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Music professors record Juno-winning classical composition

From left, Nancy Dahn, David Jaeger and Timothy Steeves.

Composer R. Murray Schafer, whose Duo for Violin and Piano, recorded by the Duo Concertante — Memorial School of Music professors Nancy Dahn (violin) and Timothy Steeves (piano) — won the category of Best Classical Composition at the Junos on March 25.

Dr. Schafer holds an honorary degree from Memorial.

When the Duo Concertante commissioned a work from internationally renowned Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer, they were excited to be the artists who would play the composer’s very first piece for the combination of violin and piano.

Dr. Schafer works very closely with musicians, and the Duo spent time at his Ontario farmhouse playing for him and discussing ideas. They recorded the work on their recent CD Wild Bird and the Duo for Violin and Piano was subsequently nominated for the Juno.

“It’s a classic example of the power of collaboration,” said Ellen Waterman, director of Memorial’s School of Music. “With the help of research grants from Memorial University, the Duo Concertante was able to achieve this important commission and make a superb recording that is garnering international attention. The Juno award is a tribute to a great composer and two very dynamic interpreters.”

Commissioning partners in the work included the Tuckamore Chamber Music Festival, the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival and CBC Radio.

The Duo Concertante performed the work at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto on March 22 as part of a Juno-sponsored gala concert of classical music. Wild Bird has also been nominated for an ECMA Instrumental Recording of the Year award, and another Duo Concertante CD, It Takes Two, has been nominated for an ECMA Classical Recording of the Year award.