Katherine Alexandra grew up in Russia, and graduated with honors from the Moscow Conservatory with a degree in piano performance. She has won international piano competitions and has studied classical voice. But ever since she was a little girl, she dreamed of living in the United States and being a pop singer.
Brian Gurl is American all the way, and began his music career playing piano around his native New Hampshire. He has a penchant for rock, ragtime, gospel and musical theater.
Their disparate backgrounds are part of what makes their show, "Four Hands -- One Piano," so interesting, Gurl said.
Their show, which comes to the Manatee Performing Arts Center in Bradenton for two shows this weekend, blends and contrasts the two performers' styles.
"We will be performing two piano duets sitting and playing together, plus playing separately, and two duets on two pianos," he said. "The duets are very virtuosic and humorous pieces, including one that morphs from Liszt's 'Hungarian Rhapsody' into 'Chopsticks,' with overtones of Victor Borge. Another is a totally one-of-a-kind version of Billy Joel's 'Root Beer Rag.' "
Besides the piano pieces, the show features vocal performances by Alexandra, who offers pop songs made famous by such stars as Celine Dion and Whitney Houston.
Details: June 27-28, Stone Hall at the Manatee Performing Arts Center, 502 Third Ave. W., Bradenton. Show times: 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $27-$37. Information: 941-748-5875, manateeperformingartscenter.com.
-- Marty Clear