Bryan and Sylvie Cheng have been playing classical music together most of their lives.

Bryan and Sylvie Cheng have been playing classical music together most of their lives.

Brother-sister duo enjoy concert as much as their audience

Cheng2Duo's classic performance in Smithers wows hundreds in attendance.

How many of us have had to suffer through the sibling wars? It seems that it’s quite usual for brothers and sisters to have some kind of special pact to duke it out whenever possible.

And then … a breath of fresh air. Brian and Sylvie Cheng showed us all that it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, they showed us that the closeness that only brothers and sisters can have is able to create an intimacy that can lead to something quite special.

Around 225 locals were able to experience that special closeness last Sunday evening at the Della Herman Theatre as they presented an almost non-stop presentation of classical music played on two instruments: the piano by Sylvie, and the viola by Bryan.

These were not just a couple of kids who decided to get together to crank out a few tunes. To date, they have produced a number of popular and critically acclaimed albums and they have another in the works. Each album has a special theme of works from a single country, Spain or Germany for example.

Of course they have been at this for quite some time. They did not just fall off the back of the turnip truck and start playing together. While studying in New York, the Ottawa pair received a call to fill in for an absent performer — at Carnegie Hall, no less. The rest is history.

One reviewer actually came up with their unique performance name, Cheng2Duo (Cheng squared Duo). That particular viewer thought that the performance of the pair was not merely twice as good as the two together, it was the square of that result. So much for forgetting about math once you hit high school.

Watching the two perform was a delight in itself. These were not just a couple of young adults who were giving the listeners a nice performance, they were thoroughly enjoying it themselves. It would be wonderful and entirely useful if everyone could enjoy their work as much as they appeared to be doing.

I won’t claim to be what you might call any kind of expert in the field of classical music. I couldn’t tell you the difference between Mozart and Tchaikovsky. I just know what sounds good to my ears. This sounded great and the performers were not just playing their instruments, they were delighting in their presentation.

A triple encore at the end of the performance shows I was not alone in my assessment.

At the end of the performance, it would have been easy to run out to view the special bloody lunar eclipse, but both performers and listeners hung around. It was not just business as usual for Bryan and Sylvie, they genuinely appeared to be enjoying their interaction with the audience members.

Of course, the evening had to end at some point, and as the last few listeners found their way to the door, several members of the crowd were able to deliciously spend a few extra minutes comparing notes with the performers.

The evening gradually had to come to an end and the concert hall emptied.

We once again have to thank the Bulkley Valley Concert Association for its efforts in bringing such cultural excellence to our little hamlet. The performers always seem to truly enjoy their stop here and we definitely enjoy having them come.

Next on the list is the Raine Hamilton Trio on March 23. Stay tuned for more information.

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