In concert Saturday, March 2 at 8 p.m.
Daniel Piazzolla was born under a very promising musical sign in Buenos Aires in
the early 1970s. The grandson of the immortal Astor, the grandmaster of tango, and
son of renowned pianist Daniel, “Pipi” (as he’s been nicknamed) began attending
concerts by his illustrious forebears at an early age. Raised in an environment
in which music was as important as the air you breathe, he naturally adopted the
musical vocation-with no family pressure, he insists. Following his own path, albeit
with the curiosity and daring befitting his noble lineage, he turned to the drums,
taking up formal lessons during his teen years-his first teachers were Rolando “Oso”
Picardi, Horacio Lopez, Fernando Martinez and Sebastián Peyceré.
At the same time, Daniel Piazzolla perfected his art as part of such groups as Masa
Trío, Sabrosas Zariguellas and the Lito Vitale Quinteto. In 1999, he created the
jazz sextet Escalandrum-a conflation of the words escalandrún, a sand shark much
coveted by the avid fishermen of the Piazzolla clan, and drum, the instrument so
beloved by the musician-and released a debut album, Bar de los amigos, the following
year. Although he confesses that tango runs hot in his veins, Piazzolla displays
a remarkable ease with the musical grammar of jazz.
His formidable mastery of the percussive arts also makes him a highly sought-after
collaborator. Alongside his activities in Escalandrum, Daniel Piazzolla has performed
with such names as Gloria Estefan, Chick Corea, Danilo Perez and Gary Burton, among
many others, and offers occasional master classes. Proudly assuming the mantle of
honorary co-president of MEL 2013, he brings us the concert-tribute to Astor Piazzolla
that has caused a sensation just about everywhere in the world, including in Buenos
Aires and, recently, at the legendary Birdland in New York.
In concert Saturday, February 23 at 8 p.m.
Alain Lefèvre has performed everywhere, in virtually every time zone on the planet,
with the grandest orchestras, from Paris to Buenos Aires, Berlin to London, Montréal
to Shanghai. He’s been awarded innumerable prizes including a Juno, an Opus and
a mantle full of Félix trophies, has been named an Officer of the Order of Canada,
Chevalier de l’Ordre national du Québec… Finally, the SPACQ presented him with the
André Gagnon Award, saluting his talents as a composer. But Lefèvre is most at home
with his grand piano, seeking out new musical lands—Payette, Dompierre and Boudreau—paying
tribute to André Mathieu or continually extending the classical repertoire.
The festival honors Alain Lefèvre, the composer. The Yamaha piano is his partner,
his accomplice; better yet, his confidant. The artist opens his heart to the keyboard,
his hands sculpting emotions and giving form to sounds that capture inexpressible
pain, like a parent’s death (Petite mère, Un ange passe), immortalizing
the places close to his heart (Songe à Charlevoix, Ville-Émard la Belle,
or Le Panda magique), or a memory of China or Balalaîka. Every person and
place has been rewarded with a musical dedication. The Megaron (Athens Concert Hall)
knew enough to commission him to record Trois Préludes.
His music, from Fidèles Insomnies (Blissfully Sleepless) to Jardin d’Images
(Picture Garden), glimmers with an intimacy that establishes a bond with each of
us. Thus does Alain Lefèvre transport us with him to our secret gardens.