They are dynamite — and not just musically. Twins Christina and Michelle Naughton gave an acclaimed debut at Frankfurt's Alte Oper concert house. In two concertos by Mozart and Francis Poulenc, the dazzling sisters from Princeton, USA not only displayed virtuosity as they climbed the musical summit, but also demonstrated an assured sense of style in their appearance, which included a glamorous costume change.Read More
Mozart peppered his Symphony in D Major (KV 297) with crowd-pleasing effects for a performance in Paris in 1778. And yesterday at the Museum Concert in Frankfurt's Alte Oper opera house, Giancarlo Guerrero set the rapid scale passages alight like Mannheim Rockets, his pleasure clear for all to see.Read More
The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra delivered the delightful auditory equivalent of double vision Saturday evening. Duo pianists Christina and Michelle Naughton joined the MSO, under music director Edo de Waart, for a completely mesmerizing performance of the Poulenc Concerto in D minor for Two Pianos and Orchestra. The twin sisters, both expressive, technically agile performers who pull an astonishing array of sounds and colors from the piano, played on nested instrument, facing each other.
In recent months, there has been a lot of buzz around Christina and Michelle Naughton, 27-year-old twin pianists from Madison, Wis. Such hype tends to make me skeptical. But now that I’ve heard the pair’s new Warner Classics release of music by Olivier Messiaen, J.S. Bach and John Adams, I’m ready to say, emphatically, that they really are that good. Indeed, I’m ready to put them on a level with some of the greatest piano duos of our time: Vronsky and Babin, Luboschutz and Nemenoff, or Argerich and Freire.
Pianists Christina and Michelle Naughton, twin sisters who began their careers as solo artists but now have a following as the Naughton Duo, played with inspiring fire on Mozart’s Concerto No. 10 for Two Pianos and Orchestra. Reflective imagery is trite when describing twins, but the women really do mirror each other in performance mannerisms; their technique and voice on the piano feel effortlessly the same. During bubbly passages that flowed from one piano to the other, the sisters sounded like one pianist with four hands. When playing in harmony — or solo, for that matter — it’s impossible to tell one sound from the other.
Adams. JS Bach. Messiaen.
From the formidable intensity of Messiaen’s Visions de l’Amen to the sprightly grace of Adams’s Hallelujah Junction, these pianist twins demonstrate remarkable virtuosity and rapport.
For their debut album on the Warner label, Christina and Michelle Naughton—twin pianist sisters from Princeton, New Jersey, with European and Chinese heritage—have selected a repertoire that expresses joy, happiness and peace. Olivier Messiaen wrote his "Visions de l'Amen" in 1943 following his release from a prisoner of war camp. The seven movements of this composition are imbued with an incredibly orchestral sound, adorned with a mystical smile yet strongly inquisitive and full of hope and dynamism; a quest for the divine flows into these visions of the word "amen". Messiaen gave the two pianos very different roles; the first is entrusted with rhythmical flourishes while the second takes care of the melodic and thematic elements of the piece — everything that is needed to express emotion and strength.Read More
Sisters Michelle and Christina Naughton answered one of the questions that they were asked in an interview about the concert which they gave today with this phrase. That is how they define "music". And we could say that this definition fits very well with the concert we attended tonight in the music hall of the Luis Ángel Arango Library: A journey into the human soul. These young American performers, who have just released their second album,Visions, proved themselves to be musicians of the highest quality. They performed pieces by J.S. Bach, J. Brahms, O. Messiaen and J. Adams with finesse and elegance. The "two pianos" format is always astounding, but even more so when the performers are twin sisters. They have developed a sort of "secret language" after all these years playing together, they explain, and this mutual understanding and magical symbiosis, placed at the service of musical performance, produces wonderful results.
