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Pontiac Enchanté is a year-round series of (mostly!) classical chamber music concerts. All of our concerts happen at the Venturing Hills Concert Studio, a refurbished hayloft on the second floor of a horse barn, located at Venturing Hills Farm in Luskville, Quebec. Luskville is only a 30 minute drive from central Ottawa, but when you arrive you could not feel further removed from the bustle of city life. Venturing Hills Farm is nestled right up against the imposing cliffs of the Eardley Escarpment, which is also the border of the Gatineau Park. As you walk from your car into the barn, you might encounter one of the 35 horses that live on the property going out for its daily ride, or if you look up, you may see a majestic hawk circling around the cliffs of the escarpment. When you enter the Concert Studio, collecting a glass of wine with your ticket, you can choose to sit right up front, no more than 5 feet from the performers, or take in a wider-angle view from our small balcony, which is still only 40-odd feet from the stage area. Our concerts feature world-class musicians, living and working in Canada, the United States, and further afield. After the concert, our performers are always happy to chat with the audience. You're also welcome to spend some time taking in the visual artwork that is displayed on various surfaces around the venue: every concert, we feature work by a different local artist. As you drive away from Luskville on Highway 148, make sure you enjoy the magnificent view of the Ottawa River winding away from you, and the silhouette of the Gatineau Hills in the distance. In short, this is not your standard concert experience. We believe that good music is best enjoyed in an intimate, relaxed venue, and that close connection to the natural world provided by our rural location only heightens the experience of being 'transported away' from the stresses and worries of daily life that makes listening to live music so special in the first place.
Raised in the Gatineau Hills, pianist Carson Becke has performed extensively in Canada, Great Britain, Continental Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and the Caribbean. A versatile musician, he is at home as a recital and concerto soloist, chamber musician, and vocal collaborator. After moving to the United Kingdom in 2005 to study at the Purcell School, Carson completed his undergraduate studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he worked with Tatiana Sarkissova. Following studies in London, he completed a master’s (M.Phil.) degree in performance and musicology at the University of Oxford, supported generously by the Sylva Gelber Music Foundation of Canada.
CO-Director: Carson Becke
He completed his doctorate (D.Phil.) in musicology at Magdalen College, University of Oxford, about Richard Strauss. He is grateful for the support of the Canadian Centennial Scholarship Foundation towards his doctoral studies. Alongside his research on Strauss, he is working on a multi-album recording project featuring Strauss’s piano, chamber, and art song repertoire. The first two of these albums are available on iTunes and Spotify (an album of lieder with mezzo soprano Wallis Giunta, and a solo piano album). After living in the UK for 14 years, Carson has recently moved home to Ottawa, where he continues to work as a freelance performer, is on staff at the University of Ottawa as an accompanist and vocal coach, and directs Pontiac Enchanté. Read more about Carson on his website.
Tait Becke resides in Luskville, and works as a professional tennis coach at the Ottawa Athletic Club (OAC). After completing a bachelor degree in violin performance at the Royal Academy of Music in London, England, he worked as an arts administrator for two years at the Royal Over Seas League, an arts and travel club in London. Upon returning to Canada in 2016, he began training as a tennis player and coach, and within a few years completed his Tennis Canada Coach Level 1 certification. In addition to his regular coaching duties at the OAC, he runs the club’s summer tennis programs. He has been co-director of Pontiac Enchanté since 2017.
CO-Director: TAIT Becke
With space to seat a maximum of 120 people, Venturing Hills Concert Studio is an ideal space to both play and listen to chamber music. It was originally the hayloft of the horse barn, but when a new hay facility was built, the space was left vacant, and was transformed into a concert venue in 2008. All of the wood used for the walls was supplied by Log's End, an Ottawa-based company that specializes in retrieving “lost” timber from the heyday of 19th-century Ottawa Valley logging operations from the bottom of the Ottawa River. While the loft was repurposed, the horse barn below was not: it is still home to 30 horses, and their neighing and stamping can sometimes be heard during our concerts.