“DuWors and Niekawa are a beautifully balanced duo, with exceptional intonation and a tangible empathy” (Gramophone Magazine). duo526 was founded in 2011 at the Eastman School of Music (Rochester, NY). Their mentors include Charles Castleman, Jean Barr, Henk Guittart, Roger Tapping, Lafayette String Quartet, Hardy Rittner, and Mark Steinberg. duo526 has performed across Canada, the U.S., Japan and has had artist residencies at the Banff Centre, Avaloch Farm Music Institute, Brandon University and Indiana University. In 2016, duo526 launched their “Mozart in Public Spaces” project: video recordings for social media of the complete Mozart sonatas in conjunction with the “Play Me I’m Yours” street pianos installations all over the world. They have recently given performances at the 2019 “Experience Villa-Lobos” Festival at Virginia Commonwealth University, Oklahoma University, and the Regina Chamber Music Festival.
Travels to Berlin, Vienna, Salzburg, Prague, Budapest, Amsterdam, New York City and Iceland have given duo526 insight and inspiration. duo526’s 2014 debut album, Ballade, exemplifies this spirit through sonatas by Janáček, Enescu and Grieg. Their latest album DUO FANTASY featuring works by Villa-Lobos, Bax and Bolcom was released May 2019.
duo526 is dedicated to creative thought and the art of listening through the study and performance of a vast repertoire across an array of styles. Their joy of collaboration results from risk-taking, inspiration and spontaneous reactions. Their name was inspired by Mozart’s last Sonata for Violin and Piano K. 526, the first work presented to them for their equal virtuosic flair and refined musicianship. Dedicated to mentorship and pedagogy, duo526 started their annual summer Sonata Seminar in 2018 at Brandon University.
“Niekawa and DuWors create an art that goes beyond mere interpretation. The personality of the two musicians expands out with a creative attitude towards the world” (Sonograma Magazine).
Praised for “soaring cantilena” (Gramophone Magazine) and “always finding the music behind the notes” (Winnipeg Free Press), Canadian violinist KERRY DuWORShas performed across four continents. In demand as a versatile chamber musician, DuWors champions collaboration across an array of ensembles from her duo work to leading chamber orchestras. Highlights include performances with duo526, James Ehnes, Yo-Yo Ma, Dame Evelyn Glennie, Measha Brueggergosman, collectif9, and The Knights in New York City. Described as a fearless musical adventurer and a musician-athlete, she has been soloist with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Winnipeg Symphony, Saskatoon Symphony, and Manitoba Chamber Orchestra. DuWors has won prestigious awards including Grand Prize at the 26th Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition, Felix Galimir Award for Chamber Music Excellence, University of Toronto Eaton Graduate Scholarship, and two Canada Council Career Development Grants. From She is a four-time laureate of the Canada Council for the Arts’ Musical Instrument Bank. DuWors currently plays on a modern violin by Felix Krafft modeled after the 1735 “Plowden” Guarneri.
Curiosity drives DuWors’ dedicated academic and musical study through creative projects, artist residencies (Banff Centre, Avaloch Farm Music Institute, Indiana University), commissions, premières, masterclasses, and community outreach. Her mentors include Lorand Fenyves, Charles Castleman, Scott St. John, Jean Barr, and the Lafayette String Quartet. In 2018 she created the annual summer duo526 Sonata Seminar with pianist Futaba Niekawa. Committed to pedagogy and mentorship, Kerry has been Associate Professor of Violin and Chamber Music at Brandon University since 2003.
Known for her verve and sensitivity, Japanese pianist FUTABA NIEKAWA pushes the boundaries of her artistry as a soloist and collaborative pianist across genres and disciplines. She has performed throughout the United States, Canada, England, Taiwan, and Japan at notable venues including Jordan Hall, Merkin Hall, Taiwan’s National Concert Hall, and Sumida-Triphony Concert Hall. Niekawa’s passion for multi-disciplinary collaboration and performing music of her generation have led to artistic partnerships with composers, dancers, poets, and visual artists.
Her long time duo partnership with violinist Kerry DuWors, duo526, has led to numerous performances, recordings, and artist residencies at the Banff Centre and Avaloch Farm Music Institute. Since 2012, Niekawa has released three recordings (PARMA Recordings, Petrichor Records) and her live performances have been recorded for radio broadcast. Niekawa has been engaged as a collaborative pianist at the Banff Centre, New England Conservatory, Boston Ballet School, Meadowmount School of Music, and the IU Summer String Academy.
Niekawa earned her Doctorate of Musical Arts degree from the Eastman School of Music in 2013. She is dedicated to pedagogy, mentoring, and performance practice. Niekawa shares her passion through masterclasses and workshops at duo526’s annual Sonata Seminar and has been invited as a guest teacher at colleges and universities in North America including the University of Calgary, University of Northern Colorado, Brandon University, and Middle Tennessee State University. Since 2015, Niekawa has been on the faculty for Chamber and Collaborative Piano at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music.