“DuWors and Niekawa are a beautifully balanced duo, with exceptional intonation and a tangible empathy” (Gramophone Magazine). duo526 was founded in 2011 at the Eastman School of Music (Rochester, NY). Their mentors include Charles Castleman, Jean Barr, Henk Guittart, Roger Tapping, Lafayette String Quartet, Hardy Rittner, and Mark Steinberg. duo526 has performed across Canada, the U.S., and Japan and has had artist residencies at the Banff Centre, the Leighton Artist Studios, and Avaloch Farm Music Institute.
duo526 is dedicated to creative thought and the art of listening through the study and performance of a vast repertoire across an array of styles. Their joy of collaboration results from risk-taking, inspiration and spontaneous reactions. Their name was inspired by Mozart’s last Sonata for Violin and Piano K. 526, the first work presented to them for their equal virtuosic flair and refined musicianship. Committed to mentorship and pedagogy, duo526 started their annual summer Sonata Seminar in 2018 at Brandon University and the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University.
duo256 is passionate about diverse collaborative music and sharing performances in unconventional ways. In 2016, duo526 launched their “Mozart in Public Spaces” project: video recordings for social media of the complete Mozart sonatas in conjunction with the “Play Me I’m Yours” street pianos installations all over the world. They have given performances at the "Experience Villa-Lobos" Festival at Virginia Commonwealth University, Oklahoma University, University of Victoria, Gustin House Recital Series, the Regina Chamber Music Festival, Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Music Society, the Dream Big Collaborative Conference, and Munetsugu Hall. duo526 will be a featured artist for "Living Room Live" 2024-25, a not-for-profit organization founded to make classical house concerts happen in rural areas and urban centres across Canada.
Travels to Berlin, Vienna, Salzburg, Prague, Budapest, Amsterdam, New York City and Iceland give duo526 insight and inspiration. duo526’s 2014 debut album, Ballade, exemplifies this spirit and experience through the sonatas by Janáček, Enescu and Grieg. Their latest album DUO FANTASY features works by Villa-Lobos, Bax and Bolcom and was released in May 2019. They are currently working on a "Roots Project" featuring the complete sonatas by Nguyen Văn Quy, and will travel to Vietnam in 2024.
"Niekawa and DuWors create an art that goes beyond mere interpretation. The personality of the two musicians expands out with a creative attitude towards the world" (Sonograma Magazine).
With “exceptional intonation and a tangible empathy” (Gramophone Magazine), Canadian violinist KERRY DuWORS is an acclaimed soloist, chamber musician, and Associate Professor at Brandon University. Described as having a “commanding combination of strength, sweetness and brightness” (WholeNote Magazine), she has performed across Canada, the US, Japan, Central Asia, Europe, Mexico and New Zealand. She recently toured Portugal, Armenia and Georgia with JUNO-award-winning jazz pianist and composer David Braid. Memorable performances with James Ehnes, Yo-Yo Ma, Dame Evelyn Glennie, Montreal's collectif9 and New York's The Knights. She has been a soloist with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Winnipeg Symphony, Saskatoon Symphony, Montreal Chamber Orchestra, and Manitoba Chamber Orchestra.
DuWors has won prestigious awards including Grand Prize at the 26th Eckhardt-Gramatté Competition, Felix Galimir Award for Chamber Music Excellence, two Canada Council for the Arts Career Development Grants, and a Canada Council Explore and Create Grant. She is a four-time laureate of the Canada Council for the Arts’ Musical Instrument Bank.
2023-24 projects include guest artist residencies and Sonata Seminar at Indiana University with long-time duo526 piano partner Futaba Niekawa, Turkish-Classical Music project “Continuum” for Winnipeg’s Virtuosi Concert Series, Prairie Debut violin-piano recitals in Alberta and Saskatchewan with Katherine Dowling, Manitoba première of Luis Ramirez’s Immigration Suite, tours with David Braid in Canada and The Netherlands, classical-electronic collaborations with violist Ryan Davis /Radia for GroundSwell, and the launch of the “Roots Project" featuring music by Vietnamese composers Nguyen Văn Quy and Tôn-Thât Tiêt.
Known for her verve and sensitivity, Japanese pianist FUTABA NIEKAWA pushes the boundaries of her artistry as a soloist and collaborative pianist across genres and disciplines. She has performed throughout the United States, Canada, England, Taiwan, and Japan at notable venues including Jordan Hall, Merkin Hall, Taiwan’s National Concert Hall, and Sumida-Triphony Concert Hall. Niekawa’s passion for multi-disciplinary collaboration and performing music of her generation have led to artistic partnerships with composers, dancers, poets, and visual artists.
Her long time duo partnership with violinist Kerry DuWors, duo526, has led to numerous performances, recordings, and artist residencies at the Banff Centre and Avaloch Farm Music Institute. Since 2012, Niekawa has released three recordings (PARMA Recordings, Petrichor Records) and her live performances have been recorded for radio broadcast. Niekawa has been engaged as a collaborative pianist at the Banff Centre, New England Conservatory, Boston Ballet School, Meadowmount School of Music, and the IU Summer String Academy.
Niekawa earned her Doctorate of Musical Arts degree from the Eastman School of Music in 2013. She is dedicated to pedagogy, mentoring, and performance practice. Niekawa shares her passion through masterclasses and workshops at duo526’s annual Sonata Seminar and has been invited as a guest teacher at colleges and universities in North America including the University of Calgary, University of Northern Colorado, Brandon University, and Middle Tennessee State University. Since 2015, Niekawa has been on the faculty for Chamber and Collaborative Piano at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music.