Almost 100 United residents took part in the Honens Piano Competition and Festival last week in the largest programming initiative to date.
“Thanks to our partnership with Honens, our residents got to be part of the one of the premier musical events in the world!” commented United music director Jill LaForty. “They attended concerts live at Jack Singer Hall, watched several rounds of the competition live-streamed in our theatre, and even had a chance to hear and meet some of these brilliant musicians right in their own community”.
United threw open its doors to the larger Calgary community for two Honens encore concerts. The one at our Fish Creek community featured semi-finalist Megan-Geoffrey Prins from South Africa. Performing before a full house of residents, family, friends and several Calgary music lovers, Megan held nothing back. His program of challenging pieces from his semi-final recital on the community Steinway piano was topped off with a familiar Chopin Waltz.
After the concert Megan was extremely gracious during the wine and cheese reception. It was complete with chocolate cupcakes accented with an elaborate keyboard motif created especially by United chefs. Megan mixed with many of our residents and enthusiastically and generously answered their many questions one-on-one or in small groups. Some spoke with him about having followed the Honens competition for years.
The Honens week at United, which included eight concerts, wrapped up at 10:30 p.m. Friday night when almost a dozen residents were riveted to the large screens in the theatres watching the last of the final three brilliant contestants vie for the Honens crown. “Honens is music at its best!” exclaimed Fish Creek resident Joan Patterson. “The pianists were all very special. It’s so great that United offers us this. I’ve always loved music, but I was busy raising my children. Now I have time to enjoy it.”
“Everyone at United Active Living – our residents and staff – are thrilled with the naming of Georgian pianist Nicolas Namoradze as Honens newest Prize Laureate,” said Jill. “We had an especially close relationship with the previous Laureate, Luca Buratto over the previous three years, and with our ongoing partnership with Honens, we look forward to hearing Nicolas both within our communities and in concert in Calgary at his various public performances.”
Namoradze, 26, won the world’s largest prize for piano – $100,000 – and a three-year Artist Development Program valued at $500,000, which includes debut recitals in some of the world’s leading concert houses, concert opportunities with leading orchestras, professional management, residencies, and recordings. He already has an impressive performance resume, which you can view here.
“We are looking forward to showcasing Nicolas’ talent for United’s residents through our ongoing partnership,” said Honens president Neil Edwards. “While he has brought his formidable skills to major concert venues around the world, we’re looking forward to playing in the smaller, more intimate venue that United’s communities provide.”
Photo credits: Monique de St. Croix, Sherana Productions, Jeff Chan
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