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DUO Stephanie & Saar: The Art of Fugue

Date: 7:30pm PST November 8, 2017 Location: Agnes Flanagan Chapel

  • 2014 © Masataka Suemitsu

Agnes Flanagan Chapel

DUO Stephanie and Saar, pianists Stephanie Ho and Saar Ahuvia, return to Lewis & Clark to perform the complete The Art of Fugue by Bach.


The duo’s double CD set of the work, their third release on New Focus Recordings, is the first ever complete piano duo recording of Johann Sebastian Bach’s enigmatic final work. The album has been receiving unanimous international acclaim since its June 2017 release.


Dated 1748, scholars have understood The Art of Fugue as an academic endeavor by an aging master paying tribute to the fugue, which was by then falling out of fashion. Others consider the work as a sort of “Da Vinci Code” of numerology, puzzles and musical coding. The mystery of Contrapunctus 14, notable for both the inclusion of Bach’s name as a theme and for its unfinished state, adds to the work’s mythology and cult status.


Bach found fugues to be a source of endless creativity. The Art of Fugue, a collection of fourteen fugues and four canons, is an exploration of the full spectrum of contrapuntal possibilities, all derived from one monolithic theme in D minor. From a purely technical standpoint, Bach’s compositional prowess is in full display as he employs inversion, retrograde, augmentation, diminution, multiple fugue subjects, mirroring and canonic writing - all while creating an intense and emotionally gripping musical experience.


Bach never specified the instrumentation for The Art of Fugue. For this performance of the work, DUO Stephanie and Saar will play the fugues in piano four-hand versions and the canons as solo piano works.


“Stephanie & Saar have created a true masterpiece here”

- Lynn Bayley, The Art Music Lounge


“The duo’s playing is detailed and deliberate rather than showy, with the pianists taking pains to make all of the counterpoint clear”

- Christian Carey


“Stephanie and Saar take us on a wonderful journey, one you will want to take many times”

- Allan J. Cronin, New Music Buff


“The parts are articulated with a clarity of purpose so that we continually hear the unfolding of fugal voices, never missing the contrapuntal whole that is so critical for a full understanding of this masterpiece”

- Grego Edwards, Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review


“This is creative music making of an extraordinarily high level”

- Lynn Bayley, The Art Music Lounge


“The two-disc set is one you know you’ll play many times, waiting to find newly revealed truths.”

- Alex Baran, The WholeNote

Event Cost

$10 General Admission
$5 LC Faculty, Staff, Seniors, Alumni and non-LC students
FREE for LC Students (with ID)

Event Contact 
(503) 768-7788