Artist Series Concerts wraps up its 2019 Venice season with “Piano Pizzazz Meets Fiddle Finesse,” featuring the dynamic duo of pianist and vocalist Brian Gurl and Sarasota Orchestra violinist Carlann Evans, on March 26, at the Plantation Golf & Country Club, 500 Rockley Boulevard, Venice.
The program will include medleys from “West Side Story” and “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Sweet Georgia Brown,” “And I Love Her,” and a nod to the classics with “Beethoven With a Twist.” The concert is at 11 a.m., followed by luncheon at 12:15 p.m.
Once described as “a combination of Liberace, Vladimir Horowitz and Roger Williams,” Brian Gurl captivates audiences with his imaginative musical arrangements, engaging persona, theatrical energy and contagious joie de vivre. Born and raised in New Hampshire, Gurl began studying classical piano at the age of six. His gift of perfect pitch was discovered by his father one day when Brian asked, “Why is the lawn mower running in the key of G?” By age eight, Gurl was entertaining classmates and friends by playing popular melodies he heard on radio and television by ear. Much to the chagrin of his piano teacher, he also began sneaking in rhythmic and melodic embellishments to his own renditions of Chopin and Beethoven. He studied classical piano throughout high school while continuing to investigate other genres. By age 19, he was making a full-time living as a pianist, while gradually expanding his artistic horizons to include ragtime, jazz, blues, pop, rock, Broadway, Latin and other styles. Later, under the direction of Broadway actress Karen Shepard, Gurl and his wife Joey wrote and created many popular musical comedy reviews while running and operating their own theater in southern Vermont.
Violinist Carlann Evans has been a member of the Sarasota Orchestra since 2002. She was formerly a member of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Tenerife, the Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia and the Orquesta Sinfónica de Gran Canaria in Spain. While in Spain, she also performed with the BBC Scottish Symphony and toured extensively throughout Europe, working with such renowned conductors and artists as Osmo Vanska, Matthais Bamert, Fredericka von Stade and Mstislav Rostropovich. Coming to Florida, she played with the Naples Philharmonic and the Florida Orchestra before landing in Sarasota. Since moving to Sarasota, Evans has built up a large private teaching studio, teaches at Phillippi Shores, Fruitville and Waldorf Schools and performs regularly with the Asolo Repertory Theater.
“Brian Gurl and Carlann Evans are that happy combo of substantial classical training, enormous creativity, a sense of humor and theatrical savvy,” says Joseph Holt, artistic director of Artist Series Concerts. “They’re always entertaining and every song is a new musical adventure.”
Tickets are $48 and are available online at www.ArtistSeriesConcerts.org or by calling 941-306-1202, Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Note: The deadline for ticket purchases is noon March 22.