Updated: Sep 19
The stage was set, the pianos were poised, and the hearts of attendees were open wide as the Two Piano Journey Benefit Recital unfolded on Saturday, September 16th, 2023, at Friday Musicale in Jacksonville, Florida. The performance not only delighted the senses, but also raised over $40,000 in support of Lutheran Social Services of Northeast Florida (LSS).
The night featured the talents of world-class pianists Michelle Chen Kuo and Christopher Kuo, the force behind Two Piano Journey. Their performance took the audience on an musical journey through a selection of pieces. The repertoire included:
Sergei Rachmaninoff's ethereal "Vocalise."
Johannes Brahms' lively and rhythmic "Hungarian Dance No. 8 in A Minor."
Frédéric Chopin's virtuosic "Rondo in C Major, Op. 73."
The passionate melodies of Astor Piazzolla's "Michaelangelo 70" and "Le Grand Tango" (arr. Pablo Ziegler).
Anton Arensky's charming "Selections from Suite No. 2, Op. 23," featuring "La Coquette," "Le Rêveur," and "La danseuse."
Sergei Rachmaninoff's evocative compositions, including "A Night from Love from Suite No. 1, Op. 5," the enchanting "Waltz from Suite No. 2, Op. 17," and the haunting "Mvt. III Lento assai from Symphonic Dances, Op. 45."
Witold Lutoslawski's mesmerizing "Variations on a Theme by Paganini."
Following the performance, concertgoers were invited to a reception that featured desserts catered by Biscottis. Additionally, attendees had the opportunity to view a photography exhibit of award-winning photographer, Mark Krancer.
The proceeds from the exhibit were dedicated to supporting LSS programs.
Christopher Kuo covered concert expenses, ensuring that every dollar raised through ticket sales, pledges, and sponsorships would be directed towards LSS essential services and programs.
The event was made possible through the generous support of our sponsors:
If you were unable to attend and want to support LSS and its services, go to lssjax.org to learn more.
Check out photos from the event:
About Two Piano Journey
Michelle and Christopher are a mother & son two piano team on a mission to make the world a better place. They are currently on a benefit concert tour, using their talents to raise money for nonprofits in the hunger relief, education, and social service sectors. Christopher was inspired to launch their project in 2016 to give his mother a chance to live her performance dreams after she sacrificed her career to raise her children. They have performed together in many major performance spaces, including Carnegie Hall in New York City, the San Francisco War Memorial & Performing Arts Center, the Eisemann Center in Dallas, and the David Friend Recital Hall at Berklee College of Music. In collaboration with many inspiring philanthropic organizations, they have been able to help raise more than $2,200,000 for social causes. Their partners include national organizations including Feeding America, Minds Matter, RLC, and the Chinese-American Planning Council, and their sponsors include the Taiwanese Economic & Cultural Development Office, Cathay Bank, and the Miranda Lux Foundation. Their project has been featured on NBC Bay Area, Asian American Life, and documentary short films have been produced by San Francisco based Feast Studios and Los Angeles based Elu Studios. Read more here.
About Mark Krancer
Mark Krancer moved to Jacksonville in 2014 and instantly fell in love with the beauty of the area. Whether a historic landmark, the activity of the river, or sweeping cityscapes, Mark saw potential. The First Coast’s beauty opened a passion. Shortly after, he began recording the spirit of the city and surrounding area through his photography. Mark appreciates beauty when he sees it, whether an inspiring sunrise on the St. Johns river, a tranquil seascape, historic preservation, or a beautiful soul.
Mark’s work has been displayed at various exhibits around Jacksonville, as well as internationally. Mark was a featured artist in the Haskell Gallery at Jacksonville International airport in 2017 for the “On City And Culture” exhibit, as well as the Maker-space gallery in the “Altered Objects” exhibit. His work has been shown at Usagi Art Gallery in Brooklyn, NY, MIA photo fair in Milan, Italy, as well as Galeria6mas1 in Madrid, Spain. Mark won the 2018 “Best Photographer” award in jacksonville.com’s Bold City Best Competition and the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville’s 2020 “Art of Giving” Art Award for his charitable work.
During Hurricane Irma, Mark trekked out into a flooded Memorial Park to capture what many consider to be the iconic shot of Jacksonville during the storm, “Life In The River,” which brought international attention. Mark has sold hundreds of prints, from Washington State to Sweden and Italy, all while helping benefit Memorial Park Association.
About Lutheran Social Services of Northeast Florida
Established over 44 years ago, Lutheran Social Services is a nonprofit organization supporting five program areas within the Northeast Florida community. Through hunger relief, HIV care, money management, refugee services and career/financial coaching, LSS has assisted hundreds of thousands of people. Learn more at www.lssjax.org.