Music Professor Wins Big At International Festival
Nov. 23, 2020
SHSU Media Contact: Emily Binetti
By Jackie Swan
Sam Houston State University Assistant Professor of Piano Diego Caetano and his performance partner violinist Evgeny Zvonnikov were awarded first prize, also known as the “Bonn Prize,” for their submission to the International Music Competition. This honor includes an invitation to perform at the 250th birthday celebration of Beethoven at his home in Bonn, Germany.
“We decided to apply because it was an online competition with no travel. We knew it would be hard because people would send their best work in their videos with no mistakes or things that normally happen with live performances that would put the candidates at a disadvantage,” said Caetano. “So, the level is usually much higher in online competitions. For our first competition together, it was great to be recognized as a first prize winner. It is a reassurance that we are on the right track, and that our love for the repertoire and chamber music can speak for itself.”
Caetano joined forces with Zvonnikov in early 2017 after the two met at a rehearsal for Chamber Music Amarillo in Amarillo, Texas. During a practice break, they continued to play together and discovered they had quite the musical chemistry. Their chamber group, “Duo Lispector” was born.
The name is a tribute to legendary novelist Clarice Lispector, who shared ties to both of their home countries having been born in the USSR (now, Russia) and raised in Brazil. Since their formation, Duo Lispector has taken the stage in the USA, Brazil, Mexico, Russia and several parts of Europe.
“One of the most picturesque places we have played was in the Amazon Forest, Manaus in Brazil. It was unbelievable,” said Caetano. “Even for us Brazilians, it is very hard and very expensive to go there, so I had never been. Another place we performed was the house of the great Russian composer Rimsky-Korsakov in Saint-Petersburg, Russia, which now is a museum and concert hall. We have been very lucky to have the opportunity to travel and share our love for chamber music.”
Despite the global pandemic preventing them from touring, Duo Lispector maintains big plans with a debut album release set for 2021 featuring music for violin and piano by Ibero-American composers. Caetano and Zvonnikov hope to continue traveling next year as well, although they remain realistic with COVID-19 restrictions.
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