Solo music is simple: One person, one responsibility. But when composers write for two or more instruments, do they always distribute the parts evenly?
No, according to pianist Andre-Michel Schub, who will appear in recital Saturday with violinist Cho-Liang Lin at the Irvine Barclay Theatre.
"Some music has a bigger part for one instrument or for the other," Schub said recently, on the phone from his home in New York City. "But in terms of the flow of the line, the shape and the structure of the piece, Jimmie (Lin) and I approach it--and present each other--as a 50-50 kind of thing."
Their program, sponsored by the Laguna Chamber Music Society and the Orange County Philharmonic Society, will include works by Beethoven, Debussy, Ravel and Prokofiev.
The Beethoven Sonata in A, said Schub, "is essentially a piano sonata. But I play it differently than if I were playing a sonata by myself. I don't control the whole thing, even if the piano predominates.
"Similarly, in the last movement of the Ravel (Sonate), the violin predominates, but Jimmie doesn't approach it as if he's playing the last movement of the Sibelius Violin Concerto."
Born in Paris in 1952, Schub moved to the United States with his parents when he was 8 months old. He began his piano studies with his mother when he was 4 and later studied with Jascha Zayde.
He continued his studies with Rudolf Serkin at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. He won the Naumberg International Piano Competition in 1974 and the Grand Prize award at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 1981.
Lin, born in Taiwan in 1960, began playing the violin when he was 5. Sent to study at the Sydney Conservatorium after winning the Taiwan National Youth Competition when he was 12, he was directed by violinist Itzhak Perlman to study with the renowned pedagogue Dorothy DeLay at the Juilliard School in New York. He now teaches there and continues an active concert career.
Schub and Lin began playing together in 1980. Schub was a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; Lin had been invited as a guest.
"He played the C-minor Beethoven Sonata," Schub recalls. "We read through it once, and it felt great. A few years later, (Lin) was recording Stravinsky repertory I was interested in. We got together and made a CD (for CBS Masterworks). After that, we played a week of concerts each year, when our schedules would permit.
"At this point we've played quite a lot together. I know him very well, musically and personally, so you can get more easily into the music and not be bothered by externals . . .
"We play off each other and grow. I hear (musical) lines in a different way than I would otherwise. I think that's great. When you collaborate with some someone and respect him enough to be open to growth, artistically that's the most satisfying part of it."
* Pianist Andre-Michel Schub and violinist Cho-Liang Lin will play works by Beethoven, Debussy, Ravel and Prokofiev on Thursday at the Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine. Curtain: 8 p.m. $12.50 to $25. A presentation of the Orange County Philharmonic Society and the Laguna Chamber Music Society. (714) 854-4646.