Earning the 2017 East Coast Music Award (ECMA) for Classical Recording of the Year is like scoring a hat trick for Dr. Nancy Dahn and Prof. Timothy Steeves of Duo Concertante.
Last fall the School of Music professors were named to the Royal Society of Canada; in December they were designated University Research Professors during Memorial’s annual President’s Awards ceremony.
When the awards were announced in St. John, N.B., last month, the couple was in the midst of a whirlwind school tour, performing and talking to kids about classical music — they had to settle for hearing the big news. Still, it was a pretty sweet win for the musical duo who joked they’d “always be the bridesmaids.”
“We’ve been nominated for every CD we’ve made, and we’ve been involved in the EMCA for a long time,” said Prof. Steeves, who teaches piano at the music school.
“This is the first time we’ve ever won, which is really nice.”
‘Music we love to play’
Duo Concertante’s eighth recording, J.S. Bach’s Six Sonatas for Violin and Keyboard, proved to be the charm.
“We’re very happy,” said Dr. Dahn, about receiving top prize for their CD. “This is the music that we love playing and so being recognized by the ECMA is wonderful. There’s no one greater to play than JS Bach, honestly.”
“It’s a really special win.”
The two musicians agreed that CD No. 8 was probably their most enjoyable recording experience to date.
“We worked with a team in Toronto, who’ve done a bunch of our CDs,” said Dr. Dahn, who teaches violin. “You’re in wonderful hands, and the acoustics of the Glen Gould Hall are just great.”
“The CD turned out well and got really good reviews,” said Prof. Steeves. “A lot of people spoke to us about it and told us how much they liked it. It’s a really special win.”
Duo Concertante has been performing for 20 years or so, and the musicians have made a concerted effort since then to innovate, promote classical music and market themselves.
Back in 2001 they launched the Tuckamore Chamber Music Festival together, and regularly travel to schools in the province doing outreach tours. They also perform across the country.
And that’s not all. Their new recording, Incarnation, has just been released. It’s a collection of five commissioned works, including a piece by another award-winning School of Music faculty member, Dr. Andrew Staniland.