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I went to Alexandra Streliski’s piano concert and got more than a t-shirt

I was finally able to go to the concert of the pianist I had only listened through streaming

"Inscape" album by Alexandra Stréliski, 2018.

I discovered Alexandra’s music by accident, like most things in life nowadays. I was reading Le Devoir’s app and stumbled upon an article talking about the “soundtracks” of our lives.

I’m paraphrasing – but anyways, after reading part of the article I had to google her and after a few clicks I added her then latest album, the one with the astronaut on the cover.

I wasn’t expecting anything really, since I don’t really listen to “classical” music. But I listen mainly to movie soundtracks and stuff like that. So that is why the article caught my attention to begin with.

Anyways, I started listening first to one song here and there, until I finally listened to the entire album one day. And it was such an amazing experience that I absolutely fell in love with her music.

I think I liked it so much that I went and bought the album on iTunes – something I hadn’t done in years! All so that I could listen to it in the highest definition possible… while using AirPods. I know, certified audiophile. 

Last Thursday I attended her live concert at the Wilfred Pelletier theatre, where she performed her newest latest album, Neo-romance, which is absolutely brilliant. And yes, if you are curious, I also bought that one on iTunes.

Pianos from Alexandra Stréliski's concert at Wilfred Pelletier, January 18, 2024

The concert was something that I had been looking forward to for months ever since I bought my ticket. I even stopped listening to her music with the logic that when I finally listened to her again, I could experience it as something new, even though I have listened to it for hours.

I heard the music all around me

So, “How was the concert?” I hear you asking. Well, let me tell you, the concert was amazing. If you live in Montreal like me, you might be used to going to concerts that are outdoors, where everyone comes together and the whole thing feels like a festival full of colours and sunglasses. But this one was different.

First, the place was packed. Which leads me to believe that Alexandra has nerves of steel. Anyone that can stand up in front of a crowd like that and play with the same passion as she did deserves a standing ovation. Which of course she got – The waves of applause were deafening, let me tell you that. But im getting ahead of myself.

Photo from Alexandra’s Instagram profile.

So, at the start of it I felt a bit nervous. I had been hyping myself for so long that I was worried I wasn’t going to be able to enjoy the music.

I think it was an excellent choice for Alexandra to just start playing as soon as she appeared on stage. She, appeared, waved her hand and started playing. She broke the silence that had accumulated all around us.

Photo from Alexandra’s Instagram profile.

I mean, if you watched the movie “Oppenheimer,” you probably understand how it feels to be fully absorbed by music. I’m talking about the scene where the guy that plays Hercule Poirot asks Oppenheimer if he can hear the music.

While I was sitting there in the dark of the auditorium I swear I could hear the music like never before. Louder and more profoundly than my AirPods.

I don’t know how to play the piano, nor how to read or compose music but boy am I glad that there are people like Alexandra that can create songs like that.

At some point during the show she introduced two other musicians, twins in fact. One played the cello (Julia Kotarba) and the other one played the violin (Natalia Kotarba).

After they showed up, everything was intensified. Then, Alexandra switched pianos and continually went back and forth, giving each piece she performed a different vibe.

And then after that some guy just showed up and everybody lost their mind. I of course didn’t know who he was. Until she said his name, and I googled him after the show and it turns out that I am not at all up to date with the musical scene of the world.

I almost forgot, his name is Patrick Watson. “How’s that for a surprise?” Alexandra said.

Photo from Alexandra’s Instagram profile.

I could hear her reasons for making music

Every now and then, after playing a piece or two. Alexandra would pick up a mic and start sharing with the audience what inspired her to compose this new album.

And also, why make music at all.

So it turns out, that like any other artist, she concludes that it is through her music that she can express her emotions. And it makes sense, cause if she could say what she wanted in another way, she would.

And the world would be lesser for it because we wouldn’t have Neo-Romance.

And as for the inspirations behind her newest album, it turns out that it started out of heartbreak and sadness – “when I was in a bad place in life” she said.

But it ended with a new found love, which is why the album is literally called New Love.

With this new album she explores how to represent two extremes of one strand, love and desolation, and play them for all of to hear. And also, so that we can all use her songs as the soundtracks for our lives, where at the end we can find happiness.

It goes without saying that if you can, you should listen to Alexandra’s music live. The recordings on streaming platforms don’t do her justice.



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