Two cellist who studied together years ago at a music school in Albania are reuniting this weekend in Langley.
Langley Community Music School is hosting an afternoon concert, entitled The Lure of Cello, on Sunday, Jan. 20, bringing these two back together to perform, said artistic director Elizabeth Bergmann.
These two artists, Ilir Merxhushi of Australia, and Elvira Lagji of Vancouver, were classmates in the Academy of Fine Arts in TIrana, Albania.
"They found each other again via Facebook and decided it would be wonderful to reunite in concert_," Bergmann said, explaining that the pair will be joined by pianist Winifried Rompf.
"The concert will be Ilir's Canadian debut. We are delighted that Rose Gellert Hall will be a venue for their musical reunion," Bergmann said, noting that following the 2:30 p.m. concert, Merxhushi will be giving a master class at 4 p.m., where the public is welcome to attend and hear his musical insights on student performances.
In what Bergmann calls a "special treat," the LCMS cello ensemble - under the direction of Joel Stobbe and made up of senior cello students - will join Merxhuxi on stage.
The afternoon program will include Piazzolla Le Grand Tango, Vivaldi Double Concerto, Bach Cello Suite Nr.1, Shostakovich Preludium, and a work by Albanian composer Skenderi.
Merxhushi is one of the foremost cellists. He has performed concerts in many countries on several continents, and held important orchestral positions both in his native Albania (principal cellist in the national opera and ballet orchestra) as well as in the Australian opera and ballet orchestra in Sydney.
He was a member of the Albanian Contemporary Music Festival, and also held a teaching position at the Academy of Fine Arts, the very school in which he trained.
His extensive repertoire of cello works ranges from the classical, romantic and contemporary periods, to new and experimental works in various modern idioms.
His interpretations are considered innovative and original - studying details of every work, seeking a deep understanding of the music both in its architecture and expression. For this reason he has become also a sought-after coach and master class clinician.
Lagji is a native of Albania and has a masters in music in cello and music pedagogy from Tirana University in Albania.
She started studying the cello at age six in Durres and performed a number of concerts and competitions in her hometown. After graduation she became active as orchestral cellist as well as teacher.
Today, she is a sought-after orchestral musician, playing regularly with local orchestras and ensembles, including the Burnaby Symphony.
In addition, she was a member of the WRELEK Trio, and is currently cellist in the Appassionata Trio, which performs many of the standard piano trios to high acclaim.
As a teacher, she has a successful private studio and is on the faculty of the BC Conservatory of Music and the Pacific Coast School of Music.
The duo are being joined by Rompf, who was born in Bremen, Germany, but came to Canada as a young lad.
He started piano study as soon as his family was able to provide it and has never looked back.
Although he has had a long career in the human resources field, he devoted his full-time to music since 1992.
Rompf has performed widely as soloist, chamber musician, and collaborative pianist.
In October 2009 he was in Germany to be part of a massive piano extravaganza - 16 pianists (all professional) performing on eight grand pianos.
In 2011, he masterminded a similar event in Vancouver - the Celebrate Pianos Eight event - that took place in the Queen Elizabeth Theatre to a nearly sold out audience - an event of epic proportions: 16 international pianists and a choir of more than 200 singers.
Rompf is the originator and president of the North West International Piano Ensemble Competition, which has completed three successful competitions. In addition, he is founding member of the Vancouver Piano Ensemble, which played to many international audiences since the year 2000.
Admission to The Lure of Cello concert is by donation. People can call the box office for more information, at 604-534-2848.
The Rose Gellert Hall is located at 4899 207th St.