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Monday, July 22, 2024

Cecilia Concerts kicks off International Women’s Week with Pianomania!

Four female classical pianists showcase their skills side-by-side on two pianos.

Cecilia Concerts kicks off International Women’s Week, which takes place this year from March 4-8, with Pianomania!, featuring four female prize-winning concert pianists performing works of both classical and contemporary music.

It’s rare to have four pianists, especially of this calibre, performing together on one stage at one time. – Jules Chamberlain

The concert features Cecilia Concerts’ 2022/23 musician-in-residence, pianist Silvie Cheng, alongside Montréal-based Isabelle David, Berlin-based Julia Hamos, and multiple prize-winning Baltimore-based pianist Susan Zhang.

“Pianists can be notoriously solitary creatures,” says pianist Silvie Cheng in a media release. “A lone figure at the keyboard already has a massive range of sound capabilities, from atmospheric sparseness to the full richness of a symphony. Now imagine this level of intimacy and power multiplied by four.”

The Pianomania! program includes classical music favourites such as Franz Schubert’s Fantasie in F minor, Maurice Ravel’s Ma mère l’Oye, Meredith Monk’s Ellis Island, George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, and Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Suite No. 1 for Two Pianos.

“It’s rare to have four pianists, especially of this caliber, performing together on one stage at one time,” says Cecilia Concerts chairperson Jules Chamberlain. “It requires a significant level of coordination, skill, and timing. The complexity of arranging and rehearsing such a performance makes it a challenging feat to achieve, but these four incredible women are certainly up to the task.”

First meeting as teenagers at various music festivals and competitions, their friendships have continued for nearly half their lives.

“So it’s beautiful and empowering to look back on how these female friendships have blossomed into a lifelong support system as young professionals, and it’s incredibly inspiring to see how we’ve charted parallel lives in music, yet each found our own distinct paths, with a deep love for chamber music at our cores,” says Cheng.

Despite their longtime friendships, Pianomania! will be the first time the four have combined forces on the same stage.

Sharing an evening of “musical chairs,” the foursome will rotate between every kind of piano duet/duo formation in a programme “ranging from the minimalism of Meredith Monk to the electrifying energy of George Gershwin.”

“What better way to celebrate the beginning of International Women’s Week,” says Cheng.

Pianomania! takes place at The Stage at St. Andrews (6036 Coburg Rd, Halifax) on March 4. Visit ceciliaconcerts.ca for tickets and information.

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