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15 Questions to Duo46

img  Tobias

Hi! How are you? Where are you?
It is the best of times ; it is the worst of times. We are currently
based in the 5th largest USA city-Phoenix, Arizona where there are 300 sunny days a year. On the other hand, we are still coping with the sudden death of our commissioned composer and friend, Jorge Liderman. In 2004 & 2007, he wrote us "Aires de Sefarad I & II" two cycles of 46 Songs based on 500 year-old Sephardic melodies.

What’s on your schedule right now?
We are working on several commissioned works for upcoming premieres/recording projects including a new set of 46 songs by Jorge Liderman, two electro-acoustic pieces "Endless War" by John Oliver, and "Virtual Voices" by Karl Korte, a trio with Mandolin by Italian composer Giovanni Albini, as well as an "oldie", L'Histoire du Tango by Astor Piazzolla.

If you hadn’t chosen for music, what do you think you would do right now?

Neither of us can visualize having any other occupation than music. It is our passion; it is our persona. How fortunate we are to do what we love and to get paid for it.

What or who was your biggest influence as an artist?
We both have had so many big influences in our lives, including our parents and teachers, that it is difficult to communicate on this subject. Individuals who encouraged us to persevere in spite of our unusual instrumentation include Henry Meyer from the LaSalle Quartet, Violinist Eugene Gratovich and Guitarist Frank Koonce. They all helped us find our niche, and we are grateful to them for their support.


What’s the hardest part about being a musician and what’s the best?
The hardest part of being a musician, particularly one that is self- managed, is the pressure of having to book our events (concerts/masterclasses/reading sessions/lectures/festival/Double Concertos with Orchestra ) two years in advance. The best part is traveling around the world visiting interesting places and meeting people of other cultures.

What’s your view on the classical music scene at present? Is there a crisis?
Despite many music critics "gloom and doom" forecasts, classical music is "alive and well". It is just changing. For example, while orchestra attendence is down and most orchestras are experiencing financial difficulties in the States, chamber and new music venues continue to expand.

Some feel there is no need to record classical music any more, that it’s all been done before. What do you tell them?
We tell them this statement is not true. There are old and new works to be discovered and re-discovered.

What constitutes a good live performance in your opinion? What’s your approach to performing on stage?
When audience members go away feeling they had a unique, exciting experience--intellectual as well as emotional. Our approach to performing on stage is to bring the audience into our musical world, to make them feel as if they were sitting in our living room, all of us enjoying each other's company.

What does the word “interpretation” mean to you?

Interpretation refers to the way a musician realizes and communicates the intentions of the composer. Since we mostly play music by living composers, especially commissioned composers, there are no recordings to reference. However we have the luxury to work with the composer, asking questions, getting clarifications. We are lucky the music we play does not yet have an expected interpretation, and this allows us the freedom to establish a tradition.

How do you balance the need to to put your personal emotions into the music you play and the intentions of the composer?
Since we specialize in new music, we are able to discuss our thoughts aboutthe music with the composer. And the composer expresses his/her intentions . That give and take process produces balance. Also, we have been lucky to collaborate with great composers who value our opinions in getting the best possible result from the violin and guitar.

True or false: People need to be educated about classical music, before they can really appreciate it.

True and False. If a work is tonal, rythmic and emotional, the individual does not necessarily need to be educated. This type of work can appeal to the heart. On the other hand, if the work is atonal, abstract, and academic, the individual may need to be educated about the work. It is important the listener have some connection to the music in order to appreciate it, and this may take some guidance.

You are given the position of artistic director of a concert hall. What would be on your program for this season?
We would like to see a composition by Jorge Liderman featured on every concert, as a living tribute to his memory.

How would you describe the relationship with your instrument?
Each of us believes that next to each other, our instrument is our 2nd best friend ;-)


Have you ever tried playing a different instrument? If yes, how good were you at it?
We both played the piano as children. Most recently, Matt plays the bow and we both sing! (skills needed for "Enigma", a commissioned work by German composer Michael Quell). Our vocal skills need some work, but Matt's bow control is getting quite good--watch out Beth!!

FM1: Homage to the 50s (1998) Guitar Plus Records
Untaming the Fury (2001) Summit Records
Jorge Lidermann: Aires de Sefarad (2004) Duo46


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