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Two Pianos: Playing for Life -- narrators & pianists

Left to Right: Stanislava Varshavski, Michael Levin, Nora Jean Levin, Diana Shapiro, Kenneth Hoffman

Highlights Videos of this performance can be viewed on the Two Pianos Playing for Life YouTube Channel:


Part 1 :Untermyer

Part 2 :Rachmaninov

Part 3:  Warsaw

On 29 May 2022 the Varshavski-Shapiro piano duo rejoined descendants of the show’s main characters for the show's first open-air performance (and the opening performance of the Minnie Untermyer 2022 Concert Series), in the Untermyer Gardens Amphitheater -- a walled garden symbolizing earthly paradise.


With additional classical music selections and enhanced audio-visuals, our expanded multi-media production recreated two-piano performances of Anna Bieler and Halina Schulsinger for segregated Jewish-only audiences in 1930s Nazi Germany.  Connecting seismic world events, recorded interviews, progressive reform lawyer Samuel Untermyer, its protagonists’ divergent paths during and after WWII, and the parallel stories of pianists Varshavski and Shapiro, it once more showcased the power of music and the decent acts of good people to defy despair and cultural exclusion.  With human rights once more under brutal attack in the U.S., Ukraine, and around the world, it continues to resonate. 




Welcome: Stephen Byrns, President, Untermyer Gardens Conservancy

Introductions; Backstory

Russian Dance from Petrushka 

  Igor Stravinsky 

(Varshavski-Shapiro adaptation)

o 1926:  At the Leipzig Conservatory 

o 1927: A Beethoven Concert on Mt. Scopus 

o April 1933: Germany -- Jews not welcome; Jerusalem -- A dedication ceremony; New York -- A call for a global boycott of Germany

o 1934-36: Two-pianos concerts for the Judischĕ Kulturbund 

Waltz from Suite for 2 Pianos, Op. 15, No. 1 

        Anton Arensky

Allegro con Spirito from D Major Sonata for 2 pianos, K. 448 

         Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

*Romance and Tarantella from Suite No. 2, Op. 17 for 2 pianos 

         Sergei Rachmaninoff

o After 1936:  Destruction and renewal -- the power of music 

Mazurka, Op. 63, No. 2 (‘The Fall of Warsaw’) 

         Frederic Chopin  

*Variations on a Theme by Paganini 

         Witold Lutoslawski

o Audience Q & A


*Music Selection Premiere for this performance

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