Piano Duo
Why Study Piano?
    Desiree Bakke & Saida Kafarova
Duo Pianists
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 her.
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.





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