Audrey Andrist and Lisa Emenheiser light up the keys at UMBC
Artist Audrey Andrist, pictured above, is a UMBC faculty member and accomplished pianist. Photo by Tom Radcliffe.

Audrey Andrist and Lisa Emenheiser light up the keys at UMBC

This past Wednesday, Audrey Andrist and Lisa Emenheiser performed various musical compositions on piano for an eager UMBC crowd at the Linehan Concert Hall.

Andrist, born in Canada, has performed all over the world and even boasts a Masters and Doctoral degree from the prestigious Juilliard School of Music. While she is currently a member of the group “Strata,” she is also a faculty member of UMBC, and thus represented our school’s music program.

As for Emenheiser, she is best known for her work with the National Symphony Orchestra, where she has been performing for the past twenty-five years. In addition, she has also worked extensively with the Kennedy Center, along with being a part of the Opus 3 Trio and an award-winning teacher.

The show opened up with a performance of “The Rite of Spring” by Igor Stravinsky. Interestingly enough, the composer wrote this duet with the intentions of it being played on a single piano, as during that time it was rare for a studio to have two pianos. The performers decided to stay true to history and play the piece on the same piano.

The tempo ranged from rapid to relaxed in an instant, and the artists transitioned back and forth seamlessly, frantically crossing hands to hit the proper notes. Each song of the composition was technical and detailed, as the entire piece took well over twenty minutes, yet the two artists showed no signs of fatigue. The countless hours likely spent to to prepare for such a piece–not only in skill, but also endurance–was incredibly admirable.

Following intermission, the duo then assumed their own separate pianos and performed “Suite No.2, op. 17” by Sergei Rachmaninoff, followed by a duet for “Slavonic Dances, op. 46” by Antonin Dvorak. The pieces were a pleasant mixture of both relaxed and serious tones. They displayed astounding dexterity, as they were able to adjust to all the nuances of the songs so seamlessly and quickly, giving the songs a cohesion that told a story to the audience.

The chemistry between Andrist and Emenheiser was imminent throughout the entire concert. With every ounce of emotion and intensity being matched by one another with each passing note, their entire bodies moving with passion for their work. When the two struck notes in unison it was powerful and felt throughout the entire hall.

They played their hearts out and the result was truly remarkable. The entire audience could tell countless hours of careful rehearsal were put into this show. By the end, Andrist and Emenheiser were celebrated with a well-deserved standing ovation by the crowd in appreciation for the true musical excellence that they put on display.