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Benjamin Bertin, piano
Presented by the Department of Visual and Performing Arts/Division of Music.
Born in Winnipeg, MB, Canadian pianist Benjamin Bertin committed to serious piano study at the unlikely age of 21. At 22 he entered the studio of Alexander Tselyakov at Brandon University (MB), completing a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance. Upon graduating, Mr. Bertin completed a Masters in Piano Performance at Bowling Green State University (OH) with Thomas Rosenkranz. Currently, he is pursuing an Artist Diploma with Alexander Kobrin at the Schwob School of Music, Columbus State University. Mr. Bertin has appeared in masterclasses with Byron Janis, Robert Levin, Seymour Bernstein, James Giles, Dominique Weber, Dorian Leljak and Pamela Mia Paul. He pursued further study at Florida State University with Joel Hastings, and participated in festivals including Masterworks Festival (IN), Washington International Piano Festival, Clear Lake Chamber Festival (MB), and most recently Gijon International Piano Festival (Spain).
Benjamin has drawn continued inspiration from Russian pianists, including two of his own teachers (A. Tselyakov and A. Kobrin), as well as legendary artists Emil Gilels, Sviatoslav Richter, and Grigory Sokolov. All of these formative influences stem from a single source: the Heinrich Neuhaus school of piano playing at Moscow conservatory. Russian composers have also been a primary interest, with works of Medtner, Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, and Scriabin featuring prominently in Benjamin’s repertoire. Nikolai Medtner specifically, has been a composer of special focus for Mr. Bertin. He performs Medtner frequently in an effort to shed light on this lesser-known giant of the keyboard repertoire, and in Fall 2014 gave a performance lecture on Medtner’s life and music to the Georgia Music Teachers Association. Bertin’s performances of Russian piano music have received numerous awards, including second prize for Scriabin’s 8th Sonata at the FSU Russian Romantics competition, Outstanding Performer for Medtner and Rachmaninoff at the AMTA Romantic-Impressionist Competition, and top prizes for performances of Medtner and Prokofiev sonatas at the Brandon Festival of the Arts (MB). Bertin has received numerous scholarships and awards throughout his studies, including the Brandon University Faculty Association Scholarship, the Centre Patrons Educational Fund, and several Pro Musica Grants. In 2009, he was a provincial finalist representing Manitoba in the Canadian Music Competition.
A committed chamber musician and duo partner, Bertin has won praise for his sensitive collaborations. He has collaborated with violinist Mark Djokic, cellist Rafael Hoekman, guitarist Derek Johnson, violist Megan Yanik, baritone William Killmeier, soprano Naomi Forman, and many others. He is currently working as a collaborative pianist at Mercer and Columbus State universities. In addition to frequent performances of the standard repertoire, Bertin’s projects have reached across five centuries covering music from Crumb, Reich, Adams, Pärt, and Judith Weir to Monteverdi, Rameau and Francois Couperin. He has collaborated on multi-discipline performances combining visual art and technology with music, performed John Cage on prepared piano, and studied harpsichord to gain deeper insight into interpreting Bach on the modern piano.
A passionate advocate for classical music, Benjamin endeavors to share music with diverse audiences and students. He performs frequently throughout the state of Georgia and has given numerous lecture recitals and special concerts for children and the elderly. He appeared as guest artist and masterclass clinician at Southwestern College (KS), and recently at Berry College in Rome, Georgia as guest recitalist. As a teacher, Bertin received graduate assistantships in group piano from Bowling Green State and Florida State universities, allowing him to work with widely diverse groups of students. He is an active member of MTNA, currently serving as the president of South Metro Atlanta Music Teachers Association. Benjamin Bertin is piano faculty at First Baptist Church Newnan and Clayton State University Music Preparatory School where he teaches private students, group piano classes and gives masterclasses.
ProgramJ.S. BACH French Suite No. 6 in E major, BWV 817
L. van BEETHOVEN Sonata No. 30 in E major, Op. 109
Nikolai MEDTNER Sonata in E minor, Op. 25 No. 2, "Night Wind"