For the last 20 years, Marcel has enjoyed an active musical career as a performer, composer, improviser and teacher. His broad range of musical interest and experience in both, classical and popular music has led to an output in a variety of styles and genres.
A native of Munich, Germany, Marcel Bergmann studied musicology at the Ludwig-Maximiliams-Universität in Munich and piano at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hannover with Arie Vardi. After obtaining a Bachelors degree, Masters degree and Artist Diploma, Marcel received a scholarship from the Université de Montréal where he and his wife pursued specialized studies in duo piano with Jean-Eudes Vaillancourt. Subsequently, he completed post-graduate work in the Solistenklasse in Hannover.
Over the past decade, he also has been involved as composer and musical director in a variety of theatre, cabaret and multimedia projects, such as Baden Rebelliert (Bruchsal, Germany, 1998, including 30 performances throughout Baden-Württemberg), Online an der Leine, which had its premiere during the EXPO 2000 in Hannover/Germany, and Der Avatar (2001). The Bavarian Television, Arte and other European broadcasting corporations, have broadcast his music for television features. In 2004, he was a composer-in-residence for Calgary Opera’s Let’s create an Opera programme.
For more than a decade Marcel and his wife Elizabeth have performed extensively as a duo piano team and have since enjoyed a successful career. They received first prize at the International Chamber Music Competition in Caltanissetta, Italy, were laureates of The 4th Murray Dranoff International Two Piano Competition and were performing artists in Yehudi Menuhin’s organization Live Music Now. Their recitals and concerts with orchestra have taken them to many parts of the world, including the United States, Italy, Germany, Holland, Greece and Canada, with performances at the celebrated Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, the Banff Arts Festival, the Royal Bank Calgary International Organ Festival and Competition, the International Two Piano Symposium and Schubertiade, Miami, the Tage für neue Musik, Darmstadt, the Braunschweiger Kammermusik Podium and at the EXPO 2000, Hannover. They have recorded for the CBC, for several stations of the ARD in Germany and for National Public Radio in the USA and have made several CDs, which appear on the Arktos and Naxos labels. The collaboration as a piano duo has inspired numerous compositions and arrangements for 2 pianos and piano duet, many of which can be heard on their various recordings. Marcel’s works are featured on a recent Brilliant Classics release, Minimal Piano Music, X-XX.
In December 2005, Marcel’s Urban Pulse for two pianos was premiered as the commissionedwork for The 10th Murray Dranoff International Two Piano Competition (past commissioned composers included Morton Gould, Ned Rorem, William Bolcom and John Corigliano). His music appears on the Canadian National Conservatory’s series Making Tracks- An Expedition in Canadian Piano Music. He has been commissioned by various organizations including the CBC, the Land’s End Chamber Ensemble, the Spiritus Chamber Choir, the Langley Community Music School and the San Francisco International Music Festival.
Furthermore, Marcel has also created several works and arrangements involving two pianos and other instruments, such as Culemborg City Soundscape (together with Jeroen Van Veen). Frequent collaborations with composers, performers and writers in Europe and North America have led to a multitude of chamber music based projects, ranging from duo to sextet. His most recent large-scale work, Two Bit Oper-Eh-Shun (an oratorio on homelessness) was premiered at the 2010 High Performance Rodeo in Calgary and was presented as part of the New York Music Theatre Festival in July 2012.
In addition to frequent appearances as a duo pianist and chamber musician, he performed as a core musician of the Calgary based group Land’s End Chamber Ensemble, recipient of both the 2005 and 2006 Western Canadian Music Award for Outstanding Classical Recording. Marcel is also internationally active as a clinician, juror, and lecturer and has been involved as a collaborative pianist and vocal coach. In 2004/2005, Marcel and his wife were Artistic Directors of The Murray Dranoff International Two Piano Competition and Foundation in Miami. He has been on faculty at Mount Royal University, the University of Calgary, and served as Artistic Director of the Langley Community Music School. He has also been involved in various musical activities at
The Banff Centre for the Arts. From 2009 -2013, he was Professor of Music at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ont. and is currently Director of Program Advancement at the Langley Community Music School where he also teaches piano, composition and chamber music.
Marcel is an associate composer of the Canadian Music Centre.
(by the composer himself)
Continuum is based on two different ostinato-patterns that form the foundation of the piece. They create a gently flowing, polyrhythmic texture (-3 against 2-) throughout and evoke the sound of distant bells. A slowly paced melody emerges as a third element out of the two-note pattern, which seems kind of “fragmented”. The melody repeats, with an added echo- effect, and becomes more expanded and spun out before slowly fading away. At the very end, both patterns slow down gradually until reaching a complete standstill. A little flourish of high notes might bring back an association with the opening gestures from the very beginning where a couple of arpeggiated chords (in the lower range) suggest a hint of Spanish flavour.
Apart from a few chromatic pitches toward the end, the whole piece is strictly diatonic and has a somewhat modal feel due to the prevalence of the Aeolian scale.
Continuum is dedicated to Nicolas Horvath.