On February 15, I was invited to enjoy just over an hour of live piano music at Surrey Civic Theatres, skillfully delivered by Surrey-based pianists Elizabeth and Marcel Bergmann. The 129-seat Studio Theatre is intimate and comfortable and exactly the place you want to experience a performance by the Bergmann Piano Duo. I love live music because – other than the exceptional sound quality – watching musicians in their element, doing what they love, has such an impact on my soul.
Observing Elizabeth and Marcel non-verbally communicate across the bells of the gorgeous grand pianos was fascinating in itself. Pianists play, not just with their hands, but with their faces and whole bodies; being able to witness the nods, facial expressions and synchronized breaths so close up was awesome!
Elizabeth and Marcel are international performers who have played throughout North America and Europe. They are also Artistic Directors of White Rock Concerts and are on faculty at the Langley Community Music School. Marcel arranges the music for their CD collection and live performances, and it’s obvious he and Elizabeth are a dynamic pair when they make those pieces come alive.
This clip gives you a taste of their chemistry as they talk about their musical life together. You don’t even have to be a fan of piano to appreciate how amazing it must be to share a life with someone equally passionate about an art.
At The Movies With The Bergmann Piano Duo
The show I attended was called ‘At The Movies’ and highlighted selections from West Side Story (L. Bernstein, arr. M. Bergmann), The Big Country (J. Moross, arr. M. Bergmann), Oblivion (A. Piazzolla, arr. M. Bergmann), The Mission (E. Morricone, arr. M. Bergmann) and An American in Paris (G. Gershwin). Though I was only familiar with West Side Story, the narration and synopses by David Mann provided enough context to help me understand the mood of the pieces that followed. I noted that The Mission and An American in Paris sound like great films; it would be fun to watch them now that I have a taste of the music that weaves throughout the stories.
The Bergmann Piano Duo is playing again at Surrey Civic Theatres on Thursday April 19, accompanied by vocalist and actress Onalea Gilbertson. In the cabaret-style show, From Berlin to Hollywood, the audience is treated to selections from the Threepenny Opera and other hits. Afterward, there is even a chance to mingle with the Bergmanns!
Excuse me if I sound a little dreamy, but the curved bells of the piano in an embrace under theatre lights set quite the stage for my brief middle-of-the-work-day escape. I had slipped into my seat in the Studio Theatre after teaching a writing workshop and next on my list was a phone call with a client; the interlude felt like an opening of my creative self. I sailed into my phone meeting feeling invigorated and inspired. And that is the true beauty of art – it reaches into all the other parts of your life, even the tired, empty spaces, and fills them with energy.
Do you like to watch live performances? What was the last show (musical, theatrical) you saw? Tell me in the comments!
Watch this space for more suggestions of what to see and be sure to check out my other reviews.
I received a ticket to the show in exchange for my honest review. I’m proud to partner with Surrey Civic Theatres. You can find them on Facebook here.