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My brother Tait Becke and I are co-directors of the Pontiac Enchanté Concert Series. We host our concerts in the spectacular barn space shown in the background image - this place is called Venturing Hills Concert Studio, and it is located at Venturing Hills Farm in Luskville, Quebec (approximately 30 minutes drive from Ottawa). To learn more about the series, click on the button below to visit our website. You can also watch the video displayed below, which will give you a sense of our concert-presenting philosophy and what our concerts are like.
Visit Pontiac Enchanté's Website
Alongside music, the other big passion in my life is the outdoors. I love living in Canada because of the extremity of the climate, and the many different sides of nature it shows. I also love the variety of outdoor activities the climate makes possible: in the winter, I am an avid cross-country skier, skater, and snowshoer. In the summer, I am a canoeist, hiker, camper, and a runner. What all of these activities allow me to do is enjoy being out in nature, and marvel at the earth doing its thing. I am painfully aware that all of this is threatened by our rapidly changing global climate. Increasingly, I have been trying to find ways to make my own professional habits more environmentally sustainable, and I've been thinking a lot about some of the big ways in which the classical music industry needs to start reforming itself in order to work towards a greener future. I am putting these ideas to work at Pontiac Enchanté, which has made environmental sustainability a cornerstone of its mission through its GREEN POLICY. I had the opportunity to consolidate my thoughts on this issue through a TEDx talk that I gave in November 2020. To watch the talk, click the play button on the viewer below. If you would like to get in touch with me about sustainability and classical music, please use the CONTACT page to do so - we need a lot more dialogue and action on this issue in our industry, so if you have ideas you'd like to discuss, I'd love to hear from you.
My friend and fellow pianist Suren Barry and I form the two halves of Duo Octavian, a two piano and piano duet ensemble. Visit our website HERE. Suren and I have known each other since we were kids - we both grew up in Ottawa, and played in all of the same local music club concerts and competitions. We started working together in 2016, when we found that we shared many musical ideals, and we both felt that the under-explored but rich body of repertoire for two pianos deserved more attention. As a duo, our identity is built around our approach to the performance process: we believe that the performer needs to play an actively creative role in music-making, equal to that of the composer. We push against the idea that performers are simply there to 'faithfully reproduce' a composer's intentions. To that end, we are particularly fascinated by arrangements, and have performed the Canadian premieres of two arrangements by the Russian pianist Dmitri Alexeev: one of Stravinsky's Firebird and another of music from Gershwin's Porgy and Bess. We have written and performed our own arrangement of Brahms's Ein Deutsches Requiem, and have also delved into arrangements by the little known British-American pianist Harold Bauer (1873-1951). Alongside our interest in arrangements, we are committed to expanding the two piano repertoire by commissioning new works. For Duo Octavian booking enquiries, please write to me through the CONTACT page, or through the Duo Octavian website (link at the top of this blurb).