La Fiammata

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About La Fiammata

     For these pianists, it all began in Vancouver, where they met as participants in the same competition. Some conversations later, they realized two things about each other: that they’d be attending the same Conservatory a few months later, and that they didn’t despise each other at all! Come September, these great friends were coincidentally paired together to play as a piano duo in class—and quickly, what started as a school requirement morphed into something incredibly fun and worthwhile. The more they played together, the more they realized how contrasting their musical personalities were. This unlikely turn of events has pushed them out of their comfort zones and helped them play off of one another’s strengths. From that first moment, they felt a spark of connection, which grew into a flame. They present to you this burst of flame: La Fiammata.

     Since then, La Fiammata has quickly become a piano duo to watch for. They have been featured on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s In Concert, where radio host Paolo Pietropaolo attested that “[one] can practically hear the electricity crackling between [the two pianists].” As the Grand Prix Winners of the Canadian Music Competition, La Fiammata made its orchestral debut with Orchestre de la Francophonie and conductor Nicolas Ellis in 2017. They have also performed in Koerner Hall with the Royal Conservatory Orchestra under the baton of Johannes Debus. The duo has won the top prizes at the 2019 Suzana Szörenyi International Piano Duo Competition in Romania and at the 2018 Northwest International Piano Ensemble Competition in Vancouver. La Fiammata was named the RBC Stockey Young Artists at the Festival of the Sound and the Youth Ambassadors for the 60th anniversary of the Canadian Music Competition in the Toronto Chapter.

    La Fiammata is eager to discover the potential of the piano duo instrumentation while supporting the Canadian voices of their generation. In May of 2019, they won a commission sponsored by the Ontario Arts Council and premiered “density swells upclose in breath” by Canadian composer Julia Mermelstein.

    Comprised of Canadian pianists Charissa Vandikas and Linda Ruan, the duo was formed in 2015 in Toronto, where they were both full scholarship students of The Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music. During this time, they were coached by James Anagnoson of the renowned Anagnoson-Kinton Duo. Currently, Ms. Ruan studies at The Juilliard School in the studio of Hung-Kuan Chen and Ms. Vandikas at the University of Montreal with Jean Saulnier.

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About the Performance

Franz & Francis
for KnoxVan Events Instrumental Measures
Rondo in A Major for Four Hands, D. 951 – Franz Schubert
Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra in D minor, FP 61 – Francis Poulenc

     In the last year of Schubert’s life (1828), he composed three works for piano four hands: his famous Fantasie in F minor D.940, Lebensstürme D.947, and the Rondo in A major D.951. While the first two pieces express everything from the great depths of tragedy to the peaks of triumph, his Rondo contains none of this existential struggle. Rather it begins with a beautiful melody that leads us on a winding but gentle path, exploring a more noble response to adversity. This piece holds a special place in our hearts, and has been a comfort to learn together through these recent trying times.

     Poulenc’s Double Piano Concerto is a complete change of pace. A piece we have played since 2016, it’s the first piece we’ve played together with orchestra. This piece draws upon a number of different influences including Balinese gamelan, jazz, and ragtime. Notably, the beautiful theme of the second movement was inspired by the melodic writing of Mozart. There are also some striking similarities to Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major in its jazz influence and instrumentation. Poulenc wrote in a letter to his friend that during the writing of this concerto, he had on his piano the concertos of Mozart, Liszt and Ravel. The version we will be playing for you is Poulenc’s own integration of both the piano and orchestra parts.

KnoxVan Events Presents
La Fiammata

A Free Virtual Performance

Tuesday, July 13, 2021
7:30PM – Video Release
8:00PM – Performer’s Talk

Please join us via Zoom for Talk-back at 8PM
by clicking here
on July 13, 2021

Please consider donating to the Instrumental Measures Series to help support hard working, local professional musicians during these complicated times by clicking the yellow button below.

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