The Inaugural Festival in 2012 was opened by patrons Max Olding and Pamela Page, and featured the internationally renowned Silver/Garburg Duo from Berlin, performing the overture to Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. The professional classical duos involved in the first festival included Max Olding/ & Pamela Page, Jenni Flemming & Brachi Tilles, Liam Viney & Anna Grinberg, Natasha Vlassenko & Oleg Stepanov, Angela Turner & Brieley Cutting, Stephen Emmerson & Sonya Lifschitz, and Jenni Flemming & Gayle Pryce-Davies. Many of these performers have continued to make regular appearances throughout the festival's history.  A jazz duo program featured Steve Newcomb & Timothy Stevens (Melbourne). Composer Graeme Denniss led a student composition workshop about writing for piano duos. A large number of piano students from the Young Conservatorium, Queensland Conservatorium performed in the finale. The inclusion of these students in the Festival led to the development of a significant education program in subsequent festivals. Concerts have been hosted in the Main Auditorium of Brisbane City Hall, with regular audiences of around 1000. A CD recording project, "Two's Company", took place in 2016, and featured student teams to great success; and in 2019, a duet video recording project featuring the AMEB's Collaborative Piano Syllabus was launched in 2020.

Thus far, three biennial Festivals have followed. Performers who played as students in the 2012 Festival returned as young professionals, including Adam McMillan, Alex Raineri, Cara Tran, Oliver She, Ben Austin and William Shi. The festivals have hosted many wonderful pianists from around Australia, including Timothy Young, Anna Carson, Stewart Kelly, Daniel Herscovitch, Clemens Leske and Suzanna Hlinka, and have expanded the roster of Brisbane-based performers, including Colin Noble and Therese Milanovic.  The Berlin-based Silver/Garburg duo has appeared in three Festivals. Music for the thrilling combination of two pianos and percussion have appeared in the 2014, 2016 and 2018 festivals, with featured percussionists Vanessa Tomlinson, Nozomi Omote and Brent Miller.  In 2018, the entire QLD Conservatorium was “taken over” with Erik Griswold's work "84", which utilised all 84 pianos in the building across three floors.  Repertoire presented has spanned five centuries of composition - from J.S. Bach to Stravinsky to Griswold; shined a spotlight upon Australian and new composition (including world and Australian premieres) by Stuart Greenbaum, Christopher Healey, Erik Griswold, Steve Reich, Peter Dart and Christopher Norton.

The music department at St Peters Lutheran College has been a valued supporter of the Festival, hosting three of the festival's opening concerts in their beautiful concert hall.  Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University has financially supported each festival.

The 2020 Festival, like countless creative activities world-wide, could not be held because of the viral pandemic. The 2021 Festival was scheduled to take place in August in Brisbane, Australia, but was postponed due to government and venue restrictions following a snap COVID-19 lockdown. Two events were able to be rescheduled for September, and with the support of our presenting partners, the University of Queensland School of Music, pianists Piers Lane, Daniel de Borah, Liam Viney, Anna Grinberg, Stephen Emmerson, Bernard Lanskey, Brachi Tilles and Jenni Flemming gave two extraordinary recitals. We will continue the philosophy of “Bringing Pianists Together”.

What is a piano duo?

The title piano duo can mean two pianists playing at one piano (often referred to as 'piano four hands', or 'piano duet'); or two people playing at two pianos (commonly labelled 'piano duo', 'two pianos' or 'two piano four hands').  There is also the related double piano duet: 'two pianos eight hands'.  Each scenario has unique joys and ensemble challenges.

Support the Festival

There are many ways you can support the festival. Help us continue "bringing pianists together".