Duo Concertante opening Creston Concert Society season

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Duo Concertante kicks off the Creston Concert Society's season on Oct. 7.

Duo Concertante kicks off the Creston Concert Society's season on Oct. 7.

The Creston Concert Society is geared up to present another diverse and exhilarating series of performances to entertain you during the cool (and eventually cold) coming months. It is proud to open the 2014-2015 season with the “majesty, passion and excitement” (Wiener Zeitung, Vienna) of Duo Concertante at 7 p.m. Oct. 7 at Prince Charles Theatre.

Based at Memorial University in St. John’s, N.L., the husband and wife team of Nancy Dahn, violin, and Timothy Steeves, piano, are energetic, experienced performers. As Duo Concertante they have consistently revealed their passion for new music with “artistry, poetry, and impeccable technique,” said La Scena Musicale of their CD, Wild Honey (2005). Their first CDs all received nominations for best classical recording at the East Coast Music Awards (ECMA), and It Takes Two (2009) was described as “spectacular” by American Record Guide. Wild Bird (2010) comprises almost entirely of new works written for the duo by Canadian composers including Murray Schafer’s Duo for Violin and Piano, which won the 2011 Juno Award in the classical composition of the year category.

Maintaining a busy touring schedule, with frequent performances across North America, as well as in Europe and China, Duo Concertante has appeared at Wigmore Hall in London, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, Roy Thomson Hall, the National Arts Centre and Beijing’s Forbidden City Concert Hall. They also perform at music festivals throughout North America, including the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival.

The couple are also dedicated teachers who have given hundreds of master classes and workshops across Canada, and in the U.S. and China. Their commitment to working with young musicians gave rise to the annual Tuckamore Chamber Music Festival, which they founded in 2000 to bring together young chamber music performers with world-class artists.

In addition to pieces by J.S. Bach (whose complete violin and keyboard sonatas they began recording in June 2014), Claude Debussy and Chan Ka Nin, Duo Concertante’s evening will include a performance of Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata. The inscription over the sonata reads, “in stilo molto concertante,” with the implication that the performers are two equal and dynamic voices. This notion defines Duo Concertante’s artistic relationship.

The Kreutzer Sonata was the first piece the duo played in 1997 when they burst into the performance world like “two packages of musical dynamite” (Halifax Chronicle-Herald). Fifteen years later, the “quality of the ensemble playing speaks to years of successful collaboration” (Canadian Association of Music Libraries) by these “expert instrumentalists” (Audiophilia.com).

The Beethoven violin sonatas have remained a key element of Duo Concertante’s repertoire, and a recording of the cycle, Beethoven: Complete Sonatas for Violin and Piano, was released on the Marquis Classics label as a three-CD set. Of this ECMA nominated recording, Music Toronto’s John Terauds says, “These beautiful interpretations are so good right down to the tiniest of details that they deserve to be called a reference in the contemporary performance of these ten great pieces.”

This is an opportunity to experience a performance of “grace and fire… fury and repose… A triumphant mass of non-stop energy” (Wiener Zeitung).

Tickets are $22 for adults and $10 for students at Black Bear Books, Kingfisher Used Books and Creative Fix, or $25/$12 at the door. For more information, visit www.crestonconcertsociety.ca.

—CRESTON CONCERT SOCIETY