Guher & Suher Pekinel

Biography by

Güher & Süher Pekinel are fiercely independent twins who tend to work out any differences of opinion before they go on stage as duo pianists.
Read Full Biography

Artist Biography by

Güher & Süher Pekinel are fiercely independent identical twins who always find a way to work out any differences of opinion before they go on stage as duo pianists. They have to, being a team that happens to play essentially back to back rather than facing each other, as most piano duos do. The sisters admit there is some amount of innate sensitivity to each other, but insist that not having eye contact gives them a deeper connection to the music. It forces them to fully understand the music -- not just its notes and dynamics, but its origins and what the composer intended as well -- and to listen to each other. If one sister is more emotional about a work, the other will be more intellectual about it, making for a well-balanced approach that earns them glowing reviews wherever they go.

The sisters were given their first lessons by their mother, also a professional pianist. They debuted at 6 and played Mozart's Double Concerto with the Ankara Philharmonic when they were 9, after which they stopped playing duets together. For the next 10 years, the two were educated as soloists, even sharing first prize at the German National Piano Competition when they were 18. As well as the Paris Conservatory and Frankfurter Musikhochschule, the Pekinels studied at the Curtis Institute with Rudolf Serkin, at Juilliard, and with Claudio Arrau, Adele Marcus, Yvonne Loriod, and Mieczyslaw Horszowski. As a duo team, Herbert von Karajan invited them to play at the 1984 Salzburg Festival, which marked the beginning of their international careers. Their first recording, of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring and the Rachmaninov suites for two pianos, was very well received. Dedication to the traditional works, a solid technique, and the ability to match their artistic expression appropriately to works of any era are what set them apart, especially when compared to their contemporaries, Katia & Marielle Labèque. However, in 1999, the Pekinels essayed jazz, recording an album of arrangements based on Bach, with Jacques Loussier and his trio. With the new century dawning, the Pekinels were actively recording and performing, and advocating the foundation of a music library at the Istanbul Culture and Congress Centre to house not only a collection of traditional European Classical music, but Turkish and Middle Eastern music as well. As of 2006, the sisters were awaiting the release of a disc of Bach concertos and a reissue of their Stravinsky/Rachmaninov recording.