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Debbi Wyse pre­pares for her upcoming concert.
Courtesy | Debbi Wyse

Debbi Wyse and Kristi Gautsche will be playing their final duo piano on the Hillsdale Campus on Feb. 12 and 13th at 8pm in the Plaster Audi­torium. The program is titled “Mosaic” because Wyse and Gautsche are hoping to create a musical mosaic from dif­ferent styles and time periods.

“We took mosaic as an art form and the idea that you have a foun­dation and you select frag­ments that are alike, but not alike,” Gautsche said.  

Gautsche, the pianist at College Baptist Church, and Wyse, artist-teacher of music and piano at Hillsdale, have played piano together at Hillsdale every other year since 1985. This is their “swansong” as Wyse retires in May.

The orga­ni­zation of the program is modeled after the making of a mosaic, beginning with Baroque com­posers like Bach, then to selecting frag­ments, adding warmth and passion, having fun, binding with heart, fin­ishing touches, and ending with beauty from bro­kenness.

It will be a multi-media pro­duction, including poetry with a Valentine’s Day touch read by Ned Wyse, husband of Debbi Wyse, and com­mentary by Barbara Bushey, chair­woman and pro­fessor of art at Hillsdale. 

“We’re showing slides of nature pho­tog­raphy, mosaics, and a movie clip that coincide with the poetry we’ve selected to go with these pieces,” Wyse said. 

Wyse shared her prepa­ration process.

“You have to listen like crazy. You have to listen to blend, for ped­aling and phrasing and inter­pre­tation and every other thing the person is doing. You have to talk through a lot of that stuff but you also have to listen in per­for­mance.” 

The program will be about 75 minutes long, including a brief inter­mission. 

It is their first time playing on matching grand pianos.

“The Blüthners are unique in the high treble range because there are four strings per note as opposed to 3 strings on most pianos,” Wyse said. “They are very res­onant and bril­liant in this range. We almost have to work harder so they don’t over­power.”