Fourth Friday Concert Series – Friday, March 22nd, 7:30PM

March 22, 2024 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm America/New York Timezone
Ruggero Piano
4720-120 Hargrove Road. Raleigh
NC 27616
Ruggero Piano

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Performer Bio

Czech pianist Kristina Henckel and Cuban pianist Amanda Virelles formed 4HANDS Piano Duo in 2019. Their duo repertoire includes master pieces from the Classical, Romantic and 20th century periods. Both pianists started performing careers in their countries of origin, and completed doctoral degrees in piano performance and pedagogy in the United States. Currently, both Kristina and Amanda hold faculty positions in North Carolina, at Sandhills Community College and Fayetteville State University.

Dr. Kristina Henckel, an accomplished pianist and teacher, is a native of the Czech Republic. She is a graduate of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, under the tutelage of Professor Peter Toperczer. During her study she received several awards in competitions held in the Czech Republic: third prize in the Chopin Piano Competition and Smetana International Piano Competition, and first prize in the National Piano Competition of Conservatories, including an award for best performance of Antonín Dvořák’s composition. At 18 Kristina debuted with Beethoven’s Concerto No. 5 Op. 73 “Emperor” with the Hradec Králové Philharmonic Orchestra. She further collaborated as a soloist with other regional orchestras in the Czech Republic.

After relocating to the United States in 1999, Kristina continued her studies by earning a doctorate in Piano Performance and Pedagogy at the University of Oklahoma. In Oklahoma she acquired additional awards for her performances: first prize in the Donna Turner-Smith Piano Competition and first prize at the Graduate Concerto Competition 2012. In addition, her dissertation “Pianistic Analysis of Bedřich Smetana’s Piano Cycle Dreams” was nominated for the University of Oklahoma Provost’s Dissertation Prize 2016.

Kristina has performed numerous solo and collaborative recitals in Europe and United States. She also made several recordings for Radio Vltava, Czech Republic. In the fall of 2015 she became a Ritmüller piano artist. In May 2016, she released a CD with the piano trio Turnía featuring the piano trios of Antonín Dvořák and Bedřich Smetana. In April 2016 the ensemble was featured on the radio show Northwest Focus on King FM 98.1 in Seattle, WA. Kristina is also a member of the 4HANDS Piano Duo with Cuban-American pianist Amanda Virelles.

Currently she serves as music faculty at Fayetteville State University and Sandhills Community College in North Carolina.

Amanda Virelles has played for audiences around the world captivating them with her unique sound and deep interpretations. Her performances have been described as sensible, profound, and energetic. She has performed as a soloist as well as collaborative artist throughout the United States, Europe, South and Central America and the Caribbean.

Amanda began her piano studies in Cuba with Emilio Morales, and later with Serguei Leschenko, continued with Heirinch Neuhaus’ protegé Margarita Fyodorova at Moscow State Conservatory Tchaikovsky, and received her Master of Fine Arts Degree from the Russian Academy of Music Gnessins in Moscow, Russia, under the guidance of Inna Malinina, former disciple of Alexander Goldenwieser. Virelles also holds a Master Degree and a Doctoral Degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Southern Mississippi, where she received both a full assistantship and a fellowship as the winner of the Doctoral Assistantship Competition. While at USM, Amanda was a student of Dr. Lois Leventhal.

After winning First Prize and an Special Prize for best Cuban and Latin-American music performance in the “Amadeo Roldan” Piano Competition, in Cuba, she was given a full scholarship to study in Russia. She appeared as a soloist with several orchestras in Europe and South America under the direction of renowned conductors such as Yoshikatsu Fukumura, Mikhail Shervakov, Dmitir Manolov, Fillipo Zigante, Kimbo Ishii – Eto, and Miguel Harth-Bedoya. She was a featured winner of the William T. Gower Concerto Competition with the USM Symphony Orchestra under conductor Jay Dean. She has also performed under the baton of Raul Munguia and Alejandro Drago.

As a pedagogue Dr. Virelles has served as an Associate Professor of Music at Universidad del Atlántico in Colombia, in the fields of classical piano, theory, and chamber music from 1997 to 2003. Previously, she was on the piano faculty at the Conservatorio Nacional in Lima, Peru. Since her arrival to the United States, she has also served at Lane College, Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music and at the School of Music of Belmont University. Currently, Dr. Virelles is an Associate Professor of Music at Fayetteville State University, in Fayetteville, North Carolina and teaches piano at Fayetteville School of Music

Amanda is an avid performer of chamber music and plays regularly with “Duo Guitiano” with Colombian-American guitarist Carlos Castilla and 4HANDS Piano Duo, with Czech pianist Kristina Henckel. Her solo and duo recordings are available in digital platforms.

Founded in June, 2003, the Fourth Friday Concert Series, formerly know as the 4th Friday Mix, stands as one of our area’s longest-running concert series. We remain committed to providing free and inclusive concerts that welcome musicians with a passion for sharing their talents. All attendees, including children capable of listening attentively, are warmly welcomed. Fourth Friday Concerts typically feature 2-4 performers or performance groups, although special occasions may showcase a single performer or group for the entire concert. 

Customer Reviews

Richard Ruggero offers some of the highest level of pianos in today’s market. He and his staff provide quality care by understanding the consumer’s needs, developing personal relationships, and generating professional standards. - Jeanine Skinner, Music Academy South

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