For thirty years since 1989 pianists Rūta Rikterė and Zbignevas Ibelhauptas have been ardent champions of music for two pianos. Their innovative and gripping programmes, openness towards broad multicultural contexts and an unhackneyed approach to the interpretation of various musical styles are the features that have always kept their audiences keen with expectations. Known for seizing every opportunity to pamper its listeners with virtuoso stunts, the piano duo fits perfectly within the rigid standards of classical music performance, but at the same time makes bold forays into the uncharted territories of new music.
The duo has given recitals in Switzerland, Italy, France, Germany, Slovenia, Ireland, Canada and Japan. Both pianists are the prize-winners of the International M. K. Čiurlionis Piano Competition. In 1991, they won the “Roma” International Piano Competition in the section for piano duos. The duo was also awarded Lithuanian National Prize for Culture and Art in 1997.
For their anniversary programme, entitled “Dances for Two Pianos,” Rikterė and Ibelhauptas made a selection of dances and romances by Norwegian, Spanish, Lithuanian, Argentinian and British composers. Rūta Rikterė says, “this programme was conceived to suit the tastes of both professionals and music lovers. As usual, we prioritize music by Lithuanian composers and try to include at least one Lithuanian piece in our performances. We decided to celebrate our thirtieth anniversary with glee and hence culled out genres that would suit the occasion, such as dances and romances. Of course, with each new programme we are up for new challenges. Since we can’t dance or sing, Zbignevas chaffed, the genres we had selected would at least represent these activities. When speaking about challenges, we will perform Michael Nyman’s Water Dances composed as music for Peter Greenaway’s film Making a Splash. This film is a short documentary about water and human relationship with it, culminating with a synchronised swimming sequence. We are going to play only two movements from this music. Nyman is classically trained composer but he managed to earn and retain wide popular appeal.”