Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Joy Roe, the duo that make up Anderson & Roe, met in 2000 as freshmen at The Juilliard School. There they formed their dynamic musical partnership and gave their first performance together in their junior year. Since then they have toured all around the world, with recitals in Vancouver, Seoul, Singapore, Italy and most major U.S. cities, including New York, where they played venues from Carnegie Hall to childrens’ hospitals.
Their favorite destination, though, was Italy.
“We had to give five encores,” said Anderson, 30, who started playing the piano when he was 8. “And we love to eat food, and the food there is so amazing.”
The musicians’ touring schedule will soon take them back to Europe; Germany is on their agenda for 2014. Roe, also 30, has already performed there on her own several times and loved her experience.
“Germans are so passionate about classical music,” said Roe, who was even younger than her partner when she began playing the piano, beginning her study at the age of 6 after taking up the violin at 5. Eventually their busy schedules forced both to drop the violin and focus on piano.
“We’re too busy traveling the world, making music videos and performing. There is not enough time in a day to still play the violin,” Anderson said.
Their latest album, “When Words Fade,” was released in 2012 and stayed almost 12 weeks at the top of the Billboard Classical Charts. Their music videos, praised for their creativity and viewed by millions on YouTube, are self-produced, allowing the pair to make their visions come true — a process that sometimes includes batteries, duct tape, a flashlight and a lamp doomed to be broken.
The duo has made a name for themselves in the music industry, appearing on MTV’s “Total Request Live,” NPR’s “All Things Considered” and “From the Top,” as well as APM’s “Performance Today.” And as a result of their efforts to advance the art of classical music, they have been invited to several international leader symposiums, including EG (Entertainment Gathering), the Imagine Solutions Conference, Chicago Ideas Week and Mexico’s Think Tank Festival for Brilliant Minds.
This piano duo doesn’t just stick to traditional classical music though. While they have mastered pieces like Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring,” they also give songs like Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” a classical makeover.
“Pop arrangements can sound quite classical,” Anderson said.
Patrons of the Ritz can look forward to Mozart’s “Duettino Concertante,” Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “Vocalise,” Michael Jackson and “Impression No. 2” from Star Wars Fantasy by John Williams, to name just a few.
“There will be a lot of variety in the program, lots of energy, a lot of interaction between us and the audience,” Roe said.
Anderson & Roe will give two concerts at the Historic Ritz Theatre in Talladega, at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 4, and Friday, April 5. Visit www.ritztalladega.com for more information.