Cain-Oscar Bergeron concert
When: 4-6:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 26
Where: First Presbyterian Church Fine Art Series Concert, 800 S. Enota Dr. NE, Gainesville
Cost: $15 adults and free for students with ID
More info: 770-532-0136 or 770-530-9248
At 14 years old, Cain-Oscar Bergeron received a handmade stainless steel pipe flute as a gift from his grandfather, because his family could not afford one.
That single gift led Bergeron down a musical path as a teenager in high school and ending with a career as a professional musician.
Bergeron now is a solo flutist and teacher at the Community Music Centers of Atlanta.
Most recently, he was a William R. Kenan Jr. Performing Arts Fellow in music at the Lincoln Center Education in New York City, where Bergeron lived for 1 ½ years. He said the Lincoln Center has been his favorite place to perform, second to churches.
“I’ve always enjoyed performing in churches. I consider myself more of a church musician,” Bergeron said. “I sing for churches, and I love to play with organists.”
Bergeron will have a similar chance in Gainesville. He will present his musical talent Sunday, Feb. 26, at First Presbyterian Church, at 800 S. Enota Dr. NE. The concert is part of the church’s Fine Arts Series.
Solo works to be performed include Poulenc’s Flute Sonata and the flute repertoire, the Concertino in D Major. Also featured will be a newly formed professional flute quartet, playing “Fictions.”
Accompanist for the concert will be Spanish pianist and international prize winner Maria Bengoa Roldan. Roldan made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2015.
Tickets are $15 for adults at the door or free for students with ID.
For more information, call 770-532-0136 or 770-530-9248.
Bergeron will be visiting Gainesville from his home in Atlanta, which is a far cry from his French Cajun hometown of Cottonport, Louisiana. He moved to the bigger Southern city for the opportunities the city provides for classical musicians such as himself.
“I love it here,” he said. “There are so many little neighborhoods in just one city. I often tell people if New York City and New Orleans had a love child, it would definitely be Atlanta.”
But no matter if he performs in front of big or small crowds alike, he still gets nervous before he plays.
“A little bit of nerves are always good,” he said. “I think it makes for a more passionate performance.”
Before his upcoming performance at the church, Bergeron spoke with The Times.
Question: What sparked your interest in playing the flute?
Answer: My family and I went to a Native American reserve in Louisiana, and they had these little flutes made of bamboo. They had six little holes and they were all different sizes and shapes, and I just thought they were so interesting.
Q: Do you ever play the flute to more contemporary genres of music, the way some street performers do?
A: Oh yeah, I teach every day. So if there’s a popular song from the radio, I’ll listen to it and I’ll play it on the flute or the piano for my students.
Actually, speaking of street performers, I remember while I was in New York City — I lived there for a year and a half — I would end up playing on the train a couple of times. It’s a great place to practice. They weren’t fond of musicians playing late at night in apartments in New York, so I’d go to the subway station and practice my scales at night at the A station up in Washington Heights. Not even meaning to play for money but to practice.
Q: What is your favorite part about performing? Do you prefer bigger or smaller crowds?
A: My favorite thing about performing is definitely communicating with the audience through music. It’s interesting to see people react to certain genres of music, as well as to ensemble changes. Sometimes, if it’s a big, big crowd, there’s definitely an element of “I have to play for that many people, you know, exclamation point!” But I’m really fine with either.
Q: What have you found to be the most difficult part about teaching music?
A: The most difficult thing is when you have a student who’s really, really talented, and you have to find creative ways to practice and develop their gift. You have to find a way to make them feel inspired to practice and not forced.