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.”