Praise for Tales from the East CD
..."gorgeously light touch"
"There is bell-like tone in the "Russian Dance" and lots of mystery and more than a bit of mischief in “Petrushka’s Room"... “Scheherazade” is full of whimsical action that is rendered with a gorgeously light touch and a lot of good, old-fashioned speed executed with precision and great musicality. ... Polovetsian Dances from “Prince Igor” are utterly charming. The disc ends with Prokofiev’s “Fantasy — Suite “Cinderella.” The dream-like quality of the music is drawn out with warmth. Sometimes four hands are truly better than two."
-M. L. Rantala, The Hyde Park Herald, 2 January 2020
"Stravinsky: one is impressed that the performance brings out the lyricism (as opposed to usual highlighted percussiveness) of the score... Rimsky: the playing is splendid. ... Borodin: another gem - very beautiful. Fantastic ending!"
-Jeffrey Biegel for The American Prize Competition, Spring 2019
"Right from the first tracks, this is a special release. ... I like EStrella Piano Duo's playing of the Babin arrangement (of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring) best. ... (The Fantasy on Prokofieff's Cinderella) is superbly played by EStrella. A fitting conclusion to a memorable release."
-Harrington, American Record Guide, May/June 2019
..."tremendous sympathy and intuitive identification"
"The more I hear this performance of Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Festival in Baghdad, the more I love it. It’s a passionate, nuanced, detailed translation of the original, rhythmically flexible, technically precise and replete with thunderous oration, delicate filigree, and dreamy sensuality. EStrella has the full measure of Borodin’s Polovetsian Dances, from the lovely tone bestowed on the heartfelt yearning of the Andantino’s irresistible melody, to the wild abandon of the Allegro Vivo, the threatening grandeur of the Allegro’s paean to the Great Khan, that reaches its dynamic apotheosis in truly impressive fortissimos, and the galloping insistence of the Presto, with its spellbinding thematic inter-weavings and Islamey-like pianistic devices. Svetlana Belsky and Elena Doubovitskaya not only perform these fine transcriptions with tremendous sympathy and intuitive identification, but they uninhibitedly communicate their joy in doing so. What more could one ask?"
-Robert Schulslaper, Fanfare Magazine
"The rapport between Belsky and Doubovitskaya is utterly remarkable. ... The achievement of conveying such busy textures in such an exciting way and yet remaining clarity throughout is astonishing. It is in some of the exchanges between the pianists here that one really does get the feeling of two absolutely equal pianists."
-Colin Clarke,Fanfare Magazine
“Anyone who thinks classical music is boring needs to check out Tales From the East, a collection of dramatic piano duets by Russian composers performed by the EStrella Piano Duo.Overflows with joyous energy and dazzling piano technique. Awesome in the truest sense of the word!."
-Kathy Parsons, Mainly Piano Album Review
"Svetlana Belsky and Elena Doubovitskaya are superb pianists on their own; together as the EStrella Piano Duo, they are doubly superb. The pianists are consummate artists who together bring new pleasures and new insights to much traveled roads."
-John Puccio, Classical Candor
From Recent Concerts
“Music lovers of Yangzhou got a real treat from EStrella Piano Duo this evening. It was an extraordinary performance of unusual precision that rocked the concert hall."
-Music Review, Yangzhou Evening News, China
“We concluded our very successful 2013/14 classical concert season on Sunday, May 18, with the magnificent EStrella Piano Duo. Their breathtaking performance in our hall, including the very personal introductions of each piece by Svetlana, certainly kept me in thrall.”
-Hardy von Auenmueller, Music Director, German Society of Philadelphia
“Duo-pianists Elena Doubovitskaya and Svetlana Belsky offered a muscular and charged Rite of Spring. The event was a two-piece, multi-disciplinary performance with dance at the heart… always engaging, sometimes inventive, and in some perfectly timed moments, stunningly beautiful.”
-M. L. Rantala, Classical Music Critic, the Hyde Park Herald
"hands flying everywhere, occasionally crossing over each others’ hands, and bodies, with such grace and, at times, glorious frenzy, that one had to watch, not just listen, to fully appreciate the experience. [Belsky] had displayed a wonderful sense of humor during her introductions to the songs.
... their music was hot."
…"obvious skill, talent and musicianship”
“The response to your performance was positive in every respect: your choice of music, its execution and interpretation and the obvious skill, talent and musicianship you both possess. I hope we can arrange for a repeat visit in the future.”
-Gloria Cook, Director, Meadow Lakes Community Concerts, NJ
“Thank you to both of you for providing such a stellar performance and being so easy to work with!”
-Stacy Michel, Program Coordinator, Gail Borden Public Library, IL
"Well, you and Svetlana wowed all the patrons at the Villa Terrace this morning!! Your selections and commentary were absolutely perfect for the occasion and the caliber of performance was outstanding!"
-Thallis Hoyt Drake, Program Coordinator, Sopra Mare Music Series, Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Musieum, WI