Violist Marina Thibeault and pianist Janelle Fung are a celebrated duo. Seasoned performers, compelling communicators, and original programmers, they are in Winnipeg to perform as part of Virtuosi Concerts 2022-23 season.
“We have this longstanding friendship and relationship,” says Fung, noting the duo has performed together for nearly a decade.
What started as friendship has developed into a high level of trust, allowing for elements of spontaneity and musical exploration between the musical “soulmates,” according to Thibeault.
“When we play music, it really needs to be practiced outside the instrument,” says Thibeault. Being present in the moment and using that shared trust – whether actively playing music or not – allows them to plumb new depths of the repertoire. “These two ingredients (mindfulness and trust) create a really safe space that we can just explore (in) some new terrain together.”
Making space is a hallmark of the duo’s programming. Dedicated to sharing music of under-represented and marginalized composers, they aim to change the woeful lack of variety beyond the traditional dead white European males so often heard.
“The program has really evolved to be a meditation on identity,” explains Fung. People who, in times past or present, have been seen as “slightly different,” she says.
Music of Clara Schumann, Rebecca Clarke, and Nadia Boulanger is paired alongside contemporary compositions by Alexina Louie, Anna Pidjorna and Manitoba-based violist-composer Melody McKiver, whose music is described as the “future of viola” by Thibeault.
“I’m so thankful that I have the permission to play these works by an amazing Anishinaabe composer,” says Thibeault.
From Far Above: Bringer of Light takes place 7:30 pm Friday, November 18, 7:30PM at St. Andrew's River Heights Church.
For tickets and more details, visit: www.virtuosiconcerts.ca