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Piano Concert Features Four-Hands Duet and Solo 

Michael Sitton, left, and Stephen Brown playing piano four-hands duets. Courtesy photo.
In the third of a series of concerts featuring the newly acquired Yamaha grand piano in the historic sanctuary of Christ Church in Montpelier, pianists Michael Sitton and Stephen Brown present music for four-hands duet and solo piano on Sunday, March 5, at 2 pm. Admission is free, but a basket will be out for donations to the piano fund. 

Each half of the program begins with works for piano duet, Poulenc’s Sonata and the energetic Hungarian Dance by Brahms. The popularity of the piano duet coincided with the availability of mass-produced instruments and the common practice of making music at home with friends and family. Brahms used the popular dances of Hungary, while Poulenc’s sonata is more percussive and dissonant. 

Each pianist has solo piano offerings: Sitton with the B Minor sonata of Haydn, Debussy’s three-movement second set of Images, and descriptive works by Lili Boulanger and Florence Price. 

Stephen Brown plays the Toccata from Bach’s E minor Partita, Beethoven’s Opus 90 sonata, and the Brahms’ virtuosic first book of Variations on a Theme of Paganini. 

Extensive notes in the program offer insight into the historical context and the music itself. 

Michael Sitton retired from his position as the Dean of Music of the Crane School in Potsdam, New York, and with his husband made his home in Barre. Holding a doctorate of musical arts degree in piano from the University of Illinois, he has joined the affiliate faculty of Montpelier’s Monteverdi Music School and is active in the musical community. 

Stephen Brown earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in piano performance at the Cincinnati Conservatory, winning the first prize in the undergraduate piano competition. After attending Cornell Law School and practicing law in Georgia, he moved to Montpelier in 2018, serving in a position in state government. Throughout his career, Brown has continued to compose and to play music. 

Other events celebrating the new piano feature Sylvia Parker with a musical tour of Central Europe with Bela Bartok, Eliza Thomas with Bach and other Baroque composers, and others. A “Piano Palooza” is planned for the spring, as well as the annual Bach Birthday Organ Marathon. 

 For further information, go to christchurchvt.org or email admin@christchurchvt.org.