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Alighieri Duo

Alighieri Duo

The Alighieri Duo are Nicholas Pappone on violin and Candace Chien on piano.


Nicholas Pappone, lauded as a “first rate” violinist by Maestro Lorin Maazel, makes a diverse career as soloist, chamber musician, orchestral musician, and teacher in New York City. A former professional actor, playing the role of a prodigy violinist in a film inspired his interest in the instrument. Nicholas has performed with members of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Emerson String Quartet, the New York Philharmonic, Vienna Piano Trio, and the Zukerman Chamber Players. This includes collaborations with violists Paul Neubauer, Paul Coletti, Jethro Marks, and the cellist Paul Watkins. Nicholas has appeared as soloist with the Marina del Rey-Westchester Symphony, the Pacific Palisades Symphony, New York Session Symphony, and the New Westchester Symphony. He also appeared with the Cleveland Orchestra as violinist and actor on the Musically Speaking Series in a unique collaboration with actor John De Lancie. Highlights of recent seasons include appearances at the Academy of Music, Philadelphia, the Boulder International Duo Competition, Rutgers University, WMP Concert Hall’s Strad for Lunch, Cathedral of St. John the Divine, as well as the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, and Heliconian Hall in Toronto, Canada.

His primary teachers were Patinka Kopec and Pinchas Zukerman, while other influential mentors include Rodney Friend, Lucie Robert, and Grigory Kalinovksy. Nicholas has performed in masterclasses for violinists Itzhak Perlman, Ivry Gitlis, and Vadim Gluzman among others.

Nicholas is Assistant Concertmaster of the Chamber Orchestra of New York, and served as Principal Second Violin of the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra in Alabama from 2016-2018. He is also the founder of Delius Music Academy, a non-profit that provides music education to New York City schools.


Lauded for her “particularly lovely” playing, collaborative pianist, Candace Marie Chien is a graduate of The Juilliard School, studying with Jonathan Feldman and Margo Garrett. She received her Master’s degree in piano performance at the Manhattan of School of Music with the guidance of Jeffery Cohen and obtained her undergraduate degree in piano performance at Temple University under Professor Harvey Wedeen, and also completed an undergraduate there in Music Education, cum laude.

An avid chamber musician, Candace regularly performs with chamber groups Alighieri Duo, a violin piano duo, and piano trio Trio Portinari. Her chamber music performances have taken her all over the east coast of the US, Canada, and Sweden, and has performed with members of the New York Philharmonic and Sydney Symphony. She has coached with members of Juilliard String Quartet, American String Quartet, Tokyo String Quartet and Nash Ensemble. Other influential mentors include JJ Penna, Gina Levinson, Lucie Robert, Kenneth Cooper, and Charles Abramovic. Recent engagements include concerts at Kimmel Center Academy of Music, WMP Concert Hall, Rutgers University’s Mallery Room, Islip Arts Council and Heliconian Hall in Toronto and concerto appearances with New Westchester Symphony and New York Session Symphony. She has also made masterclass appearances with Lambert Orkis, Warren Jones, and Czech pianist Ivan Klansky.

Passing on her love of classical music to the next generation is a particular passion for Candace. She has held music teaching positions in the public schools of Westfield, New Jersey and Queens, New York, and piano faculty positions at Usdan Center of Creative and Performing Arts and Point Counterpoint Chamber Music Festival. Students of Candace’s have been accepted to LaGuardia High School for Performing Arts, West Chester University, University of North Texas, and Temple University. Candace also curates a unique concert series in Moorestown, NJ called Chamber Music at the Evergreens, that brings quality chamber music to the elderly.

In her spare time between private teaching, Juilliard, and concertizing, one can also find Candace in the kitchen. Her personal connection to music and food can be seen on Food Network tv show, Cooks Versus Cons, Season 4 in the episode “Fry, Fry Again!”.