Hailed as “beyond brilliant” (San Francisco Classical Voice) and “simply stunning” (Gramophone), the Bugallo-Williams Piano Duo has been presenting innovative programs of contemporary music around the world since 1995. Helena Bugallo and Amy Williams perform cutting-edge new works and masterpieces of the 20th century for piano four-hands and two pianos. They have premiered dozens of works, many of which were written for the Duo, and they have worked directly with such renowned composers as David Lang, Louis Andriessen, Lukas Foss, Tania León, Bernard Rands, Carola Bauckholt, Peter Eötvös, and Steve Reich. They also collaborate with composers who explore new approaches to the piano through multimedia applications, electronics, and extended techniques. They frequently perform with additional players in works for multiple keyboards, chamber works for duo piano and instruments, and concertos.
As part of their mission to expand the repertoire for piano duet, the Duo undertook an extensive transcription project of the Studies for Player Piano by Conlon Nancarrow. This resulted in their critically acclaimed debut recording of Nancarrow's works for piano duet and solo piano (Wergo, 2004). Their subsequent CD “Stravinsky in Black and White” (Wergo, 2007) includes the composer’s own arrangements for piano duet and two pianos, two of which are world premiere recordings. It was named one of the “Essential Stravinsky Recordings” by Gramophone. Wergo will release a second volume of Stravinsky transcriptions in early 2018. The Duo has also recorded works by Kurtág, Varèse, Feldman, Ginastera, Liderman, Williams, Oña, and Bartók.
The Duo was formed in 1995, when Williams and Bugallo were graduate students at the University at Buffalo. They soon became regular performers at the June In Buffalo Festival, where they worked directly with numerous emerging and established composers. They began their Nancarrow project shortly thereafter, leading to their first performances in Europe (at the Aarhus Festival in Denmark in 1998) and South America (at the Ciclo de conciertos de música contemporánea in Buenos Aires in 2000). They were fellows at the Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart, Germany in 2000 and 2001. Other feature appearances include Miller Theatre, Wittener Tage für Neue Kammermusik, Ojai Festival, CAL Performances, Warsaw Autumn Festival, Muziekgebouw aan't IJ in Amsterdam, Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, MusikTriennale Köln, Festival Attacca in Stuttgart, Institut Hongrois in Paris, and Tampere Biennale in Finland. Avid proponents of contemporary music, they frequently present master classes and lecture-demonstrations at colleges and universities in the Americas and Europe.
In addition to the Duo, Amy is a composer, festival organizer and professor of composition/theory at the University of Pittsburgh. Helena is a piano teacher at the Musik Akademie Basel and a musicologist primarily researching the music of Conlon Nancarrow.