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9/11/2006 Pair of two-piano concerts on tap at Linfield

McMINNVILLE - Two pianos, four pianists, eight hands and two concerts will kick off the Linfield College music season Sept. 29 and 30.

The two performances, held during Linfield's Homecoming Weekend, will be at 8 p.m. in the newly renovated Richard and Lucille Ice Auditorium (formally Melrose Auditorium) in Melrose Hall. A pre-concert lecture will be presented by Faun Tiedge, Music Department chair, on Sept. 30 at 7 p.m. in Jonasson Hall, lower level of Melrose Hall.

On Friday, Sept. 29, Linfield seniors Ethan Barske of Anchorage, Alaska, and Chris Engbretson of Kenmore, Wash., will present "Music for Two Pianos." They will perform works by Tailleferre and Brahms, and as a special feature, Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring."

The second two-piano recital, held on Saturday, Sept. 30, will feature Jill Timmons, professor of music and artist-in-residence, and Seattle pianist Judith Cohen. They will perform music by Tansman, Poulenc, Bach, Lutoslawski and Liszt, and will be joined by Barske and Engbretson for "Grand Galop," an eight-hand piece and the program's final number.

The program is challenging for student and professional pianists alike.

"In the two-piano repertoire, these are some of the pinnacle works," Timmons said. "Not many pianists are at home with Stravinsky's own two-piano arrangement of 'The Rite of Spring.' Our students, however, bring all the color of the orchestra to the two pianos and handle the rhythmic complexity very well."

During the weekend, Cohen will also give a master class for Linfield students. Timmons said collaborative experiences such as these are hallmarks of Linfield's Music Department.

"To be able to perform with your students is wonderful," she said. "This is something special we can do at a campus of Linfield's size."

Timmons and Cohen have performed as a piano duo since 1999. They have appeared extensively throughout the United States, providing master classes and residencies for solo and ensemble pianists. "In Tandem," their first CD, was released in 2003. A second CD devoted entirely to the works of the twentieth century will be released in the spring.

Timmons has performed internationally as both a solo and ensemble artist. Her recitals at Carnegie Recital Hall, Merkin Hall and the National Gallery of Art received public acclaim. In the United States, Timmons has toured under the auspices of the National Endowment for the Arts, was a grant recipient from the NEA and has been heard on National Public Radio. She is a frequent guest artist for summer festivals and has performed at such venues as Tanglewood, the Olympic Music Festival and Cheango Musikfest.

Cohen is an award-winning pianist who has performed internationally and extensively throughout the Northwest. She released her first commercial recording in 1988 and has since released three CDs featuring solo and chamber music. Since 1989, she has served as artistic director of the Governor's Chamber Music Series in Washington.

Barske, who majors in music and mathematics, is active as a pianist on campus and in the community, performing for various religious events, civic organizations and student recitals. He interned with the Seattle Symphony last summer, studying sound engineering and recording. He performs with the Emeralds, a bluegrass and jazz group, which released a CD in 2004.

Engbretson, a piano performance major, participates in local and regional competitions. For seven consecutive years, he received the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Seattle Young Artists Music Festival. He also received the Piano Award from the Oregon Music Teachers Scholarship Competition and was a winner of Portland's Monday Musical Club Scholarship Auditions.

Maurice Unis of Classic Pianos in Portland is providing an additional nine-foot concert grand piano for the weekend, a remarkable gesture, according to Timmons.

"We are fortunate to have the support of Classic Pianos, both for this concert and for their ongoing assistance to our department," she said.

Both performances are free and open to the public. For more information, call the Linfield Music Department at 503-883-2275.