Who: Pianist Steven Vanhauwaert is one half of the piano duo 4handsLA. Vanhauwaert and 4HandsLA partner Danny Holt are also active soloists who have performed in such hallowed venues as Carnegie Hall and Walt Disney Concert Hall. Vanhauwaert has previously performed in Bend, including a 2014 concert by his Vanchestein-Park-Vanhauwaert Trio, but their performance at 7:30 p.m. May 18 at Bend Church — High Desert Chamber Music’s final concert of the 2017-18 season — will mark their first joint effort in Central Oregon. The program, “Variations on America,” includes works by Leonard Bernstein, Charles Ives, Aaron Copland and George Gershwin, some of which Holt arranged for four hands, which is two players on one piano. General admission tickets are $42, $10 for students and children. Contact: highdesertchambermusic.com.
Q: How did you two meet?
A: We met in 2009. A festival in Los Angeles asked us to play Stravinsky, the “Rite of Spring” for four hands. We did not know each other, and we both sort of took a chance. We rehearsed, and we really hit it off. We’ve ended up playing that piece probably a hundred times over the last 10 years. We’ve recorded it, we’ve done a bunch of CDs and we’ve stuck strong together throughout the years.
Q: Whose idea was it for you to take piano lessons? Was that something you wanted to do, or did your parents want you to?
A: My parents had a piano when I was growing up, and I would just tickle around with it. I didn’t start actual lessons until later, but I’ve basically been playing for as long as I can remember. And I’ve been passionate about it ever since.
Q: What’s the biggest challenge of playing four hands?
A: We like it because there are some physical limitations — meaning you have to sit more to the left or more to the right of the piano than you usually would if you were playing by yourself, just to accommodate the other person. There are some physical ways in which you have to adjust your playing, lift up your hand, or go more forward. There’s a choreographed dance part of that, in a sense, which we both like. … We like the sharing of one soundboard, and basically one piano, because you’re closer together and there’s a much more visceral energy, which is more enjoyable than playing on two pianos.
— David Jasper, The Bulletin