Pianist Stephane Lemelin fell in love with classical music the moment he heard his first composition by Ludwig van Beethoven.
He was a seven-year-old boy growing up in a small Quebec town when his Grade 1 music teacher played a Beethoven violin concerto.
“It somehow spoke to me in a very deep way. I was very much connected with it,” Lemelin said in a phone interview.
Lemelin became so infatuated with classical music that he would run home after school and draw portraits of the musicians and his contemporaries. When he wasn’t drawing, he’d compose songs on his toy xylophone.
He inherited his first piano from his grandparents. It required a bit of effort, as his parents thought the xylophone was sufficient and took up less room, he said.
Lemelin eventually prevailed, found a piano teacher and his career was in motion.
“I really wanted to learn to play the piano. I’d decided I wanted to be a musician,” he said.
Now a guest soloist with major Canadian orchestras and a widely sought after recitalist and chamber music partner, Lemelin will play with the Kamloops Symphony on Saturday night at the Sagebrush Theatre.
The show begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at Kamloops Live! Box Office, at the door, or by phoning 250-374-5483.
Called Brilliant Beethoven, Lemelin will perform Beethoven’s Fifth Concerto, also known as The Emperor. It’s the last of Beethoven’s five piano concertos and Lemelin believes it’s the master’s greatest.
Written in 1809 when Napoleon’s armies were attacking Vienna, the music is triumphant, upbeat and heroic, said Lemelin.
The evening’s performance will also feature Beethoven’s Egmont Overture and Franz Schubert’s Fourth Symphony.
Lemelin holds a doctorate from Yale University, taught at the University of Alberta for more than a decade and has been on the faculty of the School of Music of the University of Ottawa since 2001.
He plays the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre on Thursday and the Salmon Arm Recreation Centre on Friday.