Cheng² Duo, made up of musical siblings Bryan and Silvie Cheng, performed at the R.E.M. Lee Theatre on Jan. 19 as part of the Terrace Concert Society series.
As the first laureate of the 2018 Musical Instrument Bank competition by the Canada Council for the Arts, Bryan was awarded to play a 323-year-old ‘Bonjour’ Stradivarius cello from 1696 and a ‘Shaw’ Adam bow from 1830.
“I’m very fortunate to have been loaned (them for three years),” says Bryan. “The good thing is that they’re not in museums and that they’re actually being used.”
He was also the recipient of the council’s 2017 Michael Measures Prize.
Bryan has been making music alongside his pianist sister for 16 years, who was recognized with the Roy M. Rubinstein Award for exceptional promise in piano performance. Together, they have performed and recorded classical compilations throughout Canada, the USA, Europe, and Asia.
Silvie says that people often ask them if they have any secret signals between one another on stage when performing.
“If anyone did anything with anyone else like that for so long, you would just naturally have this close relationship and we’re very lucky to have that. It’s fun, every night is different.”
Cheng² Duo was named as one of CBC Music’s ‘30 hot Canadian classical musicians under 30.’ They’ve already released two albums and a third is on its way this year.
“My favourite part is that regardless of background or age, music can speak and it’s a universal language,” Bryan says. “We’re able to touch people and bring out these emotions that other words can’t express, I think that’s really satisfying.”
With Terrace marking their fifth stop on their month-long tour through B.C. and the Yukon, Bryan says that it’s been one of their best crowds so far.
“The audience was so enthusiastic and rapt from the beginning, we could really feel that they were connected to the music and that was very gratifying.”
The next concert at the R.E.M. Lee Theatre will be JJ Shiplet on Feb. 9.