The Khasma Piano Duo was formed in 2012 by Ashlee Mack and Katherine Palumbo, who have been playing together since meeting as undergraduates at Bucknell University in 2000. Because they share a passion for contemporary music, the duo has dedicated themselves to the performance of works from the 20th and 21st centuries. Their 2014-15 call-for-scores concert tours have taken them to Illinois, Indiana, New York, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. They recently performed at the SCI National Conference at Ball State University and have been invited to give a program of American contemporary works for the Illinois College Fine Arts Series. In January 2015, Khasma presented the world premiere of Robert Morris’ Forty Fingers for eight hands at the Eastman School of Music. They have also premiered and recorded James Romig’s Time Seems to Pass for two pianos and will premiere David Vayo’s Times and Places in Spring 2016. During the summers of 2015 and 2016, the duo will record twelve works chosen from their call for scores project. Their debut album, Switchback, is available at several sites including CD Baby, Amazon, and iTunes.
Origin of the Khasma name: Chasm Lake is a hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. Both pianists consider this trail to be one of their favorites in Colorado. Since they have each spent a significant amount of time in the Rockies, they decided to choose a name that encompasses their enthusiasm for nature. The Greek origin of the word ‘chasm’ is ‘khasma,’ which seemed like the appropriate choice, as it happens to include letters from their first names.