Albeniz, Bach, Desmond (Take Five) and more
Photos: John Ferro Sims
Signals from Space
Together with their vast panoply of equipment,the famous percussionists " O Duo" gave an outstanding and exhilarating performance on Friday 4th. April to a large and enthusiastic audience.
Largely based around two marimbas but with numerous other members of the percussion family such as drums,glockenspiel etc. the effect which they produce is remarkable for its subtleties of dynamics and expression and provide a fascinating insight into the unusual interpretation of well known music.
Their programme was quite extensive,covering everything from J.S.Bach Preludes,through Chopin`s famous "Black Keys" study to more modern composers such as Prokofiev and Philip Glass together with several of their own very atmospheric pieces-- two instances being "Searching" and "Signals from Space".Of special enjoyment early on, was a charming arrangement of the Albeniz "Suite Espanola" which admirably captured the feeling and spirit of the original.
Oliver Cox and Owen Gunnell, the O Duo partnership, are certainly dynamic musicians who invest their performance with a great deal of humour and vibrant panache, and certainly bring something different and highly entertaining to the concert world. We will look forward eagerly to their next visit !
Owen Gunnell and Oliver Cox
Described by The Daily Telegraph as ‘brimming with style and panache’, alongside international performances, in recent years O Duo have won a Special Commissioning Award from the Borletti-Buitoni Trust and been appointed Artistic Directors of the Children’s Classic Concerts series in Scotland revealing their artistic quality, passion for commissioning new repertoire and dedication to education work.
Renowned for their ‘phenomenal artistry’ (The Daily Telegraph), O Duo have performed across the world. Highlights include appearing twice at the BBC Proms, at the Last Night of the Proms in Hyde Park and most recently to give the premiere of Wilful Chants by Stephen Montague with the BBC Symphony Chorus, recitals at the Wigmore Hall, Cheltenham and City of London Festivals. O Duo gave the premiere of Stephen McNeff’s Concert O-Duo at the Barbican as part of BBC Symphony Orchestra’s 80th birthday concert, and have performed an eclectic repertoire including Bartók’s Sonata with Artur Pizzarro and Vita Panomariovaite, and music by Moondog (the iconic American composer) at the Barbican.
Concert appearances further afield include performances at the Al Bustan, Harare and Mexico City Festivals and in Paris, Madrid, Lucerne, Zug, and Seinajoki, and tours to Germany and Bulgaria. Orchestral performances include concerto appearances with the BBC Philharmonic, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, London Philharmonic and Philharmonia Orchestras.
Oliver and Owen were both scholars at the Royal College of Music and they formed O Duo in 2000. Graduating with First Class Honours in 2003 they immediately took up the first Junior Fellowship to be given to a percussion duo at the RCM. Twice winning Best Music Act of the Fringe at the Edinburgh Festival, O Duo joined the Young Concert Artists Trust (YCAT) in 2005.
O Duo released their first CD on the Sony BMG label in 2007 to critical acclaim, including being featured as CD of the week in The Daily Telegraph. Making a great impact on the UK music scene, O Duo have broadcast with BBC Radio 2 and 3, Classic FM, and recorded with the BBC Symphony Chorus. Furthermore, as outstanding communicators, O Duo have worked at Abbey Road and Sony studios on television and film scores and broadcast on Channel 4 and BBC Television.
Oliver and Owen take a keen interest in education work. They have given workshops and concerts in schools and special needs centres throughout the UK, and led creative education projects involving composition and performance with the London Sinfonietta, Philharmonia Orchestra and Sinfonia ViVA. O Duo have given children’s concerts throughout Scotland including at the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow and Queen’s Hall Edinburgh with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Orchestra of Scottish Opera and special guests.
Duo’s repertoire, spans more than 300 years and is an invigorating mix of popular classics and accessible contemporary music played on two marimbas, vibraphone and a huge array of percussion. They continue to be passionate about commissioning new works and expanding the percussion duo repertoire.
Highlights of the 2012/13 season include performances of the world premiere of Fraser Trainer’s new percussion concerto firstly with Sinfonia ViVA and then with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and recording a second CD.