Perhaps it is just a game. Like exuberant children throwing a ball back and forth, the two pianos interact - playful, effortless, carefree. They fully embrace the here and now in the joy the moment. But perhaps it is more than just a game. If you pay closer attention and dive beneath the glittering, effervescent surface, you can hear the pianos repeatedly calling out a magical word — Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Last Sunday, at the Teatro de Bellas Artes, sisters Christina and Michelle Naughton concluded their performance with a lively unprogrammed encore: a four-handed version on piano of Paul Schoenfield's Boogie. Such was their enthusiasm that their performance sounded like there were three pianos and twelve hands, and yet they still maintained melodic clarity and the true harmonic essence of the blues.Read More
The twin-sister duo of Christina and Michelle Naughton have made a deep splash since graduating from the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia and coming on the scene in 2008. They've recorded conventional duo-piano repertory and succeeded through sheer charisma, but they break through to a new level with this innovatively programmed album that takes its title from its opening work, Messiaen's ecstatic Visions de l'amen (Visions of Amen), composed in 1943.Read More
Visions is the title of the debut album on Warner Classics of the piano duo consisting of twin sisters Christina and Michelle Naughton. The title refers most specifically to the major composition on the album, Olivier Messiaen’s “Visions de l’Amen.” However, the “visionary” profession of faith is also evident in an arrangement of the instrumental introduction (called a sonatina) to Johann Sebastian Bach’s BWV 106 cantata, Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit (God’s own time is ever best), to which Bach assigned the subtitle Actus tragicus. The album then concludes with John Adams’ “Hallelujah Junction,” whose rhythms are based on the stress patters of the word “hallelujah.” In this case, however, the connection to faith is more than a little remote, since the title comes from a small truck stop never the California-Nevada border.
New album Visions to be released on February 26, 2016
Warner Classics is delighted to announce the exclusive signing of the piano duo Christina and Michelle Naughton. Based in New York, the 27-year-old identical twins have played together from an early age, both graduating from the Curtis Institute and The Juilliard School.Read More
There was enough electricity at Curtis Institute’s Field Concert Hall yesterday afternoon to power all of Philadelphia during this week’s Papal visit.
That’s how good Christina and Michelle Naughton, identical twin pianists and alumni from Curtis, were during the season premiere of Curtis Presents. The Naughtons, who graduated from Curtis back in 2011, returned to their musical home, so to speak, to perform a brilliant program of both traditional and modern works to a packed house at Field Hall.Read More
Drawing on a virtuosity fueled by their close relationship as twins, Christina and Michelle Naughton gave a dazzling demonstration of their artistic talent yesterday afternoon at La Côte-Saint-André church.Read More
WASHINGTON, November 16, 2014 – The Naughton sisters, a bright, new pair of young duo-pianists, took the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater by storm last weekend in their initial Fortas Series recital.
Not only did twins Christina and Michelle rock the room with the two-piano, four-hand version of Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring,” kicking off the KenCen’s and the NSO’s weekend celebration of that pivotal modernist work. They also dazzled their enthusiastic audience with passionate but well-planned and nearly impeccable performances of Brahms’ “Variation on a Theme of Haydn,” for two pianos, Op. 56b; a two-piano version of Claude Debussy’s challenging “En blanc et noir”; and the “Variations on a Theme of Paganini for Two Pianos” by Witold Lutosławski (1913-1994).Read More
Introduced as "emerging superstars" by MSO Music Director Elizabeth Schulze, the twins performed Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra No. 10 in E-Flat Major with the MSO. "It was a novelty seeing two sisters who were young master soloists performing," said Dave Bell, 31, who traveled from Glen Burnie, Md., to see the concert. "It was really interesting."Read More
Wall Street Journal: Christina and Michelle Naughton, Twin Pianists, Perform at Naumburg Orchestral Concerts
When the pianists Christina and Michelle Naughton perform together, they never look at each other, but they move in tandem, mirroring each other’s every gesture. “It’s really bizarre,” said Cristian Măcelaru, associate conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra. “When you see a quartet that has been playing together for 25 or 30 years, it’s a similar thing.” “This sounds freaky, but there are times I forget we’re two people playing together,” Christina said.Read More
In the past, piano duos have been a rarity in concert halls, as duets on a keyboard instrument were long perceived as inferior to solo performances. The history of four-handed playing stretches back to the 19th century, when piano duets developed into the most popular form of music-making at home — which gave the piano duet, whether four-handed on one instrument or with four hands on two separate instruments, its long-held reputation as the preserve of amateurs.Read More