With two grand pianos on the stage of the McKay Auditorium, pianists Scott and Stacy McCarrey presented “The McCarrey Piano Duo” on Sept. 28. Amazed by their musical cooperation, the McCarrey’s piano students commented on their unity and dedication to practice.
Having never hosted a performance with two separate pianos, the musical experience was a first for BYU-Hawaii and the McCarreys, shared Scott McCarrey, a piano professor of BYUH “We worked a lot just be together [while playing].”
He said while two pianists can have different ideas, the cooperation between them was the hardest part of their piano duo. Scott McCarrey said he and his wife would give advice to one another about how to perform. “You have to meet together. So we kept trying and [were] honest with each other. My wife Stacy is amazing in that way. She helped me understand different possibilities.”
Another challenge the McCarreys faced was the uneven volumes between the two pianos. Stacy McCarrey, a piano professor of BYUH explained, “The sound of the piano that is usually in the recital hall is a lot larger. It’s interesting to try to balance the sound… we couldn’t really hear anything when we played [on stage].”
Despite dealing with difficulties of sound and unity on stage, Stacy McCarrey still described the piano performance as a fun experience with her husband. She explained how a duet on one piano compared to playing in unison on two separate pianos. She said nice it was for them to have their own paddles during their performance so they could control the whole sound of their own instruments.
Ka Lun Wong, an assistant professor of math and former piano student of Scott McCarrey, recalled his memories with him. “I was his student for three years. He’s a good teacher. He’s highly skillful. It’s good to see the McCarreys perform again. I can tell they must have put in a lot of effort.”
Wong described the piano duo as an “explosive” performance, especially the last piece “La Valse”, composed by Maurice Ravel.
Sabrina Lin, a junior from Taiwan majoring in piano performance said, “My heart was pounding and I was completely excited when they played ‘La Valse.’” Lin said she considered herself lucky to have the chance to come to the recital.
As the score-page turner for Stacy McCarrey, Hansol Lee, piano student of Stacy McCarrey, described the recital as one of the best performances she’s ever been to even though she couldn’t sit with the audience to enjoy.
The McCarreys started preparing for the piano duo four years ago. Stacy McCarrey shared, “Things just kept happening in our lives so we kept putting it off. Finally, we decided to do it.”
Lee, a senior from Korea majoring in piano performance, wanted students to know “this type of concert is very rare at BYUH. It takes much effort to practice individually, and even more to put two pianos together. I could feel how much effort they put on piano practice for decades. I’m so grateful to be there and that I am learning from them.”
Sarah Kutomi, piano student of Scott McCarrey and a sophomore from Japan majoring in piano performance, said she felt the importance of practice from their performance. “Sometimes, [when] Brother McCarrey tells me to practice one thing, I’d think it’s hard to do that every day, but now I see without those practices, no one could perform like that.
“Bro. McCarrey has taught me different piano techniques during class, and I could really see those techniques presented by the two teachers during the performance.”