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A seamless fusion of harp and piano

25.11.2020 – CHRISTIAN BERZINS

Say to a concert promoter that you want to perform as a harp-and-piano duo on stage, and they will probably ask you what your day job is. A Zug-based harpist and her piano-playing daughter were undeterred ten years ago – and have made a name for themselves as “Duo Praxedis”.

Both are actually called Praxedis: mother Praxedis Hug-Rüti and daughter Praxedis Geneviève Hug. Both are trained pianists – the harp became Praxedis Hug-Rüti’s second instrument when she was a student. After marrying, Hug-Rüti devoted less attention to piano playing and more time to her newborn daughter. Then one day, Praxedis senior and Praxedis junior performed together at a private event. “We didn’t even know what piece to play at first, but we took Mozart’s Sonata for Two Pianos in D major, K. 448, and managed to bumble our way through on harp and piano,” says the mother.

The two of them quickly realised that there was a wealth of original works out there for harp and piano. They now have an extremely wide repertoire that includes original compositions from the 19th century as well as arrangements of famous works, contemporary music, and their own arrangements. The duo have a very eclectic discography spanning twelve recordings over the last seven years. Praxedis junior: “If you are an artist, you need to make albums. Every CD puts us back in the shop window.”

Mother and daughter get on both personally and musically, but they also regard themselves as soloists. “We are two individual musicians, but we support and look after each other on stage.” Regardless of how the other is playing. “If my mother nails her harp cadenza, I have to nail my cadenza too. If she doesn’t, I have to up my game even more!”

Individualists they may be, but it is remarkable how both adapt their own sound to that of the other. Unless you listened carefully, you would be forgiven for mistaking the harp notes for the piano notes, and vice versa. It is a seamless fusion of two instruments and two musicians.

Albums (selection)
Carl Rütti Works for Harp & Piano, Ars Produktion, 2019
Grand Duet, Ars Produktion, 2017
Dreaming, Idagio, 2010

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