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Fri, 31 May



Benefit Gala: Newcastle Piano Festival with the Murasaki Duo

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Time & Location

31 May 2024, 17:30 – 21:30

Jesmond, Burdon Terrace, Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 3AE, UK

About the event

Come join us for a celebratory evening with the internationally-renowned Murasaki Duo (Eric Kutz, cello and Miko Kominami, piano) in benefit of the Newcastle Piano Festival 2025 Community Programme.

About Murasaki Duo - Since its founding in 1996 at the Juilliard School, the Murasaki Duo has been dedicated to performing the cello and piano literature as chamber music. Named in homage to Lady Murasaki, the author of the world’s first novel, cellist Eric Kutz and pianist Miko Kominamiweave their instruments’ voices together in a unique and compelling equal partnership. The Duo has performed in North America, Europe, and Asia, including concerts in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Toronto, Washington, London, Tel Aviv, Copenhagen, and Oslo.


Beethoven: Sonata No. 2 in G-minor


Cassadó: Sonata in A-minor

Karen Walwyn: Shackled Footprints (commissioned by Murasaki Duo)



This will be a great opportunity to show your support for the Newcastle Piano Festival's 2025 community programme and learn all about the social benefit and impact it will have on young people in the region.

Can't make the gala but want to support? It's easy to make a donation, just select the 'donation' ticket and choose your amount. Every little bit will help!

Newcastle Piano Festival's Community Programme this year will focus on young people : Uniting Through Music, Embracing Diversity, Creating Opportunities.

Join us in making the Newcastle Piano Festival Community Programme a vibrant and inclusive celebration of music, culture, and community for our aspiring young people. Without creating opportunities and sparking their inspoiration, what does the musicial future look like for our region and the world? Young people in the North East are drastically underrepresented in the national and international music industries so it is vital that we create opportunities and amplify our young musicians. At the heart of our mission lies a commitment to diversity, accessibility, and the transformative power of music for all, across Newcastle and the North East.

The Newcastle Piano Festival will take place in March 2025 , featuring headline concerts, international artists, innovation and a vast programme of community music and educational events. As a not for profit organisation we heavily rely on fundraising to enable us to bring our community programme to the festival.

Your support will go directly towards our subsidised community and music education programme.

  • Launched in 2023 the Newcastle Piano Festival celebrates its 2nd year in 2025 with fundraising events like this Benefit Gala in 2024 .
  • The festival’s launch in 2023 was attended by over 300 visitors from across the North East and its focus was 'Empowering Women in the Industry'.
  • We are a boutique high-quality and diverse piano festival and our programme included ticketed headline concerts in the intimate setting of Jesmond United Reformed church, with acclaimed and respected artistes from the world of piano such as Sarah Beth Briggs (BBC Young Musician of the Year) and other award-winning pianists such as Yoshie Kawamura, Alison Gill, Ieva Dubova and more.
  • Our meet the piano community event invites people of all ages and backgrounds to come and see inside the piano, ask questions and have a go at playing with the help of friendly concert pianists.
  • Accessible and inspiring workshops are a key part of the Newcastle Piano festival – providing a wide range of inter generational learning activities and events led by the finest professional musicians and educators to promote the level of excellence that the North East can be proud of.
  • Amateur Meet Up Groups: where friends and family can get together to share performances with each other.
  • Our vision is to continue to bring wellbeing through the power of music; an artistic programme of quality, diversity and inclusivity that will engage the wider communities of not only Newcastle but also the county and beyond; enhancing tourism and providing economic and cultural benefits to the region. For example our link with J G Windows music shop who enjoyed direct sales as a result of the festival.
  • 'New Generation Mentorship' programme will nurture a group of talented pianists who face barriers to conventional routes into the industry, giving them direct work experience and a toolkit for surviving the freelance landscape.
  • 'I Love Piano' is our version of the orchestral projects 'InHarmony' and 'Sistema' which have seen proven success for young people all over the world using ensemble playing and instrumental tuition as the vehicle for transformative experiences, improving lives and strengthening communities.

More about The Murasaki Duo

In 2015 the Duo released a new compact disc entitled Duo Virtuoso on the Delos label. American Record Guide praised the recording as containing “fine, beautifully balanced performances,” and it concluded, “These are two outstanding musicians.” The disc won the Violoncello Society’s “Listeners Choice” Award, from among all cello CD’s released in 2015. Last year the Duo released a new CD featuring the complete cello/piano works of Los Angeles composer Maria Newman.

The Duo earlier released its debut compact disc—featuring works of Beethoven, Chopin, and Rachmaninoff—on the Centaur Records label. The disc was recommended by the Journal of the Atlanta Audio Society as “ebullient . . . brilliant throughout.”

Advocates for new music, the Murasaki Duo actively commissions new works, in addition to performing the classics. Its program “The Commissions” features five commissioned works from 2007-2012. The Duo has been a part of leading festivals, such as the Niagara International Chamber Music Festival, the Malibu Coast Music Festival, the Icicle Creek Music Center, Cello an American Experience, and it has been broadcast on public radio stations throughout the country.

Press for the Murasaki Duo

“An easy virtuosity . . . brilliant and witty.” “. . . an unusually high level of ensemble playing.”

New York Concert Review, New York City

“Perfect throughout the evening . . . two highly gifted musicians.”

News-Times, Danbury, Connecticut

“Two outstanding musicians.” “. . . a splendid interpretation.” “. . . a virtuosic and very spirited rendition.”

Sunnmørsposten, Ålesund, Norway

“. . . performed with great sensitivity. The duo communicated the mood of the music—regardless whether joy or fury—in a most effective manner.” “The interpretation was entertaining and the piece played at a tempo that almost set the hairs of the bow on fire!”

Varingen, Nittedal, Norway

“. . . effortless perfection.”

Gazette, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Please do join us for what will be a wonderful celebration of generous philanthropy here in the North East. Create better opportunities for our young poeple and helping shape a diverse and inclusive industry.

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