Duo Parnas strings to perform in SUNY Oswego, Pulaski concerts


March 21, 2016

The internationally accomplished sisters of Duo Parnas will take the stage Wednesday, April 6, at SUNY Oswego as well as the following day at Pulaski Congregational Church, a cooperative booking that helps two concert series offer a violin-cello ensemble that has attracted rave reviews.

The Ke-Nekt Chamber Music Series will feature violinist Madalyn Parnas and cellist Cicely Parnas in a 7:30 p.m. concert April 6 in Sheldon Hall ballroom, with a preconcert talk scheduled for 7. The sisters then will perform at 7:30 p.m. April 7 in the LaVeck Concert Series in Pulaski.

Robert Auler, a SUNY Oswego music faculty member and director of the LaVeck series, said he met the Parnas sisters five years ago at an artists showcase at Skidmore College. Host of both upcoming performances, Auler will accompany on piano.

“They are world-class, so sometimes that means an ensemble is hard to book,” said Auler, emphasizing the importance of cooperating with SUNY Oswego’s arts presenter, John Shaffer, in securing their dual appearances.

Shaffer, director of the college’s Artswego organization, said collaborating to bring top talent to Oswego County makes sense and has precedence in past joint residencies such as those of Miro Quartet and Imani Winds. “It’s been gratifying to watch the development of an independent music series in Northern Oswego County. Two are better than one when it comes to sharing artistic resources and community effort,” Shaffer said. “This engagement by Duo Parnas proves the point.”

The New York Times cited Duo Parnas’ “electrifying reading,” “lush tone” and “pinpoint precision.” The Rochester Times-Union, reviewing “Duo Parnas Now,” an eclectic CD highlighting the work of living composers, called it “full of elegance and personality.”

For the concerts here, the duo plans a repertoire that includes “Sonatine for Violin and Cello in E minor, H. 80” by Arthur Honegger, “Violin Sonata Op 27 No. 2” by Eugène Ysaÿe, “Suite for Solo Cello” by Gaspar Cassadó, “Piano Trio Op. 1 No. 1” by Ludwig van Beethoven and “Duo for Violin and Cello Op. 7” by Maurice Ravel.

Musical upbringing

Madalyn and Cicely Parnas debuted when they were ages 12 and 11, respectively, with the Woodstock Chamber Orchestra. They have toured as guest soloists with the French Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire and performed in many cities. Their musical instruments are more than 400 years old: Madalyn performs on a 1715 Alessandro Gagliano violin, while Cicely plays a 1712 Giovanni Grancino cello.

After learning and practicing together throughout their childhood in Stephentown, Rensselaer County, the sisters—granddaughters of renowned cellist Leslie Parnas—earned artist diplomas from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music.

Madalyn received a master’s degree in violin performance from London’s Royal Academy of Music, where she studied as a 2012 Marshall Scholar. She performs with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Alexandria and Schenectady symphonies. Cicely has performed with symphonies in Michigan, New York, Quebec and elsewhere. She made her Carnegie Hall concerto debut in 2012 with the New York String Orchestra.

Tickets for Duo Parnas and other performances in the Ke-Nekt Chamber Music Series are $15 ($5 for all students), available at campus box offices or online at tickets.oswego.edu. Parking is included in the price of a ticket and is available in the lots adjacent to Sheldon Hall and across Washington Boulevard from it. For information on more SUNY Oswego fine arts programs, visit oswego.edu/arts.

The suggested donation for LaVeck Concerts is $10 ($5 for students), though no donation is required for admission. LaVeck Concerts honor the memory of longtime Pulaski musician and teacher Rhea LaVeck. For more information, contact info@laveckconcerts.org.

PHOTO CAPTION: Double feature—Duo Parnas, featuring Madalyn Parnas on violin and Cicely Parnas on cello, will appear at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 6, at Sheldon Hall ballroom in SUNY Oswego’s Ke-Nekt Chamber Music Series and at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 7, at Pulaski Congregational Church in the LaVeck Concert Series.