At 4 years old, after a musical awakening camp, Marion Portelance looked her parents straight in the eye and told them that later she would be a cellist. Now 24, she will be the only Quebec musician to perform at the May 7 concert following the coronation of King Charles III. And it is with the cello of the king himself that she will play!
Broadcast by the BBC, the event will be seen by millions and will be held at Windsor Castle, where Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip are buried, as well as King George VI and Queen Mother Elizabeth.
The monarch’s attention will be particularly on her. Because it is with his own cello that she will perform Somewhere (West Side Story) in an instrumental version within a string quartet. “He’s a William Forster, he sounds really good!” »
“It all still seems a little unreal to me!” “, she says in an interview from London, where she studies at the Royal College of Music.
Marion Portelance is a pure product of the specific programs of Quebec public schools – in music, in this case. She first attended Le Plateau elementary school, then Joseph-François-Perrault school “which made [her] realize how much [she] likes to play in an orchestra”.
“The training I received there gave me a good head start for the rest of my career at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal. »
A few months ago, her London teachers asked her if she was available at the beginning of May, without saying more. “It was in March that I found out it was for the coronation concert. »
She is very aware that Quebecers are not very inclined towards the monarchy. Other artists around the world have also declined the invitation to the same concert. On the poster, no British megastar.
Marion Portelance says on the contrary absolutely honored to be part of the event, which will also take part Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Andrea Bocelli.
Taking part in this concert is also a way for her to express her gratitude to the school she attends, to Charles III himself, who was already its president when he was Prince of Wales – “and who is an ardent defender of the arts” – and to his patrons.
Living and studying in London is very expensive, and she points out receiving a scholarship from the Family of Christopher Hogwood, a late English conductor and harpsichordist. In Quebec, Roger Dubois, Sandra and Alain Bouchard are its patrons.
“Living in London, studying at the Royal College, is beyond my dreams. »
Daughter of Mona Portelance, artist agent, and actor Roger Léger, Marion Portelance says that the trust they have shown her throughout her career has pushed her to work even harder to live up to it.
She has already performed with conductors Rafael Payare, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Alexander Shelley and Vasily Petrenko. In 2022-2023, she is an intern with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, in addition to performing chamber music regularly in Canada, the United States, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
What will be next? Great international soloist?
She will go, she says, wherever she finds a job. “I love Montreal, I would be happy to come back! »