Memorial professors and musicians tour China
By Jeff Green
Timothy Steeves and Dr. Nancy Dahn
Two well-known professors and musicians from Memorial’s School of Music have become the first from the university to take part in an extensive musical tour in the far east. Timothy Steeves, associate professor, piano, and Dr. Nancy Dahn, associate professor, violin and viola, are currently travelling throughout China as part of a concert tour. They left in late August a day after the curtain dropped on their successful Tuckamore Festival in St. John’s and are due back Sept. 7, the first day of classes for the fall academic year.
“We like to be busy,” Mr. Steeves said with a laugh. “Our lives are very hectic.”
He and Dr. Dahn are part of the acclaimed group Duo Concertante which has garnered quite a reputation in the past number of years. The husband-and-wife ensemble has performed throughout the world and released three CDs. Their most recent, Wild Honey, was nominated for an East Coast Music Award for best classical recording earlier this year.
They are performing in an eight-city recital tour and are taking part in several master classes that stretch from Beijing to Shanghai.
“We are being presented by a company in China that specializes in bringing in foreign artists,” said Mr. Steeves. “They have an office in Toronto and heard us at the ECMAs at a showcase about two years ago. They finally tracked down our agent in Toronto.”
Mr. Steeves said other musicians have taken part in similar tours with the company but as far as he knows he and Dr. Dahn are the first from Memorial. “We’re very excited but we haven’t really had time to think about it,” he said.
The duo will perform several Canadian pieces that are part of their repertoire along with a famous Chinese composition entitled the Butterfly Lovers.
Dr. Dahn said they are exhilarated about the opportunity to bring western classical music to audiences in China who do not normally get a chance to listen to live performances especially from our side of the world.
She said last year, the Orchestra from the Glenn Gould Professional School in Toronto did a similar tour to resounding success. “Rennie Regehr conducted them and he was telling us that they went to places where it was the first time classical western music was ever played there,” Dr. Dahn said. “There were people in the audience that were pulling out their cell phones, and he was getting all upset, but they were actually calling people on their phones and holding them up so other people could hear the music.”
Mr. Steeves said their trip to China will also be an opportunity to publicize Memorial to Chinese audiences. They’re bringing information packages about the university to their concerts and will be available to discuss what the university has to offer.
“While we’re over there we are going to be meeting with some people and telling them about Memorial and the province. We’ve gotten some help from the Office of Student Recruitment, as well as the School of Music so it’s nice to do something for them as well.”
“We’re grateful for the support from the university as well,” he added. “This tour is an opportunity for us to reach new audiences and perform our music and to also promote Memorial.”