SoloDuo Returns to Oberlin
The celebrated Italian guitar duo, SoloDuo (Matteo Mela and Lorenzo Micheli) were back in Oberlin recently for a concert and a master class with Oberlin guitar majors. As usual, their concert was both musically exquisite and technically jaw-dropping. Their program included works of Scarlatti, Debussy, Piazzolla and Beethoven. The Beethoven arrangement, of the Sonata Pathétique, was sublime. In their master class with Oberlin guitar majors, they taught a wide range of styles and instruments. Here are a few shots from the visit. Their program follows.
The master class began with a performance by Aidan Wiley Lippke and Craig Slagh of the Prelude and Fugue in E by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. Having played the work for decades, and recorded it, our guests had plenty of thoughts on how to make it flow more effectively. As usual, they tag-team-taught the duo.
Eliza Balmuth played the Caprice in A by Luigi Legnani. It was assigned to her originally by Matteo, when she was living and studying with him in Switzerland, the year before, so it was great to get his input. Plus, it IS Italian music…
Julia Bodian and Mohit Dubey played Sergio Assad’s Jobiniana No. 1. Once again the SoloDuo’s deep understanding of how to make high-level guitar duo material work came into play as the lesson unfolded.
I had seen Lorenzo play the theory before, so knew ir would be a great opportunity for Collin Sterne, whose recent secondary emphasis on theorbo had led not only to much continuo playing, but also the the preparation of some solo music on the instrument. He played a Passacaglia by Kapsberger. Lorenzo was happy to try out the instrument (owned by the Conservatory), and demonstrate some musical and interpretive idea for Collin.
Finally, Aidan Wiley Lippke played the Variations on a Theme of Scriabin by Tansman, a piece Lorenzo had recorded. It was a terrific lesson and an inspiring master class, as always.
One of the most frequently-asked-back guest artists in our long list of Oberlin guests, SoloDuo once again left us all inspired and got us thinking already: when should we have them back next?!
Thanks Lorenzo and Matteo!!
Matteo Mela & Lorenzo Micheli, Guitars
Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757)
Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992)
II. Andante rubato, melanconico
Claude Debussy (1862-1918)
III. Clair de lune
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
Sonate pathétique op. 13
I. Grave - Allegro molto e con brio
II. Adagio cantabile
III. Rondò. Allegro
As SoloDuo, Matteo Mela and Lorenzo Micheli have performed throughout Europe, Asia, the USA, Canada and Latin America, and have been acclaimed everywhere – from New York’s Carnegie Hall to Seoul’s Sejong Chamber Hall, from Kiev’s Hall of Columns to Vienna’s Konzerthaus – as one of the best ensembles ever heard. About one of their performances, “The Washington Post” wrote: “The duo’s playing was nothing less than rapturous – profound and unforgettable musicianship of the highest order.”
In addition to classic, romantic and modern repertoire, Matteo and Lorenzo – joined by lutenist Massimo Lonardi – have extensively explored Italian music from the XVII and XVIII century on early instruments. Together, Matteo and Lorenzo have recorded François de Fossa’s Three Quartets, op. 19, a CD of 17th Century Italian music for baroque guitar, archlute and theorbo (“La Suave Melodia” ), a selection of Arias and Cantatas by Alessandro Scarlatti (“Clori, ninfa e amante”), an anthology of 20th Century masterpieces for two guitars (“Solaria”), the Duos Concertants op. 31 by Antoine De Lhoyer, a collection of 19th Century pieces for two guitars (“Noesis”), the Sonatas of Ferdinand Rebay, the 24 Preludes and Fugues by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, and the album “Metamorphoses”, as well as a dozen solo recordings on the labels Naxos, Brilliant, Contrastes, Kookaburra, Mel Bay, and Stradivarius. Their latest recording features a selection of Beethoven’s Sonatas. They are in charge of a collection of music for two guitars (“SoloDuo Collection”) for the Canadian publisher Les Productions d’Oz.
Matteo resides in Geneva, Switzerland, where he teaches at the Conservatoire Populaire. Lorenzo lives in Milan, Italy; he is the guitar professor and Head of the Graduate Studies at the University School of Music in Lugano, Switzerland. They are Artists in Residence at the University of Colorado Boulder and Columbus State University in Columbus, GA. Matteo and Lorenzo use D’Addario strings.