Building a double piano has been on Peter Nehlsen’s bucket list for decades. After more than 2,000 hours spanning a year of work, Peter’s dream has come true and just as importantly, there are performers and audiences who are intrigued and wish to experience this unique instrument. Nehlsen, who worked for Steinway & Sons in Chicago for many years, was said to be their premier piano tuner. Upon moving to Door County years ago, he ventures to guess he has tuned thousands of pianos in his lifetime. Nehlsen brought the double keyboard piano to Birch Creek in early June, where it safely awaits his return for tuning before concert night.
Concertgoers and performers will share a once-in-a-lifetime experience on July 11 and 12 on the Stage of Stars in the Dutton Concert Barn at Birch Creek.
On those dates, the Symphony Academy will be in session at Birch Creek, and the alreadyexpansive Stage of Stars in the Dutton Concert Barn will be built even larger to support the featured instrument for the two evenings: Peter Nehlsen’s one-of-a-kind Omega Double Keyboard Piano. Birch Creek has enlisted premier concert pianists Jodie DeSalvo and Jeannie Yu as soloists to perform the Poulenc Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra, backed by the 85-piece Birch Creek Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Conductor Brian Groner. The engineering genius and passion for the unique sound that only a double keyboard piano can produce is the reason why the Poulenc Concerto is a fitting choice for the evening’s concert as it was composed for this instrument.
This unique audience-and-performer experience is one that can be found nowhere else in the world.
Concert pianists, Jodie DeSalvo and Jeannie Yu are Door County performance icons. Jodie has performed for numerous concerts at Birch Creek and the greater Door County community.
Jeannie Yu is one of the performing artists for Midsummer’s Music in Door County. Together, their exhilarating performance style and finesse will charm Birch Creek audiences. Below is a peek at program book notes for each of the two performing artists:
Jodie DeSalvo, Birch Creek faculty member for over 20 years, is a frequent soloist with theNaples Philharmonic Orchestra. Jodie DeSalvo has captured national and international attention with her classical and jazz interpretations of the masters of keyboard literature. Upon winning the Artist International Competition in 1988, Ms. DeSalvo made her Carnegie Hall debut to critical acclaim with an encore performance two years later at Lincoln Center. She has been a top prize winner in the Young Keyboard Artists Competition, the American Music Scholarship Competition and the National Federation of Music Clubs Competition. A graduate of the Hartt and Manhattan Schools of Music, and a former student of John Browning and Gary Graffman, she is also a past recipient of the Artist Fellowship Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. She has toured extensively as a piano soloist appearing with the orchestras of Chicago, Geneva, Lucerne, San Francisco, Hartford and Chautauqua. DeSalvo also has a recital/lecture series at the Artis-Naples and has numerous CDs to her credit. A noted chamber player, Ms. DeSalvo has appeared with cellist Sharon Robinson, violinists Glenn Basham and Jennifer Frautschi, the Miami String Quartet, the Bergonzi String Quartet and members of the American String Quartet. She has performed at such prestigious festivals as Brevard, Chautauqua, Birch Creek, as well as over 100 times on National Public Radio.
Jeannie Yu was awarded first prize in the Frinna Awerbuch Piano Competition, the FlintSymphony International Concerto Competition, the Portland Symphony International Concerto Competition, and the Kingsville Piano Competition. She earned the prestigious Gina Bachauer Memorial Scholarship Award–a full scholarship at the Juilliard School– where she earned a bachelor’s degree. She was awarded an accompanist fellowship at the Peabody Conservatory of Music where she received her Doctor of Musical Arts Degree. Dr. Yu performed as soloist with the Flint Symphony, Portland Symphony, Marina del Rey-Westchester Symphony, Des Moines Symphony, Des Moines Brandenburg Symphony, the Xiamen Symphony Orchestra in China, Sheboygan Symphony Orchestra, Festival City Symphony, and the Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra. As a soloist and collaborative artist, she performed on WQXR in New York, WOI in Des Moines, IPR in Interlochen, WFMT in Chicago, and chamber music series including the Northwestern University Winter Chamber Music Series, the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival, Chamber Music North, Three Bridges Chamber Music Festival, Frankly Music Series, Chamber Music Milwaukee, Midsummers Music Festival, and the Rembrandt Chamber Players Series.
Tickets are available online at www.birchcreek.org/tickets, by calling 920-868-3763, or walk up during normal business hours, M-F, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Seating is limited.