“Vierhändig, immer einmal!” Piano Four Hands Music Symposium

25-26 January 2019

University of Music and Performing Arts Graz (Kunstuniversität Graz), Austria

This two-day symposium aims to shed light onto the fascinating genre of four-handed piano music from performance-related, historical, and analytical perspectives. The symposium brings together music scholars and performers, thereby creating a platform where ideas on performance research, music analysis, praxis of playing four-handed piano music, music cognition, music history, as well as socio-cultural studies can be shared in a collaborative environment. The title, “Vierhändig, immer einmal!” relates to Theodor W. Adorno’s brief essay, “Vierhändig, noch einmal” from 1933 in which Adorno laments how playing piano four hands has almost completely vanished from households. Nonetheless, in the 21st century, four-handed piano repertoire is still an important part of both professional and amateur music making and an interesting topic to examine, especially from the viewpoint of the more current strands of performance-related research. In addition to individual scholarly papers (20 min + 10 min discussion), the symposium strongly encourages active piano duo ensembles to participate in a lecture recital format (45–60 min + discussion).

Invited speakers of the symposium:

Thomas Christensen (University of Chicago)

Elizabeth Haddon and Mark Hutchinson (University of York)

László Stachó (Liszt Academy of Music, Budapest)


Specific topics of the symposium:

What kind of collaborative skills are needed to create a successful piano four hands duo?

What kind of impact did four-handed piano music have on the socio-cultural history of the long nineteenth century?

What would “performers’ analysis”, as suggested by John Rink (2002), look like within the four-handed context? How should we account for the characteristic nature of four-handed works – the only genre where two musicians share a single instrument?

How does four-handed piano music fit into the current contemporary music scene?

What role does four-handed music play in a pianist’s education?


Suggested topics especially for lecture recitals:

Introducing the praxis of four-handed playing

Modes of practicing, how to solve balancing issues, roles of primo and secondo, etc.

Presenting case studies on rehearsing four-handed piano work(s) for performance

Pianistic innovation through four-handed works in music history


Information concerning the proposals:

Presentation formats:

1) Individual papers 20 min + 10 min discussion

2) Lecture recitals 45–60 min + 15 min discussion


Symposium participants are also invited to perform in the opening evening concert on the first day of the symposium.

For both individual papers and lecture recitals, a proposal of ca. 500 words should be submitted by 15th of July 2018 in PDF format to the following email: cecilia.oinas@kug.ac.at. The proposal document should include the type of your submission, i.e. individual paper or lecture recital, and AV requirements (MAC or PC, sound, projection). The lecture recital proposal should also include information for the program, i.e. name of the composer(s), title(s) of the work(s), year of composition as well as duration. Names, affiliations or other identifying information should not appear on the proposal document, but please send them in a separate file.

The symposium venue (Kleiner Saal at Palais Meran) has one grand piano (Bösendorfer 225). Unfortunately, there is no possibility to play music for two pianos.


The symposium is free to attend.


The symposium organizers:

Dr Cecilia Oinas, senior scientist (music theory) and pianist at University of Music and Performing Arts Graz, Institute 1 (cecilia.oinas@kug.ac.at)

Prof Christian Utz, University of Music and Performing Arts Graz, Institute 1


 Financial supporters of the symposium:

 University of Music and Performing Arts Graz

Land Steiermark (Styrian government)


Symposium webpage: https://musiktheorie.kug.ac.at/en/event-archive/2019-vierhaendig-immer-einmal-piano-four-hands-music-symposium-25-26-january-2019.html