Pianist Eric Huebner leads a kind of double life. He is associate professor at the University at Buffalo and staff pianist at the New York Philharmonic. His is a tale of two cities. And this fall at UB, it will be a tale of two pianos, too.
Huebner has planned two concerts devoted to the two-piano repertoire. The first takes place Sept. 8, when Huebner collaborates with Stephen Manes, the former head of UB's music department, for a varied and energetic recital. The two pianists will play Mozart's magnificent Sonata for Two Pianos in D, K. 448. In a twist, they'll follow that up with Mozart's great C Minor Fantasy, K. 475, in its Romantic two-piano arrangement by Edvard Grieg.
Purists have cringed from that arrangement over the years, but Huebner shrugs off their criticism.
"Music was alive back then," he said. "It wasn't up on a pedestal."
Two more rarities close the concert. Manes and Huebner are playing a Ballade for Two Pianos by Buffalo native Nils Vigeland, who is expected to be present for the occasion. And to conclude the evening, percussionists Tom Kolor and John Bacon will join the pianists for Bartok's Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion, Sz. 100.
Huebner returns to the two-piano literature later this fall. On Oct. 14, under the auspices of the Center for 21st Century Music, he joins pianist Steven Beck for "Mantra," a piece for two pianos by the avant-garde composer Karlheinz Stockhausen.
"I've always wanted to play that," Huebner said. "It's just an awesome piece. There's nothing else like it, really."
The first of Huebner's two double-piano recitals, featuring pianist Stephen Manes, takes place at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 8 at Lippes Hall in Slee Hall on UB's North Campus. General admission is $15 in advance; $22 at the door. For info, call 645-2921 or visit slee.buffalo.edu.