Bernard Duerksen began playing the piano by ear at the age of 5. His early training included studies with Hilda Reimer, followed by instruction from pianists Peter Katin, Jane Coop, Robin Wood, John-Paul Bracey, and composers Peter-Paul Koprowski and Gerhard Wuensch.
He is experienced in solo, chamber and concerto work. Performance highlights include numerous solo recitals at the Vancouver Art Gallery where he played the Preludes of Messiaen, Visions Fugitives by Prokofiev, and Tippett Sonata No.2. In 1991 he was honoured to work with Jean Coulthard in preparation for the world premiere performance of Image Terrestre. She described him as “a splendid pianist,” and the composer and critic David Gordon Duke described the debut as “radiant”. In the mid 1990’s, Mr. Duerksen learned the 32 sonatas of Beethoven, performing many of them, as well as piano concertos 3 and 4.
His six-year collaboration with baritone Glen Harder culminated with an invitation to perform Schubert’s Die Winterreise at the 1993 International Schubert Conference and Festival at the University of Victoria. In 2001 he co-founded, directed and performed in “Simply Piano Recitals”, a series of eight piano recitals with Martin Humphreys. In 2003 and 2004 he played piano duos of Rachmaninov Symphonic Dances, Brahms Haydn Variations, Lutoslawski Paganini Variations. He has made recordings for CBC radio and is also an accomplished organist.
Mr. Duerksen performed on the last 3 seasons of West Coast Chamber Music where he played quintets by Brahms, Dvorak, Schumann and Martinu with members of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra. This season he will play Trios by Beethoven and Schumann at Douglas College and again for West Coast Chamber Music.
He has been actively teaching and adjudicating for 31 years. He has taught music appreciation courses for seniors and given pre-concert lectures for various concert societies. His students are frequent prize winners in festivals. He is a graduate of UBC and holds a MMus degree. He is an avid reader and runner and was recently the hand double for John Lithgow playing Bach in the movie Rise of the Planet of the Apes. He resides in Vancouver.