Tabernash: Husband, wife duo take audience on musical journey
February 29, 2008
The Bergmann Piano Duo (Elizabeth and her husband, Marcel Bergmann) has come all the way from Calgary, Alberta, Canada to play as the next featured musicians for the Grand County Concert Series.
Some of their favorite arrangements to play are those they allow them to improvise with.
“You get something different with every piece,” Elizabeth said.
Marcel composed several contemporary chamber ensemble pieces reminiscent of trains for a competition and he intends to include them in tonight’s set list.
The couple studied under the direction of Arie Vardi at the Hochschule für Musik and Theatre in Hannover; as well as with Jean-Eudes Vaillancourt at the Universite de Montreal. Now, as instructors themselves, the duo serves on the faculty at The Mount Toyral College Conservatory in Calgary. They also lend their creative hands toward other musical events for The Banff Centre for the Arts.
“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.”
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As teachers, they try to incorporate an emphasis on composition and improvisation, as well as development of oral skills.
“There are so many piano virtuosos out there. You have to try to find your own way, your own niche,” she said.
Blessed with wonderful teachers, the Bergmanns feel it’s their responsibility to bring music back into schools.
“We feel it’s so important to a culture and society in general,” she said. “(With a performance) we can ignite just a tiny bit of interest – because the live concert experience is so different than listening to CDs. What happens in a concert is something very special. No two concerts are alike, that’s something you can’t describe.”
Committed to supporting the production of new Canadian composers, they have commissioned and premiered several works by Allan Gordon Bell and John Abram. They also play numerous original arrangements and compositions. Their repertoire ranges from the Baroque period (Bach) to the classical (Mozart and Beethoven) and romantic periods (Brahms) to impressionist-era musicians like Ravel and Debussy to the contemporary.
Both also have a strong love for jazz and even appreciate a little pop.
They have performed together for almost 20 years, winning numerous competitions throughout the world. They have also made several recordings for the CBC, stations of the ARD in Germany, for National Public Radio in the states and have many CDs out under the CordAria and Arktos record labels.
For tonight’s performance, they’ll play facing nine-foot Steinway concert grand pianos lent to them by Wells Music of Denver. Elizabeth said they’ll take the lid off one to acoustically enhance the sound for the audience experience.
The concert starts at 7 p.m. and is preceded by a free demonstration and workshop open to local students (elementary through high school) starting at 6 p.m. The concert series, which takes pride in offering outreach programs for students and which couldn’t run without the help of many selfless volunteers, also hosts complimentary receptions at the church after each concert.