Four hands better than two: Moore and Maroudas play Kahilu

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Cheryl “Quack” Moore
Anthony Maroudas

If you thought classical music was old school, you ain’t seen Moore and Maroudas yet.

Cheryl “Quack” Moore and Anthony Maroudas will grace the stage at 4 p.m. Sunday at Waimea’s Kahilu Theatre to ring in 2018 with what the Kahilu’s website describes as “a program of rarely heard piano duets, designed to explore the extraordinary dimensions of Kahilu’s beloved Steinway D concert grand.”

Moore said members of the audience, including youth interested in diverse styles of music, will feel energized by the selections, which include the works of Rachmaninoff, Dvorak, Mozart, Schoenfield, Barber and Ravel in “four-hand works.”

Each song was chosen by one of the performers.

“The only rule is, we both have to love-love it,” Moore said.

Anyone who has witnessed a musician glide into “the pocket” — a term for when the performer seems to “leave” the stage and become one with the music — will recognize that a musician’s love for a song can bring energy to it.

The pair of pianists, fresh from a morning practice of their program Thursday, said they were fatigued from performing their piece de resistance, which requires intense crossing of arms, hands and, almost, minds.

“We’re completely exhausted,” Moore said, “and completely stoked and excited at the same time.”

Playing four-hand on a Steinway is like an aerobics session on the keyboard.

“It’s all over the place. It’s like all hell has broken loose,” said Maroudas, who teaches classical piano in Hilo.

“We’re playing as one person, our friend would say; one person with 20 fingers,” said Moore, a two-time Emmy winner and former music director of “Saturday Night Live.”

She and Maroudas say they perform at this stage of their lives because of the love of music, something young musicians will identify with.

Playing four-hand, Maroudas said, is like a trapeze artist who trains alongside a partner and believes she will be caught.

“What we’re doing here is a matter of trust,” he said.

While they play, their fingers become so intertwined that one or the other will finesse how a note or musical phrase is played.

The other carries that theme forward.

“Quite often, when we’re finished playing, we don’t say anything,” Maroudas said. “We just smile at each other.”

The Kahilu’s Steinway allows finesse, Moore said.

“We know that we can very gently play something that is extremely gentle that can be heard in the hall,” she said.

But the subtleties of the instrument also allow sudden striking of very loud percussive keys.

“People will go, ‘Oh my God, is all that coming out of one instrument?’” Maroudas said.

Pianists are at the mercy of whatever piano is available, Moore said.

That’s why it’s such a thrill to play a Steinway.

“You’d crawl on your knees through crushed glass to get to that piano,” Moore said. “That’s how badly you want to play it.”

She said the audience will pick up on the energy from the pieces they chose.

“We give them enormous energy and life,” she said. “I cannot imagine that somebody would not be moved.”

But caution is essential, especially, Maroudas said, with “fingernail maintenance.”

“We can really hurt each other,” Moore said.

“You draw blood,” Maroudas said. “You draw blood.”

Ticket prices for the show are $25, $48 and $68 and can be purchased at Ages 17 and younger will be admitted free.

Email Jeff Hansel at