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, 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 honors, 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 (Austria) with Sivan Silver and Gil Garburg.
The duo performs regularly throughout Europe and across the globe: Salle Cortot, Auditorium Opera Bastille, Maison de la Radio in Paris and Palais Acropolis in Nice (France), Hijstekzaal Maastricht and Linburgzaal Heerlen (The Netherlands), Grosser Konzertsaal in Munich (Germany), Izumi Hall Osaka (Japan), Auditorium Galindo Blas in Mexico City and Teatro de la Ciudad in Celaya (Mexico), Guangzhou Royal Opera House, Tianjin Grand Theater, Shandong Grand Theater and Auditorium Nankai University (China), Kerikeri Turner Center and Wanganui Royal Opera House (New Zealand), to name just a few.
Invited to perform 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 and New Zealand (‘four magic hands for a piano' - SBS Australia) with numerous recitals in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra.
Recent highlights include their performances at the Maison de la Radio and at the Theatre de l'Alliance Française in Paris for the radio shows ‘Génération Jeunes Interprètes’ and ‘Génération France Musique - le Live’ broadcasts for the famed Radio France National Radio. Live on Rai Radio3, the duo performed for the radio program “La Stanza della Musica”. All podcasts are available on major digital music service providers.
Theirs recordings were presented by Radio France, Rai Radio3, Vatican Radio, Rete Toscana Classica, Radio Popolare Milano, SBS Australia, Art Sound FM Canberra, Cultura FM Brazil and Radio Suisse.
During the upcoming concert season, they will perform on main venues in Australia and South Africa.
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, 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 Magazine, September 2015).
The 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 (USA). The third album ‘Visions’ is also released on Sheva Collection, the London-based label, on July 2021 and it contains the premiere of César Franck's Prelude, Fugue and Variation op.18, transcribed for piano four hands by Abel Marie Decaux. In September 2022, the new album “Schubert’s Music for Piano Four Hands” is released with Apple Digital Masters certification, by UK label Ulysses Arts, featuring Schubert’s major works for piano duet and a transcription of the Trout Piano Quintet D667 for piano four hands.
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 at the Summer International Academy of Colombes and at the Summer Arts Academy of Flaine (France), at the Beijing International Music Institute and Tianjin School of Music (China), at Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music in Melbourne and at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music (Australia).
The Spina-Benignetti Piano Duo is an Official Yamaha Artist and has been proudly sponsored by them since December 2017.