“Simply dazzling” is the way the American Record Guide has described the Elkina Piano Duo. Having played together since the age of five, Russian-born identical twins Julia and Irina Elkina are praised for their “truly remarkable oneness” by critics who also recognize that “each is a formidable pianist in her own right.” The Elkina twins won the top prize in The Fourth Murray Dranoff International Two Piano Competition. They have performed throughout the United States, making their New York debut in 1996 and playing return engagements there and in San Francisco, Chicago, Minneapolis/Saint Paul, Miami, and New Orleans, just to name a few. The twins have appeared at numerous festivals including Ravinia, the Gilmore Keyboard Festival, the Oregon Bach Festival, and the Minnesota Orchestra’s Sommerfest, and have performed with such conductors as Hugh Wolff and Bobby McFerrin.
The Elkinas have been heard on National Public Radio and many public radio stations nationwide including the award-winning weekly series Saint Paul Sunday, Performance Today, and A Prairie Home Companion. Irina and Julia have been praised for their collaboration with the acclaimed Basil Twist’s puppet production Petrouchka, which returned for a much-awaited engagement at New York’s Lincoln Center in 2008. It has been performed throughout the United States with most recent performances in Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington DC. This season upcoming engagements include performances as a part of MacPhail Spotlight series and an appearance with Century community college orchestra where Julia teaches. The sisters studied under Professor Alexander Braginsky at the University of Minnesota, where they earned their Doctoral Degrees in Piano Performance. They both are currently on the piano faculty of MacPhail Center for Music.
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About the Host
Composer Abbie Betinis writes music called “inventive, richly melodic” (The New York Times), “superb, whirling, soaring” (Tacoma News Tribune), and “the highlight” of the program (Boston Globe). With over 50 commissioned works for ensembles such as Cantus, the New England Philharmonic, and The Rose Ensemble, Abbie has been awarded a McKnight Composer Fellowship, grants from the American Composers Forum, ASCAP, and Jerome Foundation, and was recently listed in NPR Music’s Top 100 Composers Under 40. A resident of Saint Paul, she is adjunct professor of composition at Concordia University, and was composer-in-residence with the Schubert Club from 2005-2017.