The wizardry and wonder of four-handed piano playing continues to be hit with local audiences.

This year’s Barrie Pianofest will feature four up-and-coming young musicians: Pearl Chen, Carlisle Beresford, Chris Au and Antoine Laporte. Each pianist is well on their way to becoming a Canadian star.

Chris Au teams up with Antoine Laporte to perform four-handed works by Mozart, Schubert and Milhaud. Au has performed in Barrie in the past, at Senior’s Serenade, Midday Music concerts as well as last year’s Pianofest. The Toronto-based pianist says music brings him a lot of joy and he is passionate about sharing it with people. Born in Hong Kong, he grew up in Sydney, Australia, where he competed and won numerous prizes and awards. He has been studying piano since he was five years old, most recently at the Glenn Gould School, Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto, for diplomas in artistry and performance.

For this concert, he joins Antoine Laporte, who was born and raised in Sorel-Tracy, Quebec. The multi-prize winning pianist is currently studying at the Glenn Gould School. Last year, he was invited to perform at the Adamant Music School`s 75th anniversary concert at Carnegie Hall in New York. Notably, Laporte participated in the Beethoven Bootcamp at the Irish Academy of Music in Dublin last July. His first solo album was released in 2016 and an excerpt was broadcast by Radio-Canada.

Pearl-Lynne Chen and Carlisle Beresford have formed a piano duo in Toronto. For this concert, they will be performing four-hand pieces by Debussy, Mendelssohn and Italian composer, Ottorino Respighi.

Chen started studying music with her mother at the age of three in New York City. Three years later, she received a full scholarship to attend the Young Artists’ Performance Academy. Performances with regional orchestras, including the Toronto Symphony followed, and she completed her studies at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, winning several prizes along the way.

Beresford holds an ARCT diploma from the Royal Conservatory of Music as well as a Bachelor of Music degree from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where his passion for teaching began, helping his fellow students. He currently teaches piano in Toronto. He is also a recording artist.  He recently recorded all twenty-four Chopin etudes and is working on recording the complete works of Beethoven, including symphonies and chamber works, with his chamber music partners.

Pianofest unfolds at 7:30 p.m. on May 12 at Highway Pentecostal Church, 50 Anne St. N. Admission is by showing the 2018-19  Barrie Concerts or Georgian Music subscriptions, or by purchasing single tickets: $15 for adults, $5 for students, at the door.

Photo: Chris Au marks his second performance at Barrie’s Pianofest May 12.

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