Check it out
What: D’Amore Duo, guitar and oboe ensemble
When: 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8
Where: Davis Art Center, 1919 F St.
Tickets: $15 general, $10 students and seniors, $5 for children age 12 and under, www.brownpapertickets.com. Depending on availability, tickets also will be sold at the door beginning one hour before each event
By Liz Phinney
The Davis Art Center’s fourth annual Classical Guitar Ensemble Series kicks off at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, with a performance by guitar and oboe ensemble D’Amore Duo. Featuring guitarist William Feasley and oboist Yeon Jee Sohn, the duo has released three critically acclaimed recordings and performed around the globe to enthusiastic reviews.
Feasley, a student of Andres Segovia, was the first guitarist to receive the Peabody Conservatory’s coveted Artist Diploma and maintains an active international performance schedule. Sohn received degrees in oboe performance from Seoul National University, the Peabody Conservatory and the University of Maryland. She pursues solo, chamber and orchestral performance in both oboe and English horn.
D’Amore Duo was founded in 1991 specifically to investigate the little-known wealth of chamber music for guitar and oboe — an unusual blend of sound, according to Matthew Grasso, who organizes the concert series each year for the Art Center.
“The guitar is a plucked instrument, so when you strike a note it is already ‘decaying,’ ” Grasso said. “But like the human voice, the oboe is a sustaining instrument. To have these different qualities from two different instruments (in a duo) is a beautiful combination.”
The series will continue with performances by Quarteto Nuevo on March 15, Duo SF on April 19 and Trio Seven on May 17. Grasso said he selected each of these groups to allow audiences to hear the guitar in relationship to different instruments or in different configurations.
Quarteto Nuevo, which hails from Los Angeles, is an improvisational world/jazz/chamber ensemble that blends percussion, cello, guitar, saxophone and flute. The result is an unusual style showcasing the musical diversity of its members, including the worlds of north and south Indian, classical, Mexican indigenous, folkloric and jazz music.
The newly formed Duo SF, consisting of Christopher Mallet and Robert Miller, is the first guitar duo to be presented in the annual concert series. Playing traditional six-string classical guitars, the duo aims to bring accessible yet challenging music to audiences. “As musicians, they have a very tight connection,” Grasso said. “They play almost like one instrument.”
Each of the members of Trio Seven plays seven-string guitar, an instrument with exceptional depth and range that extends the group’s performance possibilities into arrangements of piano and orchestral music — almost unheard of in the guitar world.
Grasso said his vision for the annual guitar series has always been to bring a new appreciation of the guitar ensemble to local audiences.
“Most people associate classical guitar with solo performance,” he said. “(The ensemble) is a relatively young aesthetic in the guitar world, and there’s not a lot of literature for it. Most of these groups have to search out composers or arrangers to write for them.”
— Liz Phinney is the communications coordinator for the Davis Art Center. This column is published monthly.