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Photo: Patrick Frenette.

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November 13, 2023

Music is considered by many dancers and choreographers to be the driving force of movement, imbuing steps with emotion and expression. With a live musician accompanying the dancers, this is taken one step further—the dancer can now feel the music motivate their movements, adding a depth of sound that is lost with a recorded version.  

Central to the diverse repertoire presented at the David H. Koch Theater in the 2023 Fall season, American Ballet Theatre’s musicians played classical scores of technical rigor and complexity. In many of these arrangements, the pianists held prominent roles in propelling both the score and the dancers. Learn more about the ABT’s pianists and their experiences this past Fall season! 

Nuno Marques

Nuno Marques in rehearsal at American Ballet Theatre. Photo: Emma Zordan.
Nuno Marques in rehearsal at American Ballet Theatre. Photo: Emma Zordan.

Tell us a bit about your history as a musician.

Having grown up in the European conservatory system and later completing my advanced musical education in London and New York, I am very glad to be working with such important and expressive interdisciplinary artists now in my career. Music and the arts have taken me around the world in performance, academic, and collaborative settings. I love playing all varieties of works at the piano— from the elegance of Mozart to the intensity of Prokofiev or living composers— and always have the best time being on stage and in rehearsals with friends.

In your own words, describe the featured piece you are playing this Fall season, Carnival of the Animals for the ABT Fall Gala Pièce d’Occasion.

Iconic, youthful, imaginative.

What is challenging or taxing about playing this piece? 

The most challenging part is performing with a second pianist at the same keyboard, and an orchestra behind us.

Are you doing anything special or different to work on this piece? What do rehearsals look like, compared to your own independent practice?  

I have to adapt my seating position, for instance, as this is a four-hand piece and I have to share the keyboard. So, I try to practice from the lower end of the keyboard, which is always fun.

What is exciting and rewarding about this piece?

The excitement of performing with an orchestra, surrounded by great musicians!

What does this season mean to you?

I find this season to be full of great variety, mixing more famous works with some less frequently performed pieces that create contrast in style and scale. I’m really looking forward to it!