Richard and John Contiguglia are identical twins who have collaborated as a piano duo since they were five years old. Throughout their career critics have responded in superlatives to their unique musical partnership. Following the release of their historic recording of Beethoven's 9th Symphony, transcribed for two pianos by Franz Liszt, now a collector's item, critic Edward Tatnall Canby called the Contiguglias "the most profoundly musical pair of piano virtuosi of this century." Records and Recording proclaimed that "they have given the two-piano medium a whole new dimension. The Contiguglias stand apart in a lofty world of their own, unrivaled and supreme."
Richard and John Contiguglia were born into an Italian immigrant family in Auburn, NY. The most extraordinary musical event of the twins' youth was a performance in their home town, when they were 12 years old, of a group of two-piano pieces in the middle of a solo-piano recital by the legendary pianist-composer, Percy Grainger. Thus began an association with Grainger which led to a lifelong interest in the composer and his music. Throughout their career Richard and John have programmed and recorded much of Grainger's music for two pianos. They presented an all-Grainger chamber music concert at the Caramoor Festival in 1981, and broadcast several programs of Grainger's music over National Public Radio during the Grainger Centenary Year in 1982. They have released two CDs of Grainger's music, all of the Grainger-Gershwin transcriptions for MCA Classics and original Grainger works for Helicon Records, and Music for Two Pianos - Grainger and Bolcom.
Throughout their careers Richard and John Contiguglia have been involved in discovering, performing and recording unusual and forgotten works from the duo-piano repertoire. With the Cleveland Orchestra they revived Victor Babin's Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra to rave acclaim from the Cleveland press. They gave the New York premiere with the American Symphony Orchestra in Carnegie Hall of Max Bruch's Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra.
They gave modern-day premières and released first-recorded performances of works by Bartók and Liszt, including the former's Suite for Two Pianos, Op. 4b and the latter's transcription for two pianos of Beethoven's 9th Symphony. Their recording of the Beethoven-Liszt 9th Symphony was awarded a Grand Prix by the Liszt Society of Budapest in the first record competition of the Society's history.
The Contiguglias' received their B.A. degrees from Yale University, summa cum laude. They received their M.Mus. degrees from the Yale Graduate School of Music where they had studied with Bruce Simonds. Subsequently, they studied the piano duo repertoire for four years with the legendary British pianist, Dame Myra Hess, who prepared them for their important London Wigmore Hall debut and for their first European tours. One of the last directives that Dame Myra gave to them was to " devote your lives to making audiences aware of the Schubert duets." At Schubertiade 1993 and 1995 - Schubert and the Piano at the 92nd St. Y’s series in New York City- they lectured and performed at the Marathon Symposium.
Richard and John Contiguglia have performed with major orchestras throughout the world, including the Cleveland Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Atlanta Symphony, the National Symphony, the Toronto Symphony, the Boston Pops, the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra and the Rotterdam Philharmonic, the Orquesta Filarmonica De La Ciudad De Mexico. They have performed in numerous prestigious venues, including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York, the Kennedy Center in Washington, Orchestra Hall in Chicago, Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. The Contiguglia twins have been seen on national television in Holland, Great Britain and the United States. They were featured on ABC's Live with Regis and Kathy Lee, NBC's The Today Show and the A&E Channel.
Richard and John Contiguglia have created their own recording company, Gemini CD Classics, LLC, to date their company has released three new CDs.
Role: Classical Artist