Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Nancy Dahn on Inspiring Arts Students

Thanks to former Talent Trust recipient Nancy Dahn (of Duo Concertante) for sharing her words of wisdom with emerging artists on how to further their practice! Video might not be visible on all devices.

For over twenty years, violinist Nancy Dahn, University Research Professor and fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, has built an international career in the acclaimed Canadian chamber ensemble Duo Concertante with pianist Timothy Steeves. After their first concert in 1997, the Halifax Chronicle-Herald called them “two packages of musical dynamite that would credit any stage on the planet.” Since then, their over 600 performances at such venues as Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, Roy Thompson Hall, and Shanghai City Theatre have become recognized internationally as passionate, subtle, and brilliant, and praised for “artistry, poetry, and impeccable technique” (La Scena Musicale) in “deeply integrated performances that flow naturally as if the music were being created on the spot” (Gramophone). 

Her twelve acclaimed Duo recordings include the complete Beethoven sonatas which received critical praise in German, Austrian, British and Canadian media and is featured almost weekly on CBC, and the 2017 ECMA winner J.S. Bach Sonatas for Violin and Keyboard. Of the Beethoven recording, Gramophone writes that Dahn and Steeves “do Atlantic Canada proud in this splendid new set” and refers to a “miracle of... knowledge and poetry.” Their recording of Murray Schafer’s Duo for Violin and Piano, which he composed for them, won the 2011 Juno Award for Classical Composition of the Year. 

Passionate advocates for new music, Dahn has created a lasting legacy through a relentless commissioning program, inspiring a total of 66 new works and original arrangements for violin and piano from Canada’s leading composers. The Duo’s CDs Wild Honey, Wild Bird and Incarnation consist entirely of commissioned Canadian works. CBC picked Incarnation as one of the top ten classical recordings of 2017; it also won the 2018 ECMA for Classical Recording of the Year. The Duo’s Christmas album Perfect Light won the ECMA for Classical Recording of the Year in 2019.

Her commitment to working with young musicians gave rise to the annual Tuckamore Chamber Music Festival, which the Duo founded in 2000. In addition to presenting world-renowned guest artists alongside emerging and well-known local talents, the festival offers an inspiring and intensive educational experience for over 20 young chamber musicians and composers. Through this chamber music festival, the Duo has introduced the highest musical standards to the province, developed free enrichment, outreach, and school touring programs and recruited excellent students to Memorial’s graduate programs. 
Throughout her years of artistic endeavours and achievements, Nancy Dahn has maintained a select studio of over 15 violinists at Memorial University. Hired in 1995 with only one string student enrolled at the university, Dahn now draws students from across North America; some have pursued graduate studies at such institutions as The Juilliard School and Manhattan School. She regularly gives masterclasses across Canada, the US and abroad. 

Duo Concertante’s artistic excellence and contributions throughout their 20-year career extend beyond superb musicianship in live performances and recordings to an intense commitment to reaching audiences, passionate advocacy for new music and a deep dedication to mentorship. She also curates and develops extra musical projects which focus on issues surrounding environment, social justice and history. In these regards, primarily through her work in the acclaimed ensemble Duo Concertante, Nancy has demonstrated an exceptional level of achievement as a researcher/performer, teacher and community leader.

For more information on Nancy Dahn and Duo Concertante visit:

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