The following review is from a recital in Wurzburg, Germany at the Hochschule fur Musik.  It is from the Wurzburger Ring and is in Russian.  First the Russian…..

Now in English!

“Kassian-Howard Duo” in Wurzburg, Germany

by Nikolai Kourenkov in “The Wurzberger Ring” Sept. 2010

(Translated into English Anna Soukiassian and Jeffrey Howard)

The Hall turned into a blended music that was pouring out of the stage.  I could not take my eyes off the hands of the pianist.  It seemed like her fingers had gotten a long awaited freedom and now were creating magic.  Pressing the keys of the piano graciously and tenderly at one time, and at other times with passion and firmness.  But the main part was performed after all by the violin, an instrument from an old Italian master from the time of Stradivari.  Its tender, penetratingly pure and transparent sounds were woven into a fantastic picture with the piano accompaniment.

On the small stage of the Hochschule fur Musik was a family duo from the United States, the Kassian-Howard Duo (Anna Soukiassian, piano and Jeffrey Howard, violin).  The program was made of pieces by Tomasso Vitali, Frances Poulenc, Robert Schumann and the Belgian violinist and composer Eugene Ysaÿe.

We were seated in the second row.  Next to us were seated 7-year-old Ani and Michelle who as 9.  They were sharing the emotions of the music with their parents.  Right after the concert ended, the girls showed up next to the piano on which just a moment earlier their mother was playing the virtuosic accompaniment, and they started “playing the piano.”  I thought that the parents chose the right instruments at the right time as a toy for their girls.  And they showed how properly to treat the instrument!  The playing of the sisters was noticed by Professor Hr. Herwig Zack.  It was he who invited his colleague Jeffrey Howard, an American university professor of violin from Towson University, to give masterclasses to the students of the Wurzburg Hochschule fur Musik.

To my deepest conviction, casualties do not exist; however what does exist is unusual coincidences!  Thus Jeffrey Howard and Herwig Zack studied in America with a famous pedagogue from Odessa, Josef Gingold.  Anna Soukiassian (stage name Kassian) was born and finished the Conservatory in Yerevan, Armenia.  At the end of the 1980s she was invited to the United States to study at the Longy School of Music in Boston.  And in Wurzburg lives Anna’s Uncle with his family.  So, while Jeffrey was sharing with his students the secrets of his profession, the younger generation of relatives was getting to know each other.  After Wurzburg, the family travels to Italy to perform and teach at the Orfeo Music Festival.


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