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BIOGRAPHY

“Grace and fire... fury and repose... a triumphant mass of non-stop energy”WholeNote

“Majesty, passion and excitement. Inspiring!”Wiener Zeitung (Vienna)

“Splendid… a miracle of knowledge and poetry”Gramophone

Partners in life and music for over 15 years, Nancy Dahn and Timothy Steeves are Canada’s premiere violin and piano duo. Their name, Duo Concertante, was taken from the inscription over Beethoven’s “Kreutzer” sonata which reads, “in stilo molto concertante,” implying that the two performers must be equal and dynamic voices. This notion defines Duo Concertante’s artistic relationship. The “Kreutzer” sonata was the first piece the duo played when, in 1997, they burst into the performance world like “two packages of musical dynamite” (Halifax Chronicle-Herald). For over fifteen years, critics have praised their “artistry, poetry, and impeccable technique” (La Scena Musicale) and “deeply integrated performances that flow naturally as if the music were being created on the spot” (Gramophone).

The Beethoven violin sonatas have remained central to Duo Concertante’s repertoire, and their widely acclaimed recording of the cycle, Beethoven: Complete Sonatas for Violin and Piano, was recently released on the Marquis Classics label as a three-CD set. Of this ECMA- nominated and frequently broadcast 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 10 great pieces.”

Nancy Dahn, violin, and Timothy Steeves, piano, have received the Touring Performers Award (Contact East), as well as Memorial University’s prestigious President’s Award for Outstanding Research, and were named NLAC Artist of the Year in May 2010. Of their six acclaimed recordings, Wild Bird (Centrediscs, 2010) comprises works written especially for the duo by Canadian composers Murray Schafer, Chan Ka Nin, and Kati Agócs, and includes Schafer’s Duo for Violin and Piano, which won the 2011 Juno Award in the Classical Composition of the Year category. Duo Concertante’s 2009 recording, It Takes Two, features encore pieces arranged by Canadian composer Clifford Crawley and was described as “spectacular” (American Record Guide). The first three CDs—À Deux, Of Heart and Homeland, and Wild Honey—all received nominations for Best Classical Recording at the East Coast Music Awards. Released in 2012, the Duo’s classical music video, “Tico Tico,” aired on CTV2.

Duo Concertante have consistently revealed a passion for new music, commissioning a total of twenty new works for violin and piano from many of Canada’s leading composers, such as Denis Gougeon, Vincent Ho, Jocelyn Morlock, Kati Agócs, Kelly-Marie Murphy, Alice Ho, Omar Daniel, Andrew MacDonald, Rob Teehan, David Scott, Linda Bouchard, and Jean Lesage. Wild Honey and Wild Bird consist almost entirely of commissioned Canadian works, and in 2015 the Duo will give world premières of works by Chan Ka Nin and Andrew Staniland.

Duo Concertante maintain a busy touring schedule, with frequent performances across North America, as well as in Europe and China. They have appeared at Wigmore Hall (London), Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall (New York City), Old First Church (San Francisco), the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Los Angeles), Roy Thomson Hall and the Four Seasons Performing Arts Centre (Toronto), the National Arts Centre (Ottawa), the Forbidden City Concert Hall (Beijing), and the Chapelle du Bon-Pasteur (Montreal). They perform at music festivals throughout North America, including the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, Cactus Pear Music Festival, Indian River Festival, Colours of Music Festival, and the Huntsville Festival, and have served as artists-in-residence at the Guelph Spring Festival, the Glenn Gould Professional School in Toronto, and Bishop’s University.

Based at Memorial University in St. John’s, Dahn and Steeves are energetic, experienced teachers who have given hundreds of master classes and workshops across Canada, in the US, and in 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 and ensembles for an intensive two weeks of learning and performance.

Activities in 2015–2016 include the world première of a 30-minute work by Andrew Staniland at the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival; a concert/masterclass recital tour of British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan; and concerts in London and Cambridge, UK, and numerous venues throughout Germany. In May 2015 the Duo released a new CD of double concertos by Mendelssohn and Andrew MacDonald, and in early 2016 they will complete a two-CD set of all six violin and keyboard sonatas by Bach.

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