Vesna [ˈvɛsna] / - a goddess associated with youth and springtime in early Slavic mythology
Vesna Piano/Percussion Duo devotes its passion to bringing new and reimagined works to life. Their performances span a fiery new arrangement of The Rite of Spring, to premiering works by trailblazing international composers, to re-envisioning pieces by Avishai Cohen and Astor Piazzolla. Their performance and album Vesna Duo Presents: The Rite of Spring (arranged for marimba and piano) garnered rave reviews at the 2022 Chamber Music America Conference, the Percussive Arts Society International Conference 2022, as well as on their tour across New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Alabama, and Indiana.
Tim Page (The Wall Street Journal) said of the album "As a fresh perspective on a masterpiece, the Vesna Duo’s performance is smashingly effective." Kira Grunenberg (Throw the Dice and Play Nice, NPR) described it as "A masterclass in performative focus, as well as an exquisite demonstration of musician chemistry to the most natural and audibly entrancing of results... Unto itself, Vesna Duo’s take on the Rite of Spring, is impressive, unexpected, whimsical, and beautifully captured."
Hailing from The Republic of Georgia and Serbia, Dr. Liana Pailodze Harron (piano) and Dr. Ksenija Komljenović (percussion), embrace their dynamic backgrounds while exploring a diverse blend of musical traditions, cultures, and styles. Beyond arranging existing works, the ensemble seeks to transform the boundaries of what it means to be a pianist/percussionist, interpolating theatrical percussion works in their already vibrant repertoire. Between them, Dr. Harron and Dr. Komljenović share multiple international solo and chamber music awards.
LIANA PAILODZE HARRON
Dr. Liana Pailodze Harron’s musical accomplishments span classical and contemporary styles. A versatile pianist and seasoned educator, Liana first emerged as a soloist at the age of eight. She has performed as a featured soloist with the Shilakadze Chamber Orchestra, the Georgian Television Orchestra, the Georgian Symphonic Orchestra, the Frost Symphony Orchestra, and the Frost Wind Ensemble. As an ensemblist, Liana has played in chamber music settings at leading venues across the United States and Europe, including Carnegie Hall, Benaroya Hall, Arsht Center, Lincoln Center, the New World Center, and the United Nations. Musical Collaborations include Maestro Zubin Mehta, Maestro Leon Botstein, as well as Joshua Bell, Julian Rachlin, Sting, and Steven Tyler.
Born in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia, Liana first studied piano at the Paliashvili Music School for Gifted Children. She went on to receive her Doctoral degree in piano performance at the University of Miami. As a student she received several scholarships and awards, including the Bertha Foster Scholarship Award, the Lillian Brown Scholarship award, the Sigma Alpha Iota Scholarship Award, and the Vansteinberg Scholarship Award.
Currently residing in New York City, Liana holds a faculty position at the world-class 92nd Street Y School of Music. In addition, she continues to tour and record as a solo and chamber musician in the States and abroad.
Dr. Ksenija Komljenović (Belgrade, Serbia), a prizewinner of the International Percussion Competition Luxembourg, is a percussionist, educator, and composer. Ksenija's musical journey has taken her across continents, performing, teaching, and studying in Europe, the United States, and Asia. She holds the distinction of being the first woman from Serbia to earn a Doctor of Musical Arts in Percussion Degree.
In Fall 2023, Ksenija joined the esteemed faculty at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, following four years of teaching at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. In recent years, she has been recognized for her performances in Hong Kong, England, Spain, Portugal, Russia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Poland. As a performer and an educator, she has presented hundreds of concerts and conducted over 50 masterclasses, continuing her mission to mentor aspiring musicians worldwide.
Beyond her musical endeavors, Ksenija has been a driving force behind pioneering cultural-exchange projects between the U.S. and Serbia. She facilitated the first drumline camp and contemporary percussion workshop in her home country, contributing to the advancement of percussion education. She has a history of dedicating her time to creating opportunities for others, whether it be through organizing festivals [SoundWaves Music Festival 2021 and 2022], competitions [TIERRAS South Texas Percussion Competition 2022, director], or co-producing a podcast [At Percussion Podcast 2019-2022].
As a composer, Ksenija strives to explore her Slavic and Balkan roots. Notably, her recent work Slavdom for Wind Band, commissioned by ten universities in the US, premiered in Arkansas in November 2022. Her composition Epilog [Epilogue], a collaborative work with dancers, was featured in the ceremonial reopening of the annex of the Memorial Museum of Ivo Andrić (a Yugoslav Nobel Prize winner) in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Ksenija holds degrees from the Frost School of Music, Illinois State University, and the Faculty of Music in Belgrade. She is a Marimba One Artist.