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Key players face off in ‘Piano Battle’ at Popejoy

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Andreas Kern and Paul Cibis both have a competitive nature.

It’s clear in their show, called “Piano Battle.”

The concept is taking two classically trained pianists and their pianos – one dressed in all black, the other in all white – and have them play complementary pieces from the great composers such as Beethoven and Chopin.

Winner takes all – well, the bragging rights. And the winner is chosen by the audience.

“To be honest, I stopped counting,” Cibis says.

“He stopped counting after he lost so many times,” Kern chimes in. “He always had a hard time when he loses.”

All kidding aside, both pianists are quick to say that while the show is fun, they both are serious about music.

“A lot of people think it’s not a performance,” Kern says. “We are performing pieces from the greats, and we take that part seriously. We’re out there to give 100 percent.”

The pair agree that the biggest challenge is finding to pieces that complement each other.

“We have some pieces that go well together,” Kern says. “Some pieces work better than others. One is where Paul plays Chopin and I play Rachmaninoff. We feel the audience needs something they can compare. Though we have different choices, we bring our character and mood into the performance.”

Cibis says that over the years, the duo have switched things up in the show, which originally was created for the Hong Kong City Festival.

“What’s great about what we do is combine entertainment with music,” Cibis says. “The music part is very serious, and we try to have fun with it.”