Hosted by composer Abbie Betinis, our popular Courtroom Concerts take place at noon most Thursdays in the Landmark Center in downtown Saint Paul. This series features accomplished musicians and composers from the Twin Cities and surrounding area, as well as occasional musical newcomers to the area. These one-hour concerts are free and open to the public.
About the Artists
“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, where they also received a special prize for the best performance of a commissioned work by composer Paul Schoenfield. 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. They have also been praised for their collaboration with acclaimed puppeteer Basil Twist’s production of Petrouchka, which returned for a much-awaited engagement at New York’s Lincoln Center in 2008 and has been performed throughout the United States.
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. Julia is also on the faculty of the Century College, and Irina is starting to teach at the University of St. Thomas this year. The highlights of this season also include their opening of the MacPhail Spotlight series and their rendition of the rarely performed Mendelssohn Two Piano Concerto.