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Couple make beautiful music together on piano
Concert set for Sunday
March 24: Juliana Osinchuk, pianist
April 14: Andrew and Pamela Stubbs, piano and strings
May 5: Young Musicians of Yuma Benefit Concert
Note: All concerts begin at 5 p.m. unless otherwise announced.
The venue is St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 1550 S. 14th Ave. in Yuma
Freewill offerings are accepted at each concert.
For more information, call Sally Houston at 782-0166 or 782-5155.
Four hands, two hearts and one piano.
When Eckart Sellheim and Dian Baker sit shoulder to shoulder on a piano bench, a special sound rings out that earned the husband and wife musicians praise throughout the United States and Europe.
Four hands coaxing music from a single piano obviously presents more than a few challenges, but Sellheim says the resulting melodies are always worth all the demanding dexterity.
“It is more difficult and not all pianists are comfortable with it,” Sellheim said during a recent phone interview. “You have to be very considerate of the player next to you. Even the slightest, different touch will be heard immediately.”
But according to music critics and audiences around the globe, Sellheim and Baker certainly rise to the musical challenge in a most beautiful way.
And, yes, it helps that they are partners in tackling everything else in life.
“You come very close to each,” Sellheim said, chuckling. “It is certainly an advantage to be married.”
This Sunday, the Phoenix-based musicians will be seated at a grand piano in Yuma. Their concert will be latest offering in the Classical Concert Series hosted by St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 1550 S. 14th Avenue.
The concert begins at 5 p.m. Sunday and a freewill offering will be accepted.
The musical duo began their performance partnership in 1998, taking their music to stages around the world and specializing in the music of Mozart, Schumann, Brahms and Debussy.
In 2007 Sellheim and Baker were invited to perform a recital on a 1827 fortepiano owned by Clara Schumann. The concert took place at Schumannhaus in Zwickau, Germany. The performance was broadcast and recorded by Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk on the Figaro label. The area newspaper lauded the couple's performance, writing that the concert “wasn't only a musical scarcity (piano four hands has become a rare treat nowadays), it was also a true delicacy because of the perfect execution.”
The German newspaper Generalanzeiger also praised their musicianship, reporting in a critique “...you could witness that Baker and Sellheim are a formidable team, not only in technical aspects. Their performance bore the stamp of utmost security; it seemed almost as if they could have played in their sleep...”
Sellheim studied music in Germany and Switzerland. He also taught at two major conservatories in Cologne, Germany.
In the United States, he served as an associate professor of piano and chamber music at the University of Michigan. From 1989 to 2008, he served as professor and director of collaborative piano at Arizona State University.
He teaches master classes through the U.S. and Europe and maintains an active performance schedule, having made concert tours throughout the U.S., Latin America and Caribbean, Middle East, Africa and Europe. He appears regularly on radio programs in Germany and the U.S. and has made more than 20 recordings, many of them on the CBS-Sony label with his late brother, the renowned German cellist Friedrich-Jurgen Sellheim.
Baker has toured as a soloist and chamber music collaborator in 30 countries on four continents. Her concerts have been broadcast on radio and television in Japan, China, Germany, the Netherlands, India and Pakistan.
Baker received the Outstanding Woman of the Year award from Brigham Young University, where she directed the collaborative piano program for 10 years as a senior lecturer. She currently serves on the faculty of Mesa Community College. She also serves as principal pianist for the Phoenix Boys Choir. She tours regularly with the choir throughout the U.S., Europe and Japan.