The local paper in Tours: la Nouvelle République published an interview I did with one of their Arts correspondents. It was a lot of fun, and included an impromptu photo-shoot.
Click HERE for the link to the article.
Here is a rough translation en anglais (thank you, Ed Coughlin!)
An American Tours for Francis Poulenc
Mark Bilyeu arrives from Minneapolis, American sister city of Tours. –
(Photo NR, Sophie Girard)
For two weeks, the American pianist Mark Bilyeu (and Clara Osowski!) participates as a young talent at the Academy Francis Poulenc. On the program: music, encounters and … recital.
Mark Bilyeu is not a painter. He is a pianist. His favorite music is not that of Gershwin. The young man prefers compositions by Poulenc, Ravel or Noel Lee. Yet, as in the film Minelli, the young American falls in love with France, Tours in particular.Mark Bilyeu is in Touraine for two weeks. The young man of 27 years, a native of Minneapolis, is one of the young talents from all over Europe, the U.S. and Asia involved in this month end Academy Francis Poulenc.
The program for these talented students, singers and pianists, includes private lessons, master classes, seminars, public performance and the opportunity to rub shoulders with the great names in music, including baritone François Le Roux, pianist Graham Johnson orEnglish soprano Felicity Lott. I had the opportunity to meet François Le Roux, last year in Vancouver. I loved working with him. Since then, we’ve stayed in touch. I really wanted to participate in the Academy Francis Poulenc in 2012. But it was too late. “Just by chance, Mark discovered that Tours was twinned with the city Minneapolis. “I contacted the association that takes care of the sister cities relationship in Minneapolis, and they gave us all their support, their network, their logistical support. They raised funds to pay for our travel and organized our homestay accommodation here , “says the enthusiastic young pianist who has just completed his accompanist degree at the University of Minnesota.
Mark came to Tours with his compatriot mezzo soprano Clara Osowski. The two have worked together often over the past year.
For this occasion, they created a recital combining French music and works by American composers from Minneapolis: “We contacted, for example, the composer Stephen Paulus who had written a piece for baritone. We asked him if he would like to adapt it for a woman’s voice. To our surprise, he said yes and sent us a new score.”
The duo hopes to play this recital before the end of the Academy on August 30. Mark Bilyeu, an American in Touraine.
The Francis Poulenc Academy moved to Tours until August 30. Public appointments are scheduled, including
-Saturday, August 24, 20 am: Hearing of Young Talent Academy at Temple, 32, rue de la Préfecture in Tours.
-26, 27, 28 and 29 August to 9 pm 30-12 pm Master class public in the auditorium of the Faculty of Musicology, rue Francois Clouet.
-Monday, August 26 at 20 pm, recital Felicity Lott and Graham Johnson, Grand Théâtre de la Scellerie.
-Friday, August 30, 20 am, closing church Noizay.Information and reservations: 02.47.21.66.52 and www.melodiefrancaise.com
We had more coachings, and lessons today, as well as a WONDERFUL dinner hosted by the Bodis family in their backyard. No pictures: sorry! We were too busy enjoying the punch (read: rum with limes and ice), amazing food, and singing/playing the Brahms Liebeslieder Waltzes (with 2 pianos, 8 hands, and 15 voices) FUN!!
If you haven’t ever heard the Liebeslieder Waltzes, click HERE
to listen to an incredibly astounding recording featuring:
Heather Harper, Soprano
Janet Baker, Mezzo-soprano
Peter Pears, Tenor
Thomas Hensley, BaritoneBenjamin Britten & Claudio Arrau, piano duet
Tomorrow we have our first concert: we’re going to be playing TWO of Noel Lee’s Quatre Chants sur Baudelaire which we are VERY excited about doing. It’s a really fantastic privilege, and we’re so grateful to the Academie for allowing us this opportunity!