Barrie’s annual Pianofest takes a new direction this year, focusing on two performers, Dmitri Levkovich and Agne Radzeviciute. While Levkovich has performed here a number of times in the past, it is the first time the two pianists will be playing as a duo. It is also Agne Radzeviciute’s first concert here.

Levkovich and Radzeviciute, who are a couple in real life, marked their first public performance as a duo for an encore piece at an Ohio concert, last year, where both were featured, solo artists. Since then, they have teamed up several times, including a recent mini-tour of Lithuania, where Radzeviciute was born.

They will be presenting the same program, a mix of classical pieces, in Barrie, performing solo and as four-hands. It will also feature Tchaikovsky Nutcracker Suite, the first music they played together publically. Radzeviciute, a multi-award-winning musician, will start the evening off with Chopin and Ravel.

“They are some of my favourite pieces from recent years and something I always enjoy playing. (It) will give a lot of balance to our varied program and we finish the first half with our duo program Schubert’s Allegro in A minor ‘Lebensstürme’, D947 (Storms of Life) and a new piece for us (by) Mendelssohn,” said  Radzeviciute. “Our duo program will be one of the highlights of the concert – everyone in Lithuania kept talking about it so it’s really something memorable.”

Levkovich, who is also a multi-award-winning pianist, is slated for a solo in the second half beginning with Prokofiev’ Sonata No. 6 in A Major.

“It is a War Sonata,” said Levkovich. “It was nicknamed by the composer himself because it was conceived during the Second World War.”

He was born in the Ukraine to musical parents, both played the piano and his father was a composer. When Levkovich moved to Canada with his family at the age of 14, he made a personal decision to make music his life’s work.

“When we moved here, I realized I lost all my friends and it was before Internet and Skype. I felt that I needed something to ground myself and music was it,” he said. “I started doing it for myself at 14. It was not an easy road because at 17 I got accepted to a very prestigious school however it was in composition so for three years I was basically on a break as a pianist but my mind was always developing musically. I had lots of ideas but it was not easy to catch up my fingers to my mind.”

Radzeviciute’s interest in music, singing, and theatre, was inspired by various members of her family, but the piano won out and she moved to New York to further her studies at the age of 19.

“(From) a very early age I was very drawn to the instrument and was very focused ever since I started. I never really had doubts about playing the piano or to do something else,” she said. “I love theatre but was always a bit shy. I could only express myself through music, not words.”

The couple met six years ago a small Thanksgiving party in New York City and married in April 2018. Their wedding day was the first time both sets of parents met because his parents live in Canada and her family lives in Lithuania. The couple relocated from New York to Toronto five months ago.

The fifth annual Pianofest takes place Sunday, Feb. 10 at 2:30 p.m. at Bethel Community Church, 128 St. Vincent St. Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for student or by showing season subscription to Barrie Concerts or  Georgian Music. For more information call 705-726-1181.

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