Madalyn Parnas, Cicely Parnas, photo by Michael Polito

duo parnas

duo parnas is the stunning collaboration of supremely musical sisters, violinist Madalyn Parnas and cellist Cicely Parnas. Their profound artistry speaks of their life-long partnership and performance career. Officially recognized in Carnegie Hall with a 1st prize win at the 2008 International Chamber Music Ensemble Competition, the duo soon earned rave reviews in The New York Times for their exciting and technically flawless performances. “… the duo parnas gave a stunning account of Martinu’s lively, sometimes prickly Duo for Violin and Cello. The intricate give-and-take between the cello and violin lines was perfectly balanced and suffused with … electricity and drama ...” Another review stated, “The duo parnas gave … an electrifying reading, couching it in a lush tone and executing its complex interplay with pinpoint precision." The release of two internationally acclaimed recordings further catalyzed the worldwide performance success of the duo, a success that serves as a testament to their undeniable sibling synergy on stage.

The duo parnas has toured as guest soloists with the French Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire under John Axelrod, performing a trilogy of Saint-Saëns’ works. In a six-concert tour of the Loire Valley, Madalyn performed the Violin Concerto No. 3, Cicely his Cello Concerto in A Minor, and together the beautiful duo concerto, La Muse et Le Poète. They performed numerous times as artists-in-residence at the 2013 El Paso Pro-Musica Festival, including performances as soloists with the El Paso Symphony Orchestra and in many chamber music concerts. Previous appearances as duo soloists with orchestra include the New York String Alumni Orchestra under the baton of Jaime Laredo, the Hudson Valley Philharmonic conducted by Randall Fleisher, and the Albany Symphony Orchestra led by David Alan Miller.

In addition to performing chamber music in concerts and festivals across the globe as the duo parnas, Madalyn and Cicely have had the honor of collaborating with the great artist Peter Serkin. The Parnas/Serkin Trio concertized at The New School, People’s Symphony Concerts, Brattleboro Music Center, and twice at the Music Mountain Festival, including other venues. The duo parnas has collaborated in chamber music performance with world-renowned artists Jaime Laredo and Sharon Robinson. Additionally, Madalyn and Cicely have had the distinct honor of working with the illustrious and award-winning composers Lera Auerbach, William Bolcom, Paul Moravec, and Charles Wuorinen on their string duo works. Pulitzer Prize recipient, Mr. Moravec has written a duo for them entitled Parnas Duo.

Recording for Sheffield Lab, the duo parnas has released two CDs with a third available in July 2014. Parnas Double (2008) includes music by Handel-Halvorsen, Kodaly, Ravel, and Tcherepnin; Gare du Nord (2010) concentrates on music inspired by Parisian culture, featuring works by Martinu, Milhaud, Glière, Fennelly, and Honegger; and most recently, duo parnas NOW presents duos written by living composers Auerbach, Bolcom, Moravec, and Wuorinen, among others. Additionally, the duo performs on The Other Side of Time (Albany Records, 2012). This collection of works by Brian Fennelly includes his duo concerto, Fantasia Concertante, written for and performed live by the duo parnas with the Indiana University New Music Ensemble directed by David Dzubay. Fantasia Concertante was also recorded with the Fauxharmonic Orchestra, an orchestra of digital instruments conducted by Paul Henry Smith.

Madalyn, 22, and Cicely, 20, hold Artist Diplomas from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where they studied with Jaime Laredo and Sharon Robinson. Madalyn also holds an undergraduate degree in Music Industry and French, and a Masters from London’s Royal Academy of Music, where she studied as a 2012 Marshall Scholar. Madalyn performs on a 1715 Allessandro Gagliano violin, and Cicely on a 1712 Giovanni Grancino cello. They are the granddaughters of the legendary cellist Leslie Parnas.

Last updated:2/7/2014


"The duo parnas [...] gave the piece an electrifying reading, couching it in a lush tone and executing its complex interplay with pinpoint precision."

-- Allan Kozinn, The New York Times

"It truly was a breathtaking moment. Each soloist played with a flair and zest that seemed way beyond their years, and the sound quality and intonation was truly extraordinary. The result was a resounding standing ovation from the delighted crowd."

-- J. Warren Cahill, Mid-Hudson Times

"...the display of artistry on the part of the soloists was breath-taking."

-- Sam Goodyear, Cooperstown Freeman’s Journal

"The Sisters Parnas, violinist Madalyn and cellist Cicely, are poised for potential major careers in an increasingly superstar-oriented classical music business. The winsome Stephentown, N.Y., duo made that perfectly clear in their performance with the Albany Symphony..."

-- Clarence Fanto, Berkshire Living

"The Parnas sisters...could just as well have been gazelle and antelope, so thoroughly did they erase programmatic connotations with the suavity and assurance of their playing... They are real talents. There is nothing showy in their playing. Everything is for musical value..."

-- Andrew L. Pincus, Berkshire Eagle

" Duo Parnas walked on stage in gowns of peach and pink, it felt like the blooming of roses in winter. No less radiant was their playing..."

-- Joseph Dalton, Times Union

"Although the violin-cello duo of Madalyn and Cicely Parnas have local roots, they’re destined for an international career that could make this area but a memory. Neither is 20; both have impressive virtuoso chops that they’ve already wielded to great acclaim as soloists and in chamber music performances...."

-- B.A. Nilsson, Metroland

"...violinist Madalyn Parnas, 19, and cellist Cicely, 17, were the stars of the Albany Symphony Orchestra concert Thursday night at the Canfield Casino..."

-- Geraldine Freedman, The Daily Gazette   


BEETHOVEN    Triple Concerto in C Major, Op.56

BRAHMS Double Concerto in A Minor

DELIUS Concerto for Violin and Cello

FENNELLY Fantasia Concertante

HOFMANN Double Concerto for Violin & Cello in G Major

ROZSA Sinfonia Concertante, Op.29

SAINT–SAËNS La Muse et le Poète

VIVALDI Double Concerto for Violin & Cello, RV547