Described by CBC Radio as “a truly original interpretive voice,” pianist Patrick Cashin is becoming known as a distinctive presence on the Canadian music scene. He designs powerful recitals centred around the best of the piano repertoire, and speaks warmly to audiences on and off stage about what makes the music great. Patrick particularly enjoys playing Mozart piano concertos, where he improvises and composes cadenzas in the style of Mozart.
Having grown up in St. John’s, Newfoundland, a small, colourful city where it is common for young musicians to play in various styles, Patrick is able to draw from a wide array of influences. The long list of activities on his resume includes playing double bass for jazz sessions in some of St. John’s seediest bars, touring Eastern Canada as bassist in a rock band, sailing the Pacific Ocean playing ABBA songs in a cruise ship band, playing in pit orchestras for musicals, and short stints as a church organist, percussionist, and bass singer in an award-winning amateur choir.
Patrick won several piano competitions in his early twenties, including the Atlantic Young Artist and Petro-Canada Young Artist Competitions, resulting in some early success playing recital tours and concertos with local orchestras. However, soon after that, his arm stopped working and forced him to slow down and narrow his focus. He left Newfoundland and went to the Glenn Gould School in Toronto to join the studio of Marc Durand, who is probably the best person on earth at teaching holistic and injury-proof piano technique, in addition to being a fountain of insight into sound production, performance psychology, human character and the learning process.
After a couple of years Patrick was injury-free and playing better than ever. He relocated to Université de Montréal where he completed a Master’s and Doctorate in performance, and began integrating his experience as an improviser into his approach to classical repertoire. He wrote his doctoral research paper on improvisation in the Mozart concertos and began introducing his own embellishments and cadenzas into performances, appearing as guest soloist with the Memorial University Orchestra, l’Orchestre philharmonique des musiciens étudiants de Montréal, and in chamber versions of the Mozart concertos with string quartet.
Over the years Patrick has participated in master classes and summer festivals with many brilliant musicians including Ferenc Rados, Robert Levin, John Perry and Leon Fleisher. He has several ongoing chamber music projects including a trio called Spectrolite Ensemble, and works as an accompanist and piano teacher in Montréal, Québec.