Spina & Benignetti
The spirit of music courses through the veins of Eleonora Spina and Michele Benignetti. Coming from a strong musical lineage with backgrounds as soloist and chamber musicians, the duo has appeared as soloists with orchestras across Italy, France, and the Netherlands. Eleonora and Michele’s partnership as a piano duo took off in 2013 and was met with positive critical acclaim. The American Record Guide,the oldest independent reviews magazine in USA writes: “Their ensemble is spot on, and there is a wonderful flow to the music under their fingers”.
In June 2014, they were unanimously awarded the prestigious ‘Diplôme Supérieur d’Exécution’ at the Ecole Normale De Musique Alfred Cortot in Paris, under the supervision of Chantal De Buchy. Lifelong learners, they received master’s degrees with honours in 2019 at the Maastricht Conservatorium of Music in the Netherlands under professors Igor Roma, Henk Guittart, and Enrico Pace. They also studied at the Universität für Musik in Graz with Sivan Silver and Gil Garburg.
Their acclaimed 2015 recording of Brahms’s complete works for two pianos for Brilliant Classics Records has been praised by audiences and critics alike. Many high-profile music magazines in Italy and France (Amadeus, Musica, Suonare News, Le Pianiste) regard the recording as among of their most notable work to date, awarding it the highest possible score in 2015. The Italian critic Luca Segalla commented that ‘. . . Eleonora Spina and Michele Benignetti, with utmost care and attention to sound, precisely execute the contrapuntal game of variation no. 4, carving out a finale which makes one feel as if one is listening to an orchestra . . .’ (Musica, September 2015).
Their album Lifetime followed in January 2017. Released by Sheva Collection, it went on to win Gold Medals for Best Album, Best Duo, and Best Emerging Artists at the 2017 Global Music Awards in La Jolla, California.
The new album “Visions” is also released on Sheva Collection, the London-based label, on July 2021 and it contains the worldwide premiere of César Franck’s Prelude, Fugue and Variation op.18, transcribed for piano four hands by Abel Marie Decaux. Theirs recordings were presented by Radio France, Rai Radio3, Radio Vaticana, Rete Toscana Classica, Radio Popolare Milano, SBS Australia and Radio Suisse. The duo recently performed live at Rai Radio3 in Rome for the radio show “La Stanza della Musica” produced by Stefano Roffi.
They won several international prizes in music competition for both chamber music and piano duo, including First Prize at the Pietro Argento Competition (Italy, 2013),Best Chamber Music Performance Award at the London Piano Masters (UK, 2013),First Prize at the European Music Competition of Moncalieri (Italy, 2014), First Prize & Brahms Special Prize at the Virtuoso Grand Prize Competition (France, 2015), First Prize at the A.M.A. Calabria Music Competition (Italy, 2015), Most Distinguished Artist Award at the IBLA Grand Prize (Italy, 2015), First Prize at the Concours Musical de France (France, 2016).
The duo performs regularly throughout Europe. Recent highlights include a recital for the live show ‘Génération Jeunes Interprètes’ at the Auditorium of the Maison de la Radio in Paris, broadcasts for the famed France Musique National Radio, a recital for the ‘Jeunes Talents’ concert series in Paris, a debut recital at the Osaka Izumi Hall in Japan, a concert tour in South Africa, and a performance at the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival. Their last tour in South Africa was a resounding success with critics and audiences. The tour saw them pack out venues across Johannesburg, Grahamstown, Hermanus, Potchefstroom, Pretoria, and several other cities. To quote the Potchefstroom Herald newspaper, ‘their two pianos recital will be long-remembered …’
In 2019, Eleonora and Michele performed triumphantly in Australia (‘four magic hands for a piano…’ SBS Australia) with numerous recitals in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, and Bateman’s Bay. In New Zealand, they performed at the Turner Center Kerikeri, Globe Theater Palmerston North, Wanganui Royal Opera House, and St Andrews on the Terrace in Wellington. Their Oceanic tour also saw them perform in China, notably at the Guangzhou Royal Opera House, Tianjin Grand Theater, Shandong Grand Theater, Nankai University, La Plantation Beijing, and Dalian Grand Theater, to name just a few. 2019 was one of their busiest years to date, with over fifty concerts played in six months.
In 2022 they will be on tour performing in Australia, Mexico and USA.
Eleonora and Michele are also professors who currently teach at the Cité de la Musique et de la Danse in Soissons, France. Additionally, they are often invited to give masterclasses in Italy, China, at the Summer International Academy of Colombes in Paris, at the Summer Music Academy of Flaine (France), at Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music in Melbourne and at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.
The Spina-Benignetti Piano Duo is an Official Yamaha Artist and has been proudly sponsored by them since December 2017.