The International Festival of Piano Duos Plays Onby Jacques Desjardins
/ July 1, 1999
August 18 and 19 the fourth Québec International Festival
of Piano Duos will take place at the Centre Pierre-Péladeau's
Salle Pierre-Mercure. The Conseil québécois de
la musique recognized the Festival's exceptional contribution
last November with the Opus Award for the "concert organizer
of the year."
Only two concerts will be offered this
year, as not all the expected funding was received. "The
Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec is in the process
of restructuring, and financial aid was not given to new applications,"
explained Dominique Morel, the Festival's chairperson and founder.
Still, the Conseil did enable Ms. Morel to travel to Eastern
Europe to search out new musicians and repertoire. As well, the
Festival obtained a grant from the Conseil des arts de la Communauté
urbaine de Montréal, and will co-produce its concerts
with the Société Radio-Canada.
year the Festival welcomes two of Russia's greatest piano duos.
The opening night concert features a programme of works by Mozart,
Weber, Czerny, Schubert and Rachmaninov, played by Alexander
Bakhchiev and Elena Sorokina, chairperson of the Russian Association
of Piano Duos. Mr Bakhchiev is highly regarded at home, having
been praised by no less an authority than the great Sviatoslav
Richter. Morel describes him as the exponent of the elegance
and refinement of the St Petersburg Conservatory ‹ in the
tradition of Anton Rubinstein and Sergei Rachmaninov ‹ as
opposed to the more masculine playing of the Moscow school.
August 19 concert will feature three duos. The Sorokina-Bakhchiev
duo will return, alongside the duos of Gennady Pystine and Igor
Tsygankov, and the Festival's hosts, Dominique Morel and Douglas
Nemish, in a programme devoted to Poulenc and two rare works
by Schnittke. The latter will feature I Musici de Montréal
(with additional wind instruments) under the baton of Yuli Turovsky.
Maestro Turovsky is particularly excited about this opportunity
to play with Ms. Sorokina, his former classmate at the conservatory.
Morel is passionate about the importance of an event devoted
to a form of music relatively unknown here, "In Eastern
Europe, piano duos are extremely popular. Children begin to play
duos at an early age, becoming the leading interpreters of a
vast repertory of works that are unjustly neglected here."
Her fervent wish is for Montreal to become an essential stop
on the long list of piano duo festivals that extend from Talinn,
in Estonia, to Oulan-Bator, in Mongolia.
Morel's plans for the future include a competition, sections
devoted to "contemporary music" and "national
tendencies," and a resumption of master classes. Given her
enthusiasm and commitment, it is clear that only difficulties
in fund-raising will check her desire to render "her"
festival more dynamic still. Let's hope that next year funding
agencies and sponsors will support this unusual event, which
seeks to introduce local audiences to hidden musical treasures
and musicians of the highest international calibre.
International Festival of Piano Duos, August 18 and 19, 1999,
at the Salle Pierre-Mercure of the Centre Pierre-Péladeau,
300 boul. de Maisonneuve Est. Tickets: 514 987-6919.