Live Music / Tabernash: Piano duo next in Grand County Concert Series
April 10, 2009
For their seventh year, the piano duo of Elizabeth and Marcel Bergmann returns to the Fraser Valley to perform for the Grand County Concert Series.
Playing together for more than 20 years, the two have been asked back every year since the GCCS’ inception.
“The audiences just love them,” said Mairi Nelson, GCCS member.
The duo, which hails from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, made sure to fit their newfound fan base into what has been a busy year.
“As always, we are very happy and excited to be back again,” the two agreed. “It feels like home to us.”
That first Grand County performance “was kind of an experiment” since the series was just forming, they said. Nobody was sure how many people would come and hear the concert, “and to everybody’s delight, we had a very nice crowd.”
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When not out on the road the Bergmanns serve as instructors on the faculty at The Mount Royal College Conservatory in Calgary. They also lend their talents teaching and performing at the chamber music festival and workshop in Langley, British Columbia, and performing regularly with Lands End, a contemporary chamber ensemble.
“It’s wonderful to be in touch with students,” Elizabeth said. “They introduce you to things you don’t normally listen to. We really enjoy that exchange.”
Blessed with wonderful teachers (Arie Vardi and Jean-Eudes Vaillancourt) themselves, the Bergmanns feel it’s their responsibility to bring music back into schools. They consider outreach activities like last year’s pre-concert workshop with students from Grand County “an essential part” of their “mission/quest to spark the next/upcoming generations’ interest in classical music.”
As teachers, they help students develop their oral skills, as well as incorporate an emphasis on composition and improvisation, Elizabeth explained. In their own performances the duo enjoys reaching something different with arrangements “suitable to that approach,” (to include some Latin and jazz tunes). Some of their favorite arrangements are those that allow them to improvise, Elizabeth said.
Often playing on facing nine-foot Steinways, their repertoire ranges from the Baroque (Bach) to the classical (Mozart and Beethoven) and romantic periods (Brahms) to impressionist-era musicians like Ravel and Debussy to the contemporary.
One of their newer additions are the three movements from Stravinsky’s famous ballet “Petrouchka,” which they’ll play as part of the concert Friday. The performance will also debut Marcel’s new version of Tubular Bells for Two Pianos.
If they can “ignite just a tiny bit of interest” the Bergmanns feel they have done their job. “We feel it’s so important to a culture and society in general,” Elizabeth said. “What happens in a concert is something very special. No two concerts are alike, that’s something you can’t describe.”
A complimentary reception at the church will follow each concert.