Per Tengstrand and Shan-shan Sun, featured in the New York Times as “Two pianos, four hands but one heart,” have gained a reputation as a talented piano team. The debut performance of the Tengstrand-Sun Piano Duo took place on October 12, 2003, when they performed Mozart’s Second Piano Concerto with the Canton (Ohio) Symphony under Music Director Gerhardt Zimmermann. While preparing this work, Tengstrand and Sun found how much they enjoyed playing together in two-piano and four-hand repertoire, and the more they looked into the literature, the more obvious it became that this was a path they wished to follow.
They decided to enter the prestigious Murray Dranoff International Two Piano Competition and were delighted to make it into the finals, which took place in Miami the week of December 14, 2003. Then followed an enormous amount of hard work over a period of five months, working both on their own and with Dominique Weber in Geneva. During this period they committed to memory (and hands) all of the difficult literature for two piano and four hands required for the competition, including a commissioned work by Fredrick Kaufman, entitled Yin & Yang: A Dialogue for Two Pianos, and duo-piano concertos by Mozart and Robert Casadesus. They were awarded the first prize. Of the duo’s remarkable final showing at the competition, the Miami Herald observed that “It was in every way a winning performance.”
In October 2005, the duo received a grant from the Salon de Virtuosi in New York City, selected from a group of outstanding young musicians. During the 2005-2006 season, the Tengstrand-Sun Duo performed the Poulenc Concerto for Two Pianos on tour with the Norrlands Opera Orchestra in Sweden under the baton of En Chao, as well as numerous duo recitals in the U.S. and Sweden.
The Tengstrand-Sun Piano Duo made their New York debut recital in Merkin Hall on January 18, 2004, and was immediately invited to present another recital the following season. Other 2004-2005 season highlights included recitals as part of the Sunday Afternoons of Music Series in Coral Gables, the Fairfax (VA) Community Concert Series, and Helsingborg Piano Festival in Sweden, among others. They have previously performed at the Giresta Piano Festival and the Linkoping Chamber Music Festival in Sweden, as well as several duo-recital tours in Scandinava.
The Tengstrand-Sun Duo’s latest release is on the Mindfeel label and includes works by Mendelssohn, Rachmaninoff, Ravel, Lutoslawski, and Milhaud. Mr. Tengstrand is also represented on the Pro Piano label, and Ms. Sun on the China Records label. The next recording project is a CD with music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to be released for the 250th anniversary in 2006.
Both Tengstrand and Sun take a special interest in presenting the repertoire of transcribed symphonic works in smaller cities, where these works would otherwise not be heard. They are active participants of educational outreach in schools, pursuing a mission to bring classical music to young people.
Per Tengstrand was born in Sweden and made his first public appearance when he was seven years old. He studied at the Paris and Geneva Conservatories and is one of today’s most exciting pianists and prizewinners, including first prize at the 1997 Cleveland International Piano Competition. He enjoys great success as an international performing artist, and in the 2004-2005 concert season performed under Neeme Jarvi with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the New Jersey Symphony, among others. He has made numerous recordings and is the subject of a greatly acclaimed Swedish film documentary entitled Solisten (The Soloist).
Shan-shan Sun gave her first public performance in her native China at the age of six. She was admitted to the Young Artist Program at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music at the age of nine and performed throughout China. In 1991, Ms. Sun came to the United States to study at the Cleveland Institute of Music. She is an active solo pianist as well as a chamber musician, performing worldwide. Among her piano instructors have been Paul Schenly, Anne Epperson, Sergei Babayan, Qing-hua Wang, and Susan Starr.
Mr. Tengstrand and Ms. Sun continue to work with Dominique Weber in Geneva, Switzerland, and are represented byHerbert Barrett Management. They make their home in Princeton, New Jersey.
Photograph of Per Tengstrand and Shan-shan Sun by Greg Barrett.