duo parnas is the magical collaboration of two supremely musical sisters, violinist Madalyn Parnas and cellist Cicely Parnas, who began playing chamber music together as young children. Ten years later they took 1st prize at the 2008 International Chamber Music Ensemble Competition held in Carnegie Hall, released their first recording Parnas Double, and began collaborating with the great artist Peter Serkin in the Parnas/Serkin Trio. The duo earned rave reviews in The New York Times for their exciting and technically flawless performances. “… the duo parnas gave a stunning account of Martinu’s lively, sometimes prickly Duo for Violin and Cello. The intricate give-and-take between the cello and violin lines was perfectly balanced and suffused with … electricity and drama ...” Another review stated, “The duo parnas gave … an electrifying reading, couching it in a lush tone and executing its complex interplay with pinpoint precision." Today the duo parnas has performed across the globe in music festivals, recitals, and as soloists with orchestra. Their recordings have earned international acclaim, and their most recent was nominated for a Grammy Award.
Though Madalyn and Cicely have developed busy performance careers in their own right – this year Madalyn debuted as soloist with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Cicely with the Brevard Sinfonia under the baton of Keith Lockhart – they continue to be drawn to their life-long partnership and love of chamber music. This year they debuted Rozsa’s double concerto, Sinfonia Concertante. They performed in numerous concerts and recitals at the prestigious Sitka Music Festival collaborating with Zuill Bailey, Navah Perlman, Thom Moore, and Martin Sher. With pianist Ran Dank, duo parnas performed at the Berkshire’s Tannery Pond Concerts and The Kennedy Center. The Washington Post’s headline read, “duo parnas faultless to a fault!” Stepping out with pianists offers unique programmatic possibilities that can be deeply satisfying as combinations of players and forms can be heard side-by-side, as if going to an art gallery where juxtaposition of works provides an opportunity for a unique examination.
The duo parnas has toured as guest soloists with the French Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire, performing works by Saint-Saëns, including the Violin Concerto No. 3, the Cello Concerto in A Minor, and the beautiful double concerto, La Muse et Le Poète. They have performed as duo soloists with the New York String Alumni Orchestra under the baton of Jaime Laredo, the Hudson Valley Philharmonic conducted by Randall Fleisher, the Albany Symphony Orchestra led by David Alan Miller, the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra with Kim Allen Kluge at the podium, among many others. While artists-in-residence at the 2013 El Paso Pro-Musica Festival, they performed as soloists with the El Paso Symphony Orchestra. International music festival appearances include the Shanghai Musical Arts Festival and Macao International Music Festival; Banff and Lachine Music Festivals and Bravo! Music Series in Canada; and the ProQuartet Festival in France. American festival performances include Tanglewood, Honest Brook Musical Festival, Maverick Concerts, Tannery Pond Concert Festival, ShortGrass, Music Mountain, American Composers and Composers Now! Festivals, among many others.
Recording for Sheffield Lab, the duo parnas has released three CDs: Parnas Double (2008), Gare du Nord (2010), and duo parnas NOW (2014). NOW was comprised of works by living composers including Lera Auerbach, William Bolcom, Paul Moravec, and Charles Wuorinen, thus allowing for collaboration between composer and artists. On The Other Side of Time (Albany Records, 2012), the duo performs Brian Fennelly’s double concerto, Fantasia Concertante, with the New Music Ensemble. This award-winning concerto was also recorded with the Fauxharmonic Orchestra, an ensemble of digital instruments “conducted” by Paul Henry Smith.
Madalyn and Cicely hold Artist Diplomas from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where they studied with Jaime Laredo and Sharon Robinson. Madalyn holds a B.S. in Music Industry and French, and a M.A. from London’s Royal Academy of Music, where she studied as a 2012 Marshall Scholar. She performs on a 1715 Alessandro Gagliano violin, and Cicely on a 1712 Giovanni Grancino cello. They are the granddaughters of the legendary cellist Leslie Parnas.
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