Sixteen-year-old pianist and arranger Emma Taggart commands the stage with a personality that is at once engaging and unique. Pioneering an avant-garde style of performing via a combination of music and dialogue, she has stunned audiences across the world, both as a solo artist and as the primo member of the pianoduo Taggart Squared, alongside her younger brother Jacob. Together, they have given hundreds of solo and duo concerts, placed in national and international competitions, and been featured multiple times on prestigious programs such as NPR’s From The Top and MPR’s Minnesota Varsity.
Emma has received acclaim as the top prizewinner in the United States International Duo Piano Competition, the LaCrosse Symphony Concerto Competition, and the Young People’s Symphony Concert Association’s Concerto Competition, which included an engagement to play Grieg’s Piano Concerto in a series of concerts with the MN Orchestra. Other past achievements also include co-winner of both the Dakota Valley Symphony Concerto Competition and the Golden Valley Orchestra Concerto Competition, regional winner and national finalist in the MTNA Pianoduo Competition, and top prizes in the United States International Duo Piano Competition, the Thursday Musical Competition, the Great Composers International Competition, the MN State Fair Talent Competition, and the North Star Concerto Competition. She is a three-time recipient of the Schubert Club Special Awards Grant and has also received, among others, the Wildwood Series Young Artist Award and the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award, accompanied by a $10,000 scholarship.
Emma has taken masterclasses with pianists such as Anderson and Roe, Nelita True, Oxana Yablonskaya, and Julian Martin. She has been a featured soloist with the Dakota Valley Symphony, the Minnetonka Orchestra, the Golden Valley Orchestra, the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra, and the Minnesota Orchestra– playing Saint Saens’ Carnival of the Animals alongside her brother Jacob. This past season, Emma was named the 2018-2019 Featured Artist of the Nicholson Brothers’ Classical Music Series at the Hanifl Center for the Performing Arts.
Outside of the United States, Emma is a regular attendee of acclaimed music festivals in Italy, Spain, Azerbaijan, and Russia. She has performed concertos with the Milan Chamber Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra of St. Petersburg and appeared in concert in St. Petersburg’s famed Marble Palace. She has been awarded the Grand Prix of the “Grand Piano in Palace” Int’l Piano Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia, the Norma, Italy International Music Festival Award, the Varallo, Italy International Piano Festival Performance Award, and– with a unanimous decision by the jury– the first place in the Maria Herrero International Piano Competition in Granada, Spain.
Outside of the classical world, Emma has been invited to perform at Minneapolis’ Orchestra Hall as part of a benefit concert given by Sheila E: Prince’s former drummer and fiancée. Just this past summer, she opened for the iconic rock band The Goo Goo Dolls. She is an avid arranger and is proud to have two of her works performed on national radio.
Emma studies with her teacher of more than 10 years, Dr. Reid Smith.
Jacob Taggart, at only 12 years old, has already established a career as a successful classical pianist. Marked by an engaging and energetic personality, his daring interpretations have captivated audiences and juries across the United States and Europe.
He has already won many competitions and awards, and performed in hundreds of concerts. He has been featured twice on National Public Radio’s From The Top, performing as a duo with his sister, Emma. Just this past March, he made his MN Orchestra debut, playing The Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saens alongside Emma. Other recent honors include 1st place in the United States International Duo Piano Competition, 1st place in the Great Composers Competition, 1st place in the Thursday Musical competition, co-winner of the Golden Valley Orchestra concerto competition, and 1st place in the West Central division and finalist in the national division of the Music Teachers National Association piano duet competition. When Jacob was only 7 years old, he won the pre-teen division of the MN State Fair Talent Competition, wowing a crowd of 5,000.
Also at age 7, Jacob attended his first festival, the Accademia Tadini International Music Festival, in Lovere, Italy, where he played a solo recital, and made his orchestral debut, playing the Bach Concerto No. 5 with the Milan Chamber Orchestra. In 2017, he attended the Grand Piano in Palace International Piano Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia, where he was awarded the Grand Prix and performed Mozart’s Concerto No. 9 in E-flat major, K. 271, with the Chamber Orchestra of St. Petersburg.
Jacob has performed in masterclasses with Anderson and Roe and Vincenzo Balzani. He has also performed on stage at Paisley Park and Orchestra Hall with Sheila E., Grammy nominated singer, and Prince’s former drummer and fiancée. He has also opened for the iconic rock band, The Goo Goo Dolls.
Jacob is in 9th grade at St. Agnes High School in St. Paul, MN. He is a student of Dr. Reid Smith. When not playing piano, Jacob enjoys playing Little League baseball and football.