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World-class pianist to perform at Hastings Arts Center

Marika Bournaki

Next week, the Hastings Arts Center will host two events around world-class pianist, Mariki Bournaki.

Bournaki is the subject of a documentary, "I am not a Rockstar," directed by Bobbi Jo Hart, that follows her early life as a pianist. HAC will be showing the film on Friday, April 26.

The next day, Bournaki will perform at the HAC.

Bournaki has been playing the piano since she was 5 years old. Her interest was sparked when her father, a violinist, and his piano accompanist would play music at their family home in Montreal, Canada.

"I would just sit there and listen to them play, and then I would play when they were done," Bournaki said.

Bournaki practiced hard and took her music seriously, even as a child. She started taking lessons at The Juilliard School when she was 12 years old. Every weekend, Bournaki would fly back and forth between Montreal and New York to take lessons at the famous school. That is when she caught the eye of documentary maker, Bobbi Jo Hart.

"It is a very unusual thing, but some kids do it. I read about how Carey Price would drive hours and hours to get to practice — I am a Montreal Canadiens fan. But it is still unusual to be flying from Montreal to New York. [Hart] read something about me and that got her interested," Bournaki said.

The documentary, "I am not a Rockstar," follows Bournaki's young life from 12 to 20 years old.

Although she finds it hard to watch it now, Bournaki said that it was like a "talking diary" and that she was just herself through the process of filming for eight years.

"There are great memories to have and it's been a great tool to engage with an audience in a different way," Bournaki said. If people get a chance to see the film before they watch her perform, it's like the audience got to watch her grow up to the point she is at today, Bournaki added.

Bournaki has performed on stages all over the world, and the travelling is her favorite part about being a musician.

Every time they are in a new place, Bournaki and her fiance, Julian Schwarz, who doubles as her accompanying cellist, try to take in as much as they can. Hastings will be no exception, Bournaki said.

Most important to Bournaki, however, is getting to share an art that she is passionate about with many different people from all over.

"It's work, of course, but it is also so much more. It's sharing this incredible art with people and I get to play the greatest music," Bournaki said.

While in Hastings, Bournaki will give a special performance at Hastings Middle School for the music students of Pinecrest Elementary.

The screening of "I am not a Rockstar" will take place at 7 p.m. Friday, April 26. Admission is free.

The concert will be held 7-9 p.m. Saturday, April 27. General admission is $15 plus tax and students get in for free. Tickets can be bought online at hastingsartscenter.org until April 26.

Both events are being held at the Hastings Arts Center, located at 216 Fourth St. E.

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