Katia and Marielle Labèque in concert May 5

Great Artists Series performance to highlight music of Igor Stravinsky, Philip Glass

Katia and Marielle Labèque (Photo: Brigitte Lacombe)

The riot was perhaps inevitable.

In May 1913, the Paris debut of Igor Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring” sparked shouts and fistfights in the aisles of the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées. With its dissonant chords and pounding rhythms, the music was raw, violent and unpredictable — a harbinger of the tumultuous century to come.

But a year before, Stravinsky had enlisted fellow composer Claude Debussy for a private four-hand preview in the home of critic Louis Laloy. “We were dumbfounded,” Laloy later recalled, “overwhelmed by this hurricane which had come from the depths of the ages and which had taken life by the roots.”

At 7 p.m. Sunday, May 5, sibling pianists Katia and Marielle Labèque — praised by The New York Times as “the best piano duet in front of an audience today” — will present Stravinsky’s hurricane, as well as four-hand works by Debussy and Philip Glass, as part of the Great Artists Series at Washington University in St. Louis.

Katia and Marielle Labèque (Photo: Umberto Nicoletti)

Energy and synchronicity

Born in Bayonne, France, the Labèques rose to international fame with their two-piano rendition of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” one of the first gold records in classical music. In the years since, their extensive repertoire — which ranges from contemporary classical to jazz, minimal music and Baroque music performed on period instruments — has been showcased on dozens of recordings for Deutsche Grammophon and their own KML label.

The May 5 program will open with Debussy’s “Épigraphes antiques,” followed by Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring.” Next, Marielle will perform Glass’s Etudes Nos. 17 et 18, followed by Katia performing Etudes Nos. 19 et  20. The program will conclude with Glass’ torrential “Four Movements for Two Pianos,” which the sisters featured on their disc “Minimalist Dream House” (2016).

About the Great Artists Series

Sponsored by the Department of Music in Arts & Sciences, the Great Artist Series presents intimate recitals with some of the brightest stars in contemporary classical music.

All performances take place in the E. Desmond Lee Concert Hall of the 560 Music Center, located at 560 Trinity Ave., at the intersection with Delmar Boulevard. Tickets are available through the Edison Theatre Box Office, 314-935-6543, or at edison.wustl.edu.

For more information, call 314-935-5581 or email music@wustl.edu.

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