New Muse Piano Duo
The New Muse Piano Duo (Paola Savvidou and Jonathan Kuuskoski), based in Ann Arbor, MI, specializes in music of the 20th and 21st centuries. They actively commission and perform newly composed works for four-hands and two pianos, with a particular interest in exploring the piano in its fullest capacity as a string, percussion, and keyboard instrument.
Tours have taken them across the United States to universities in Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and abroad to the Ionian University in Corfu (Greece). International engagements include guest artist recitals at the European Association for Music in Schools Conference and the Biennial Euro-Mediterranean Musicological Conference at the University of Nicosia, Cyprus, and a lecture-recital at the European Piano Teachers Association Conference in Oslo. Other US festival appearances include Omaha Under the Radar and the Women Composers Festival of Hartford, CT. Based at the University of Missouri from 2012-2015, they were featured artists at the Missouri Music Teachers Association State Conference and the Mizzou International Composers Festival, and have enjoyed multiple performances at local series such as the Odyssey Chamber Music Series, the Friends of Music St. Louis and the University of Missouri St. Louis Monday Noon Series.
They have received grants for commissioning and recording new music from the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation (supported by the Mizzou New Music Initiative), the Richard Wallace Faculty Incentive Grant Award, the MU Research Arts Council, and the MU School of Music. Their first CD was released by the Blue Griffin label and it includes commissions by Gabriel Prokofiev, Amy Williams, Haley Myers and curated works by Emily Doolittle, Oleg Bezborodko, Henrik Ajax, James Romig and Stacey Barelos. They have also commissioned duo works by Matthew Heap and Jeffrey Hoover, and solo works by Robert Honstein and James Romig.
Beyond performing, the duo frequently presents at conferences and leads workshops in their areas of expertise. Paola specializes in musicians' wellness and injury-prevention and Jonathan in entrepreneurship and career planning for artists. Most recently they have presented at the Texas Music Teachers Association Conference, the Colorado Piano Pedagogy Symposium, and at the Soundry Workshop as part of Omaha Under the Radar.
As co-founders of the New Music Everywhere ensemble in Madison, WI, which was praised for “liberating classical music from its Muzzack barracks” (The Onion), they hosted a multi-disciplinary arts festival, and collaborated with many composers including Laura Schwendinger, Jeff Herriott, and Robert Honstein, along with the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Sole Nero, and Madison-based troupes including the Deer Heart Dance Company, The Weather Duo, Mad Town Ballroom, and the UW First Wave Hip Hop Learning Community.
Paola Savvidou serves as Wellness Coordinator and Global Engagement Advisor at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theater & Dance and owns a private studio (Music Lotus) in Ann Arbor, MI, offering a unique combination piano and yoga lessons. Jonathan Kuuskoski serves as Assistant Director of Entrepreneurship and Career Services at the University of Michigan School of Music Theater & Dance.