Norwegian pianist Desiree Paulsen Bakke started playing the piano at a very early age. As a young child she won the first prize at the Norwegian Youth Piano Competition twice, and received scholarship from the
prestigious NorwegianFund of Rikskonsertene and Klaestad. This lead her to the performances with the Philharmonic Orchestra in Oslo and the Symphony Orchestra in
Bergen. She continued her formal studies at the School of Music in Hannover, Germany. At the age of 24 she gave her debut piano recital in Oslo, and two years later, received
Master's Degree from the Academy of Music in Oslo. Her teachers include Malcolm Bilson, Eline Nygaard, Einar Steen-Nokleberg, Jens-Harald Bratlie, Albert Ferber, and Karl Engel.
Ms. Bakke had participated in many music festivals in Sweden, Norway, Germany, Switzerland and USA, and was featured on radio and television programs in her country.
Dr. Saida Kafarova performed her Carnegie Hall debut recital in June 2000, as a winner of Artists
International Special Presentation Recital Award. Commented one eminent listener, "In my time I have heard all the great - Paderewski, Hofmann, Rachmaninov. You are top rank.
Artistry, poetry, soul of the highest order." After studying with the legendary Tatiana Nikolayeva at the Moscow Conservatory , she came to Austin to
pursue her graduate studies with Anton Nel and Gregory Allen, and received doctoral degree from the University of Texas at Austin in May 2003.
A frequent performer with the Azerbaijan Philharmonic and Azerbaijan State University Symphony, Ms. Kafarova has premiered several works by contemporary composers,
for solo piano and for piano and orchestra. More recently, Ms. Kafarova appeared with the European Union Chamber Orchestra on their North American debut tour. She performed
the Brahms Second Piano Concerto under the direction of Maestro Maura with the Symphony New Brunswick to a sold out audience in the Imperial Theater in Saint John.
She toured many parts of the former Soviet Union and performed in Russia, notably in the Grand Hall in Moscow and in the White Hall of St Petersburg
Conservatory. Ms. Kafarova was invited to perform with violinist David Yonan for his Honor the German Ambassador on the last minute notice, and on another occasion for his Honor the
British Ambassador in Istanbul. At the European Arts Festival she gave a recital, arranged by the Istanbul Goethe Institute. In the summer 2000 she played in front of their
Honors the Count and Countess of Essex during their trip to Canada. In December 2003 and 2004 she performed with the Metropolitan Opera star Emily Pulley in Christmas Eve
program. In 1983 she won the top prizes in several prestigious piano and chamber music competitions in Europe and USA. She performed live from Halifax on "Take Five", the
CBC radio broadcast, heard regionally and nationally. Just recently KMFA Classical broadcasted three recitals of Ms. Kafarova playing the rare virtuoso masterpieces and interview with
The Duo Desiree Bakke and Saida Kafarova was formed two years ago. Since then, the Duo performed at
the Texas Music Teachers Annual Convention in San Antonio, and Texas State University in San Marcos. Just recently they were invited to the International Duo-Piano Festival in Stavanger
where they played in the gala concert and presented a lecture- recital. In November 2004 the Duo was featured live at the "Classical Austin" the third time. In November 2005 the
Duo performed at the School of Music at the University of Oslo, and in 2006 will be presenting at the EPTA Conference in Portugal. The Duo's latest CD of the works by Medtner and
Rachmaninoff will be released in 2006.