Acclaimed Canadian pianist performing at the ShuBox

By Costa Maragos Posted: February 9, 2017 6:00 a.m.

Jacques Després is performing at the Shu-Box Theatre at the U of R Thursday, February 16 at noon. Admission is free and open to the public.
Jacques Després is performing at the Shu-Box Theatre at the U of R Thursday, February 16 at noon. Admission is free and open to the public. Photo courtesy of Ellis Brothers Photography

Here’s a treat if you’re looking for an amazing lunchtime musical performance.

Acclaimed Canadian pianist Jacques Després is performing at the University of Regina February 16, starting at noon at the ShuBox Theatre in the Riddell Centre of the U of R.  Admission is free and all are welcome to attend.

Després’ recital is entitled “Debussy, Musicien français: Clarity and Elegance.” Després, a professor of music at the University of Alberta, has dazzled audiences for nearly four decades on three continents through his recordings and performances.

Since his debut with the Montréal Symphony Orchestra in 1978, he has appeared as a soloist with orchestras in North America and Asia and has been heard many times on CBC radio and in festival performances.  

“We are so fortunate to have a pianist of Jacques Després' calibre here at the University of Regina,” says Christine Vanderkooy, associate professor in the Department of Music in the Faculty of Media, Art, and Performance. Vanderkooy has helped organize the event with Helen Pridmore, associate professor in the Department of Music.
 
“Professor Després is a very accomplished and important Canadian pianist and he himself was taught by some of the most influential piano pedagogues of our time. He has a special relationship with the music of Debussy and we really look forward to hearing his all-Debussy programme,” says Vanderkooy.

Després holds degrees and diplomas from the Québec Conservatory, the Juilliard School and Stony Brook University in New York, where he studied with the great pianist/teacher Gilbert Kalish. 

There’s more to Després’ Regina visit. He will spend time with aspiring young pianists in the city, holding a piano masterclass February 17 at St. Paul’s Cathedral from 7:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Janice Denike helped set up the masterclass. Denike received her degree in piano performance with great distinction at the U of R and was the recipient of the President’s Medal when she graduated in 1978.  She met Després a few years ago when he adjudicated at the Regina Music Festival.  
 
“He is a very experienced and knowledgeable musician, with a lively, creative, outgoing personality. He is passionate about classical music,” says Denike. “He is also very kind and generous and takes a lot of extra time to help students and offer talks and masterclasses, such as the one here. He is fun and also patient, which makes for a very enjoyable learning experience, particularly in a masterclass setting.”

The masterclass was made possible thanks to a partnership between the Department of Music and the Saskatchewan Registered Music Teachers’ Association, Regina branch.

Event:   Jacques Després Recital
Venue:  ShuBox Theatre – Riddell Centre – Main campus of the U of R
Date:     February 16, 2017
Time:    12:00 p.m.
This event is free and open to the public

For more information on the recital, please contact Helen Pridmore: helen.pridmore@uregina.ca. For more information on the masterclass please contact Janice Denike: ajdenike@gmail.com.