’.

Chung made her debut, aged 10, with the Montréal Symphony Orchestra, and has performed as a recitalist in over 30 countries, in venues such as New York’s Carnegie Hall and the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. The couple met at the Hamamatsu International Piano Competition and played for each other in their downtime; Chung picked the Liszt Sonata, Bax went for El Amor y la Muerte, and that was that. Now about 20 per cent of their performances are as a duo.

Their performance in Castlemaine is Italian-themed: Mozart’s Sonata K.521 in C major for piano (four hands); Poulenc’s Sonata for piano (four hands); Stravinsky’s Petrushka, complete ballet (four hands); and their own arrangement of Piazzolla’s Two Tangos: Milonga del Angel and Libertango. If you’re wondering what the Italian connection to Stravinsky is, the character Petrushka takes its roots from the Commedia dell’arte tradition. As for Piazzolla, the composer was Argentinean, but his parents were Italian.

‘The audience hung off their every note and was left wanting for more.’