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Classical Double Act

Albek twins stage chamber music benefit

Fiona (left) and Ambra Albek.

Fiona (left) and Ambra Albek.

By JEFFARAH GIBSON

Tribune Features Writer

jgibson@tribunemedia.net

CONCERTGOERS will be forgiven for thinking they are seeing double when they enjoy Swiss-Italian sisters Ambra and Fiona Albek performing this week.

The identical twins are passionate classical musicians who love to give back and have jumped at the opportunity to host a free concert that will benefit The Children’s Haven of the Bahamas.

Being able to give back in a meaningful way through music this holiday season is one of the best ways for the Albek Duo to spread seasonal cheer.

Ambra, who plays violin and viola, and pianist Fiona are excited to be back in the Bahamas at this time of year to host the special performance on Thursday, December 10, when they hope to bring joy to all those who attend the “Evening of Music” at St Paul the Apostle Catholic Church Lyford Cay. The event begins at 6pm. Admission for the benefit concert and reception is free; however people who wish to make a donation in support of the Children’s Haven can do so.

Guests will be treated to a number of chamber music selections including Johannes Brahms’ Scherzo in C minor, and César Auguste Franck’s Sonata.

The Children’s Haven is a non-profit organisation that aims to empower the youth through education. Their mission is to reignite hope in young persons through an after-school programme that includes tutoring, meal provision, art, music and competitive sports training.

“We are extremely excited to perform for such a worthy cause,” said Ambra Albek. “The Bahamas has always been close to our hearts and we jumped at the opportunity to give back in a meaningful way.”

Annamarie Albek, their mother who resides in the Bahamas, said Ambra and Fiona offered to perform and give back to the charity because they “love being able to help and share their music”.

“They just recently gave a concert in Switzerland for a charity and now they are doing it again here in The Bahamas,” Mrs Albek said. “They love to help, they love music and they love being able to share their music.”

The Albek sisters have been playing music together since their early childhood. They graduated from the Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana in Lugano and thereafter in the respective virtuosity classes at the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste in Zurich.

Both obtained Masters degrees with distinction in piano chamber music at the International Piano Academy in Imola, Italy, under Pier Narciso Masi. Their mentors were Alberto Lysy, Peter Rybar, Igor Karsko, Rudolf Koelman, Keiko Wataya (violin), Wendy Champney (viola), Nora Doallo, Friedemann Rieger, Sergio Fiorentino (piano) and others.

Ambra and Fiona have participated in numerous international festivals throughout Europe, the United States, Australia, South America and China and earned superb reviews. American composer William Perry described them as umatched “for beauty of expression and depth of musicianship ... plus a captivating stage presence and the ability to communicate the sheer joy of music-making to their audiences”. And one Italian newspaper said their performance in Assisi was “full of grace, bravura and originality in a demanding programme”, capturing the public’s attention “with their spontaneous freshness and interesting programme choices”.

They perform both as a duo and in other chamber music formations, as well as playing solo duo with orchestra accompaniment. Several composers have written expressly for them, including William Perry and Alessandro Lucchetti.

The duo has recorded South of the Alps (with Eroica), Sound in Search of a Past, Roaring Dramas (with VdeGallo) and the Gemini concerto for violin, piano and orchestra (with Naxos).

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