Below is a review which was published following my ensemble Piano Pinnacle’s recital at Douglas College:

In The Key Of A Master

Iman Habibi and Deborah Grimmett with friends and fans. Photo credit: Kayla Steinman.

Iman Habibi and Deborah Grimmett with friends and fans. Photo credit: Kayla Steinman.

Arts at One presents Iman Habibi and Deborah Grimmett in ‘Piano Pinnacle’

By Kayla Steinman, Contributor

Last Thursday in the Laura C. Muir Performing Arts Theatre, one of Douglas’ immensely talented graduates returned and proved that hard work and determination can make just about anyone’s dreams come true. Iman Habibi, once a Douglas music student, now a composer and pianist, came back to his beloved college to premier one of his own compositions, along with his partner and Vancouver-based music teacher, Deborah Grimmett. These two brought with them a passion that could only be achieved by years of patience as they developed their music.

Focusing on music from the 19th and the 20th centuries, the duo played for us the sounds of Spain in “Ritmo” from Danses Andalouses, composed by Manuel Infante; the piece expresses the fun, energetic, and busy life of a person in Spain. Using two pianos for all of the compositions performed, one was able to hear, as well as picture, what life would have been like in Spain when this composition was created.

For this concert in particular, Habibi and Grimmett did something amazing by requesting for a number of miniature compositions, averaging a minute each, from all around Canada, which they went on to showcase five of. This experiment was intended to bring British Columbian composers more attention, a topic that means a great deal to the duo; they went on to wish to encourage more students and music enthusiasts to show off their talents. In these miniatures, they played the sounds of rain falling, a gentle breeze, and “Off to the Races,” a high energy and fast-paced piece.

The one song that they both agreed on as having been the most fun to play was a piece that was found in a box of unwanted music outside of Grimmett’s studio, entitled “In a Persian Market.” This piece allowed one to easily hear the hustle and bustle of a market: the camels coming and going as bookends, with a princess arriving in-between. Habibi, who hails from a Persian background, used said reasoning as a personal encouragement to initially read through the piece, and later perform it.

Habibi, as was stated before, premiered an original piece, entitled “Towering.” He further stated that he had gotten the idea for the piece from viewing a concert, in which the entire movement was a crescendo. “Towering” was very lovely, with the melodies and harmonies shared between the two pianos, it could make anyone want to become a music student. The piece was simply one of the most amazing original compositions I’ve heard created in modern times, and it was very special to have been a part of experiencing the piece first hand.

Take the time next week to see some of our very own Douglas alumni perform in the Arts at One’s “Alumni Vocal Recital,” once again taking place at 1 p.m. in the Laura C. Muir Performing Arts Theatre at the New West campus—don’t forget, all Arts at One performances are absolutely free!