Richard and John Contiguglia, duo pianists

Richard and John Contiguglia

Richard and John Contiguglia are identical twins who have collaborated as a piano duo since they were five years old. Throughout their career critics have responded in superlatives to their unique musical partnership. Following the release of their historic recording for Connoisseur Society of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, transcribed for two pianos by Franz Liszt, now a collector’s item, critic Edward Tatnall Canby called the Contiguglias “the most profoundly musical pair of piano virtuosi of this century.” Records and Recording proclaimed that “they have given the two-piano medium a whole new dimension. The Contiguglias stand apart in a lofty world of their own, unrivaled and supreme.” Byron Belt, for Newhouse News Service, called the Contiguglias “foremost among today’s duo-pianists.”

The twins graduated in the top 1% of their class at Yale (1959), with identical averages of 91%, receiving their BA degrees summa cum laude, with philosophical orations. Two years later they received M.Mus. degrees from the Yale Graduate School of Music at the top of their class. Subsequently, they studied for four years in London with the great British pianist, Dame Myra Hess.

Their performances at reunions have brought delight to their classmates and friends at Yale. We are grateful to Richard and John for allowing us to share their genius on our 1959 website.

Max Bruch – Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra

I. Andante sustenuto
II. Andante con moto – Allegro molto vivace
III. Adagio ma non troppo
IV. Andante – Allegro
V. Commentary and Encore of 2nd Movement

We played the Bruch “Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra” in Carnegie Hall with the American Symphony Orchestra. However, it was only after our collaboration with conductor Tom Lewis and the Sioux City Symphony that we realized the greatness of Bruch’s creation. It has become one of our favorite two-piano concertos.

Franz Liszt

  Maryland Piano Festival, Aug. 4, 1975
Tawes Theater, University of Maryland
1. Commentary
2. Symphonic Poem No. 3 “Les Preludes”
3. Commentary
4. Fantasy on Themes from Bellini’s “Norma”
5. Commentary
  Orchestra Hall, Chicago
Nov. 30, 1986
6. Grosses Konzertstuck on Mendelssohn’s “Songs Without Words”

Liszt provided us with some of our greatest successes throughout the world. Our Connoisseur Society recording of Beehoven’s “9th Symphony” was a best seller in Japan and America. The Holland Liszt Festival invited us to perform often at its yearly festivals. We gave the first performances anywhere of the Grosses Konzertstuck on Mendelssohn’s “Songs Without Words,” first in Holland, then in New York City, in Orchestra Hall in Chicago and in many ofher cities throughout America.

Rachmaninoff – 2nd Suite for Two Pianos

I Introduction
II Waltz
III Romance
IV Tarantella

Rachmaninoff’s “2nd Suite” is one of the staples of the duo-piano repertoire. This performance in 1983 at Brigham Young University is probably the finest we ever gave.

Percy Grainger – “Lincolnshire Posy”
Harkstow Grange
Ruffard Park Poachers
The Brisk Young Sailor
Lord Melbourne
The Lost Lady Found

The music for “Lincolnshire Posy” was sent to us by Grainger himself when we were 13 years old. We had met him the year before, when we performed at his recital in our hometown of Auburn, NY. Grainger considered “Lincolnshire Posy” his masterpiece. We agree! It took us many years to master this complicated score.

* Much of the information from which we drew our introduction is derived from the Contiguglia brothers’ website, at