B i o g r a p h y
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Panayotis Archontides & Natalie Tsaldarakis are the Greek pianists behind the highly successful husband-and-wife Ivory Duo Piano Ensemble. Their engaging and highly communicative approach to performance for piano four-hands and for two pianos "reveals extraordinary interpretative powers carried with conviction and authority" (Athens News).
Between 2007 and 2011, Natalie and Panayotis toured the UK performing the complete Mozart works for piano duet and two-pianos (St John's Smith Square, Jaqueline du Pres concert hall, St-Martin-in-the-Fields, St-James Piccadilly, Winchester Cathedral). Although they maintain an ecclectic approach to repertoire, they are especially known for their championing of contemporary classical composers, many of whom have written specifically for the duo, such as Lola Perrin, Michael Travlos, Hugh Shrapnel, Nikos Drelas, Thomi Baltsavia, Elif Karlidag, Douglas Finch, and others. Panayotis is also a published arranger who produces the film scores heard in their concerts.
In 1994 Natalie was invited to membership by the American National Music Honour Society Pi Kappa Lambda for excellence in performance. In 2007, Panayotis, then Music Scholar at Trinity Laban Conservatoire, received the coveted Silver Medal of the Worshipful Company of Musicians again for excellence in performance. Both pianists have been the recipients of numerous awards and prizes, including prizes at piano competitions in the US, Greece, UK and Australia. Natalie was also selected to compete at the Vienna-Beethoven International Competition and the Gina Bachauer International Competition, experiences which inform her delivery of a range of educational outreach activities, along with her current PhD research on Gordon Green and the 'Manchester School of Pianism' at City, University of London under professor Ian Pace.
Since 2005 the pianists have been based in London, UK. Between 1995 and until 2005, the pianists were artist teachers in residence at the American College of Greece as well as piano professors of the Nakas and later of the National Conservatory of Greece.
The duo has concertised extensively at various venues and festivals in the UK and abroad. In March 2013, the duo had its debut performance at Southbank (Women of the World Festival). Other distinguished venues include Steinway Hall (London), Glasgow City Halls Sibelius Academy, Athens Concert Hall, Conway Hall, Blackheath Halls, Fairfield Halls. The pianists have collaborated with conductors of national and international significance such as James Judd (Age of Anxiety, Trinity Laban SO, Blackheath Halls 2007, P. Archontides, soloist), Jose Cura for the Athens Olympics 2004, and prof. George Hadjinikos at the American College of Greece.
The Ivory Duo Piano Ensemble has recorded for the National Greek Radio (ERA-1, ERA-3), and has appeared on Greek television, and UK’s Resonance FM 104.4. Their CD "Romantic Dance Music for Piano Duet" was requested by the Archive for Greek Music and Musicians (Lilian Voudouris Library, Athens Concert Hall) and hailed as an important musical event of international standing by the Greek specialist press. In 2017, their home recording of Helen Hagan's Piano Concerto, which survives in manuscript in its two-piano version only, was used in the Yale University's documentary Yale Goes to War: Helen Hagan (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9awnTOd7ZvI) which subsequently earned them an entry in the American Piano Concerto Compedium by W. Phemister (published 2018).
Their latest CD featuring British contemporary classical piano duets by composers hugh Shrapnel and John Elved Lewis has just been released by Convivium Records UK.