Unreal Tour: First at Carnegie Hall for Steve Barakatt
Composer Steve Barakat will perform Saturday night at the legendary Carnegie Hall in New York. This will be the first performance of the musician from Quebec on American soil.
The pianist will play solo in Zankel Hall, this mythical temple of music, opened in 1891.
“This is an iconic moment and I feel I am doing this at the right time in my career as a composer, pianist and human being. I was there last week and felt good,” he said in an interview.
The 49-year-old pianist and composer dreamed of an international career from the very beginning. Japan, China and South Korea are territories that have been conquered over the years.
“Carnegie Hall is a great symbol. This is a historical and mythical room. I always told myself that if I ever did a concert in the United States, I would love to do it there. It was the first place that came to my mind,” he remarked.
This first US show could have been followed by others. Steve Barakat feels a resonance there, which begins to calm down.
“Things are going well and I intend to return soon. I have reached this stage,” he said.
Wind in the sails
Steve Barakat remembers being invited to Carnegie Hall’s 125th anniversary party in 2016.
“I told my friends that next time I will return to this hall to play there. It will,” he said.
This week, the Lebanese-born musician returned home for a few days before flying to New York. Lives since July 2021 in Montenegro, in Southern Europe. This pied-à-terre in the Balkans allows him to be closer to Asia, Western Europe and the Middle East, where he gives concerts.
“I haven’t been back since. I missed my mom and friends in Quebec. I had fun coming home, walking around Old Quebec, breathing fresh river air, good restaurants and talking about Quebec. This is my home and it will always be the same “, – he said.
After the Neoreality tour in New York, he will perform in Spain, China, Portugal, Morocco, South Korea and Japan.
“My album Neoreality really has the wind in its sails. I’m going to have a big, great year in 2023,” he said.
Steve Barakat intends to hold his Neo-Reality tour in Canada. He would like to give concerts in Quebec and Montreal, in several cities in the province, as well as in Toronto, Vancouver and other Canadian cities.
The composer has begun work on his next album, which will be in the tradition of neo-realism: a sophisticated opus in the style of neo-classical and modern classics.
“I have recorded many orchestral albums in the past. I love this notion of exquisite piano. I like it there. This musical style is what I have been doing since the beginning of my career. I like how it looks on stage. There is also synchronicity with what we have experienced in society since the pandemic. What is important and what is less important,” he said.
On November 22, the pianist-composer released the video “Motherland”. A tribute to his country of origin and to his great-grandfather Bacchus who left Lebanon for another life in Canada.
It has been viewed a million times on YouTube.
Wine “Motherland” was even released by the oldest vineyard in Lebanon, Domaine des Tourelles, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of this Middle Eastern country.
“This clip is my biggest career achievement in terms of production. This is a movie. It’s cinematic, like the big video productions of the 80’s, I’m very proud of it. I did it with the Prague Symphony Orchestra and the best musicians in Lebanon. Badri Mujais, a Lebanese-Canadian director, is one of the best directors in the Middle East,” he said.