Our Residency at the Banff Centre


Withdrawal from Banff seems to have a name among its alumni: Banff-itis. We can't predict the seriousness of our case, but we truly hope to see this magical spot in the world again soon. 

When we arrived at the Banff Centre's music studios, our bio and picture hung on the public board in the lobby that welcomed us and, at the same time, urged us to look for answers to many questions we had been accumulating in the previous months. 
Our pass titled us: ARTISTWhat have we been doing to possibly deserve such a status, and what does it mean for our identity?

While Scotland was experiencing massive flooding and Baltimore was facing the cruelest snowfall of its recorded history, Passepartout Duo prepared their concert program to be toured in Europe later that year. Not only were we provided a studio with a stunning view and a hut in the woods, but also the instruments were first rate. At the Centre, we rehearsed, practiced, and wandered into the Canadian wilderness. But most importantly, we met many amazing people from all over the world who carried out very different and equally exciting projects. 

We had workshops, coachings, and great talks with Martin BresnickLisa Moore, and many other artists. We encountered endless inspiration from the other participant's projects: especially from the music of Canadian composer and pianist Anthony Tan and from the chats with Anyssa Naumann about music in Ingmar Bergman's cinematography. 

We were also able to do some recording. Wally Gunn's piece Can You Hear Me? uses morse code to inspire rhythmic and melodic ideas. The composers describes the piece best himself:

"A conversation between two people involves both text and subtext; some meaning is conveyed in words, while other, simultaneous meanings are conveyed in “codes”. Can You Hear Me? explores the idea of communication. The piece is in two movements, as if two people are recounting the same conversation. And like two people who might recount the same conversation, the two versions contain similar material, but differ markedly in the way they are expressed."

The Banff Centre is somehow a dream come true. It is a place where artists won't feel it is unreasonable to wish to have all one's time invested into ideas and artistic practice. Inspiration manages to stay well intact there, no matter what outside world obstacles come your way. In our final days at the residency, the Centre featured Passepartout Duo in an article on their website titled This Duo Wants to Put Classical Music Back in Your Living Room. The interview process gave us a chance to reflect on how important our stay was to our artistic development.

A few pictures from our concerts are featured above - photo credit: Rita Taylor