GULFWEEKLY : Dulcet duo Stephan Weh and Marcel Dorn are infusing an air of fun into the grand piano as they reinvigorate interest in an instrument long relegated to concert halls and opera houses.
Bringing the magic to Bahrain today evening at the Cultural Hall as part of the Spring of Culture festival, the Pianotainment duo will be performing a spectacular four-handed piano show perfect for all ages.
“The unique thing about our show is that the two of us share one instrument, making for a challenging but exciting opportunity to improvise and collaborate on-stage, making every performance distinct,” Marcel, 45, told GulfWeekly during an exclusive interview.
“Imagine you are in a car and both the people in the front seat have to drive the car. One person might decide to take the wheel, while the other handles pedalling, but with music, we have both mastered the art of switching up the roles.”
Organised in collaboration with the German Embassy, the award-winning crossover programme is ‘the perfect symbiosis between piano comedy and amazing virtuosity.’
Stephan and Marcel both hail from Bavaria in Germany and have undergone intensive classical piano training since they were four and five, respectively. They also participated in auto-didactical training in jazz and blues, before forming the Pianotainment duo in 1996.
Soon they were introduced into the exclusive round of Blüthner Official Artists, an exquisite list of internationally outstanding pianists. In 2008 more than 25,000 independent entertainment insiders voted the duo into Germany´s Top 10 Entertainers circle, netting them the Conga Award.
“We have expanded our repertoire over the years, from very recognisable pop arrangements to classical and jazz ones,” Marcel added.
“We have also added some show elements with new technology, like an invisible drum set. Overall, it’s a great, fun evening, and will also have a big screen so everyone can see and follow the tunes.”
Marcel and Stephan were appointed to the jury for the final of the world’s largest piano competition in China.
They also regularly tour as ‘Dabao and Xiaobao’ and have performed in Caracas, Tehran and Addis Ababa. As a headliner act on more than 60 cruises, the duo circumnavigated the world several times.
“The second time we came to Bahrain was actually on a cruise ship, after coming for a private concert earlier,” Marcel added.
Over the last quarter century, the two have become Germany’s musical ambassadors: always technically brilliant, innovative, yet aware of tradition, with creative and sympathetic sophistication including a pinch of self-mockery.
Although they were reticent about revealing a confirmed set list, Marcel noted that the process of developing one was always organic, drawing inspiration from their first impressions upon arriving in the kingdom.
“Instead of just repeating the same set list at every venue, we like to feel what our audience might be feeling and then put together something for everyone – from classical stuff to jazz and some pop,” Marcel added.
Unique, wacky and entertaining, this performance is not to be missed.
Pianotainment takes the stage tonight at the Cultural Hall at 8pm, with free entrance and limited seating.