The North Okanagan Community Concert Association presents the piano duo of Marie-Christine Poirier and Amélie Fortin Feb. 14. (Duo Fortin-Poirier image)

Piano duo share love in Vernon

Valentine’s Day concert sees four hands play one piano

The sweet sounds of four hands on one piano will be a treat for Vernon this Valentine’s Day.

The North Okanagan Community Concert Association’s third concert of the 2018-2019 season will take place at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 14.

The piano duo of Marie-Christine Poirier and Amélie Fortin, together since 2005, will delight with their artistic intuition, shared sensitivity, great vitality and fiery interpretations.

See also: NOCCA welcomes acclaimed trio to Vernon

What can you expect from a concert performed with two heads, four hands and thousands of notes? Known for their dynamism and ease on stage, the lovely Duo Fortin-Poirier presents an exceptional musical tour that will delight music lovers and amateurs alike.

You will discover less well-known music and different interpretations of works you are already familiar with, interpretations that can be at times passionate, funny or touching. The intensity, skill, remarkable complexity, and impressive choreographic movements will be projected on the big screen at the back of the stage so you won’t miss any of their unique connection and extraordinary natural partnership.

They are commonly described as extraordinarily powerful, with an explosive playing style, creating performances that highlight a great common sensibility, impressive in its vitality – dynamic, lively, and witty! Marie-Christine and Amélie are also known for creating an intimate and warm atmosphere, perfect for exploring the theme of memories. The program weaves between the intensity of Piazzolla’s tangos, Rachmaninov’s lyricism, and the liveliness of Samuel Barber. Come share Valentine’s Day with us.

The concert will be opened by Heather Harker, vocalist. Harker, raised in the Vernon area, received her initial vocal training from Elizabeth Scott. Harker pursued a bachelor’s of music, initially at Mount Allison University, New Brunswick, completing it and pursuing a master’s in voice at the University of Victoria under the direction of Benjamin Butterfield and Anne Grimm.

She received a graduate assistantship at the University of Victoria, and is the recipient of numerous awards including the Elizabeth Scott Vocal Bursary in 2009, and the NATS High School Voice Scholarship. Harker performed the part of the second lady in Dido and Aeneas by Henry Purcell at the Opera on the Avalon in Newfoundland, and has been a featured soloist with the University of Victoria Orchestra and the Victoria Chamber Orchestra. She now lives in Salmon Arm, where she teaches French Immersion kindergarten.

See: Music and comedy fusion

Both Québec natives, Poirier and Fortin are graduates of Université de Montréal with master’s degrees in performance and specialized graduate diplomas in four-hand piano music under the direction of Jean-Eudes Vaillancourt and Paul Stewart.

Duo Fortin-Poirier were finalists in the Concours International de Piano á 4 mains de Valberg (France, 2009) and in the Liszt 200 Chicago International Piano Duos Competition (U.S., 2011). Their brilliant interpretation of John Corigliano’s Gazebo Dances awarded them a special mention from the jury at the prestigious Concours Grieg – International Piano Competition in Oslo (Norway, 2010). After winning second prize at the Roma International Piano Competition (Italy, 2013) they released their first album Twenty fingers and a piano. They are both also scholars of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Council of Arts and Letters of Québec. Their concert ‘Vingt doigts and a piano’ was the first classical concert to have been selected for a tour of Entrées en Scéne Loto-Québec in 2013-2014. In 2014-2015, the Duo was in residence at the prestigious Chapelle Historique du Bon-Pasteur in Montreal with their concert Mémories.

Duo Fortin-Poirier have performed in France, Norway, Italy, and the United States and Canada. They performed at the 2015 Festival de Lanaudiére, presented their new concert ‘Mémories’ as part of a tour with Prairie Debut in 2016-2017, were selected to tour the Maritimes with Debut Atlantic in 2017, and criss-crossed the Western United States in April 2017. Their second album ‘Mémories’ was released in 2017 and featured on the program Espace Musique. Both albums can be heard on ICI Radio-Canada Premiére and on Radio-Classique, Montreal, Québec.

Tickets to the Valentine’s Day show are $40 for adults and $20 for youth (18 and under) and are available through the TicketSeller, 250-549-7469, www.ticketseller.ca.

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