Alessio Bax & Lucille Chung, Master Pianists
Presented By The Friends Of Chamber Music Kansas City
The real-life marriage of concert pianists Alessio Bax and Lucille Chung, with their abundant artistic chemistry, passion, and stunning virtuosity, has led to one of the most appealing and impressive piano duos of our time. In the words of the UK magazine Music and Arts, “Theirs is a marriage of wondrous colours and dextrous aplomb, subtly balanced to make a musical performance sound as one.”
Alessio Bax is praised for creating “a ravishing listening experience” with his lyrical playing, insightful interpretations, and dazzling facility. First Prize winner at the Leeds and Hamamatsu international piano competitions, a 2009 Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient, and a winner of Lincoln Center’s Emerging Artist Award, he has appeared as soloist with more than 120 orchestras, including London Symphony, Royal Philharmonic, Dallas and Houston Symphonies, NHK Symphony in Japan, St. Petersburg Philharmonic with Yuri Temirkanov, and the City of Birmingham Symphony with Sir Simon Rattle. His much-lauded discography includes Italian Inspirations, an eclectic recital inspired by his native country, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5, an album of Russian favorites by Scriabin and Mussorgsky, Mozart Piano Concertos K. 491 and K. 595, Beethoven’s Hammerklavier and Moonlight Sonatas, Alessio Bax Plays Brahms, Rachmaninov: Preludes & Melodies (an American Record Guide “Critics’ Choice”), Bach Transcribed, and Baroque Reflections (a Gramophone “Editor’s Choice”). He also released the collection Lullabies for Mila on Signum Classics, which also features Chung and is dedicated to their young daughter, born in 2014.
First Prize winner of the Stravinsky International Piano Competition, Lucille Chung has been celebrated for her “stylish and refined” performances by Gramophone. She was born in Montreal, and made her debut at the age of ten with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, after which Charles Dutoit invited her as soloist on the orchestra’s tour to Asia. She has since performed with orchestras around the world, including Philadelphia Orchestra, Moscow Virtuosi, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Seoul Philharmonic, Dallas Symphony, and Israel Chamber Orchestra, as well as all the major orchestras in Canada, among them the Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver Symphonies and National Arts Centre Orchestra. She has appeared with conductors such as Krzysztof Penderecki, Vladimir Spivakov, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and Vasily Petrenko. Her solo discography includes the first volume of her recording of György Ligeti’s complete piano works on the Dynamic label, as well as Camille Saint-Saëns: Piano Transcriptions, Mozart & Me, as well as an all-Poulenc and an all-Liszt albums for Signum Classics.
The second volume of Chung’s Ligeti project on the Dynamic label comprises his works for piano four hands and two pianos, and marks the first recorded collaboration between Bax & Chung. The disc garnered the maximum R10 Classica from the French magazine Répertoire and five stars from Fono Forum in Germany. In 2006, the duo released Saint-Saëns’s Carnival of the Animals with the Fort Worth Symphony under Miguel Harth-Bedoya, with Michael York as narrator. Bax & Chung: Piano Duo appeared on Signum Classics in 2013, pairing Stravinsky’s four-hand version of his ballet Pétrouchka with music by Brahms and Piazzolla.
Together, Bax & Chung have performed in major festivals and concert halls around the world; in 2008 alone, they logged 20,000 miles by train as they toured their four-hand Pétrouchka across the far reaches of Stravinsky’s homeland. They have appeared at international festivals including Verbier in Switzerland; Við Djúpið in Iceland; the opening concert of Chungmu Hall in Seoul, Korea; the Pau Casals, Castilla y León, Torroella de Montgrí, and Pamplona International Festivals in Spain; Salon-de-Provence in France; the Felicja Blumental Festival in Tel Aviv; Lübecker Kammermusikfest, Moritzburg, and Schloss Elmau in Germany; Duszniki Chopin in Poland; Ottawa International Chamber Festival in Canada; and Music@Menlo, Mainly Mozart, and Bard Music Festival in the U.S.; besides giving performances in Aruba, Australia, Barbados, China, Cyprus, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Italy, Palestine, Russia, and the United Kingdom. In recent seasons they have performed at New York’s Lincoln Center; the Chopin Society in Saint Paul, MN; Spivey Hall in Atlanta; Dumbarton Oaks series in Washington, DC; Sala São Paulo in Brazil; at Italy’s Incontri in Terra di Siena Festival, where Bax assumed the role of Artistic Director in 2017; and at Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, playing Mozart’s Concerto for Two Pianos with the Filarmónica de Buenos Aires.
After meeting at the 1997 Hamamatsu Competition, Bax & Chung carried on a courtship by telephone and email while on separate tours, eventually marrying in 2004. Besides their individual solo careers and their newest duo collaboration as parents of six-year-old Mila, they are also co-artistic directors of the Joaquín Achúcarro Foundation in Dallas, Texas, created to cultivate the legacy of the Basque pianist and to support young pianists’ careers.