Piano By Nature

Our exciting two days of performances at “Piano by Nature” in Elizabethtown NY is only several days away.  Tomorrow is our final rehearsal and we are ready to go.

The local paper “Lake Champlain Weekly” did a wonderful story  about our upcoming concerts: Four Hands, One Dream – “Piano by Nature” presents Duo Venti Dita

We are getting our GPS all charged up in the direction of Northern New York State and hoping that nature will be kind to us and provide us with  beautiful weather.  If not we are not so lucky it still will be an exciting weekend!!! Hopefully we will get some beautiful pictures.

(MR)

Lake Champlain 1 Lake Champlain 2 copy 2 Lake Champlain 3 Lake Champlain 4

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“Child In The Garden” is coming!!!

By the early spring of 2012 we added a number of new works of contemporary composers to our repertoire and had several performances. At that time we decided that it would be really cool to record our own CD with all the wonderful, rarely heard music that we had studied and performed.

fredthecatcd copy

Fred the Cat

jennifercastellano copy

Spectrum

A number of years ago I recorded 2 CD’s of music by Alan Hovhaness for Koch International Classics and Jennifer had just recorded a CD of her music titled “Spectrum” at Purchase College, her Alma Mater and suggested that we could do it there. This turned out to be a great idea.

We had three Thursday morning recording sessions during June, 2012, one of the hottest periods of last summer. Each week we had a specific goal. Since Jennifer had experience from working on her own CD just a year earlier, she took the recordings home to listen, picked the best takes, and sent them to me with suggestions (yes, she is the one with perfect pitch).

For the most part we agreed on what to use on the CD and what to re-record the following week. After recording, we had 3 sessions with our wonderful engineer and producer, Andy Cardenas, who did the editing, mixing and mastering and handled us a completed gold master.  I was so impressed when he removed some quiet background noise (sounded like a door) out of Jennifer’s Lullaby.

He also suggested that we get a name for our duo and something to do with 20 fingers. We decided that 20 fingers sounded the best in Italian and this was the official birth of Piano Duo Venti Dita. We still had to pick a title for the CD, write liner notes, purchase mechanical licensing and create the CD cover.

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Vision of a Starry Night

We did have several offers from various record companies, but we decided to self-produce the CD due to the costs involved with working with labels and selected Disc Makers from Pennsauken, NJ to complete our project. Since most traditional record stores are gone, we knew that if we did a descent job of self-promoting our CD it would sell fine and it has surprisingly done so.

The title “Child in the Garden” came from the Alan Hovhaness work on our CD. Since my wife Beata did covers for 2 my previous CD’s there was no question that she would be the author of this one also. She created a wonderful, naïve, almost childlike cover that includes a child, a cat (which represents me – I have 3 cats) and a parrot (which represents Jennifer who has 2 parrots) in a garden.

We never dreamed that our CD would make the best seller list!!

We never dreamed that our CD would make the best seller list!!

It was an exciting, often stressful adventure to self-produce the CD.

album art

Child in the Garden

However we are both happy with it and it has received many wonderful comments from people whom have heard it. And yes, it has been on the bestselling lists of CD Baby, who is our distributor. (MR)

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New Page is coming!

The new Page “Upcoming and Past Events” is only partially ready, however past performances and events are on this new page.
In the next few days I will tell you a bit more about our CD as well as information about our exciting upcoming 2 days of performances in the Adirondack Mountains as part of the series “Piano By Nature.”

(MR)

pianobynature

Posted in New Music for 4 Hands, New Music for Piano, Performance, Piano Duo, Piano Duo Venti Dita | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The beginning!

Piano Duo Venti Dita began after April 18, 2010 the date of a recital by pianist, Max Lifchitz, at St. Stephen’s Church in New York City.  My wife and I attended this concert, which presented piano works by NY Woman Composers and included Jennifer’s “Sketches”.

I really liked Jennifer’s music and since I am always looking for new piano repertoire as well new works to broadcast on Classical Discoveries I contacted Jennifer to inquire about her music.

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Marvin and Jennifer at WPRB

A few days later I received a package of private recordings that I have broadcast over the years. In addition, I invited Jennifer, who has similar musical tastes as mine, to be a guest on my program at WPRB in August.  Her story as a visually and hearing impaired pianist and composer is not only fascinating but also very inspirational as well.

A few weeks later Jennifer asked me if I would like to try some piano duo music and thought “Wow, what an awesome idea.”

Hovhaness

Alan Hovhaness transcriptions for piano 4 hands of Psalm and Fugue

 

What excitement it was when I discovered that there was a transcription for piano 4 hands one of great works for string orchestra by Alan Hovhaness – “Psalm and Fugue” by young composer Niccolo Athens, for which we got permission to perform.

I actually performed other Hovhaness duo works with his protégé and very dear friend of mine – Shoghere Markarian, but she passed away a few years ago.

Since I live in Princeton and Jennifer lives in Westchester County (NY) we found an inexpensive place in midtown Manhattan for our rehearsals.

Our first rehearsal included Hovhaness’s  “Psalm and Fugue” and “Child in the Garden” and it actually went quite well.

Our name “Piano Duo Venti Dita” came later. There will be more about this in our next blog, which will be coming very soon. Remember it is a mini-series. We don’t want to give away all of the punch lines away at once!!!!!  (MR)

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Hello, We are back!

Jennifer Castellano

Jennifer Castellano

Even though we have posted short announcements on our blog, it has been difficult for us to do a full-fledged blog. Jennifer and I have been extremely busy!!

I have been very involved with my teaching and radio shows and have been catching up with my personal affairs that I have no time for during the school year.

Jennifer has been working extra hours at her job as well as on her Braille Certification that will make her one of only about 50 Braille Music Transcribers in the country.

Marvin Rosen

Marvin Rosen

Since we have not posted much since Venti Dita began, we will try to catch up by discussing how we started, our CD recording and what is coming up.  (M.R)

Posted in New Music for Piano, Piano Duo, Uncategorized, Venti Dita | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

PIano Duo Venti Dita CD Release Party

Piano Duo Venti Dita

Piano Duo Venti Dita

Piano Duo Venti Dita will perform selections from their first CD Child in the Garden: Contemporary Music for Piano 4 Hands.  Included will be selections from the new CD as well as other works for piano 4 hands. The CD includes music by Norman Dello Joio, Alan Hovhaness, Franco Antonio Mirenzi, Jennifer Castellano, Urmas Sisask, Morton Feldman, Andrew Rudin and Romualds Jermaks. Refreshments will be served.

For further information please call the library at (914) 769-0548

 

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CD Release – Child in the Garden: Contemporary Music for Piano 4 Hands

album artPiano Duo Venti Dita is proud and excited to announce the release of their first recording titled Child in the Garden: Contemporary Music for Piano 4 Hands.  The recording includes music by American composers as well as works from Estonia, Italy and Latvia.

The CD is available for purchase at CD Baby.

To commemorate the occasion they will be presenting special concerts that will highlight  works from the recording.  Stay tuned for further details

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