Brasil Guitar Duo
a 2006 winner of the Concert Artists Guild International Competition, and hailed by Classical Guitar magazine for its "maturity of musicianship and technical virtuosity," is equally at home on a classical or a world-music series. Its innovative programming features a seamless blend of traditional and Brazilian works, resulting in a full global touring schedule and a growing catalogue of critically acclaimed recordings. The Duo has appeared internationally on major concert series and at festivals in Cuba, Germany, England, South Korea, Colombia, Brazil, Austria, Panama, Poland, and Bermuda. Recent and upcoming U.S. engagements include recitals in such major venues as New York, Santa Barbara, Miami, Houston, Dallas/Fort Worth, St. Louis, Tucson, Portland, Nashville, San Jose, and Oakland.
Committed to performing new chamber music employing the guitar, the Duo joined cellists Yo-Yo Ma and Carlos Prieto in the October 2014 world premiere of El arco y la lira, a work for two cellos and two guitars by the esteemed Cuban composer Leo Brouwer. On the same program—a highlight of the sixth annual Festival Leo Brouwer in Havana—the Duo gave the Cuban premiere of Brouwer’s Sonata de Los Viajeros, which they had presented in its U.S. premiere the previous month and recorded for a Naxos CD of Brouwer’s complete works for two guitars, scheduled for release in 2015.
Eager advocates for both traditional and new concerti for two guitars and orchestra, the Duo premiered a Concerto for Two Guitars and Orchestra by Brazilian composer Paulo Bellinati with the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra in June 2012,, under the direction of Giancarlo Guerrero, and gave the work its U.S. premiere in April 2013. Recent concerto engagements include concerts with the Dallas and Houston symphony orchestras, Ohio's Dayton Philharmonic and Lancaster Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas in New York City, and the Heartland Festival Orchestra in Peoria, Illinois.
The Duo's first CD, in 2007, was Bom Partido, a CAG Records release featuring all Brazilian repertoire that prompted Steve Marsh to write in Classical Guitar, "The maturity of musicianship and technical virtuosity displayed on this debut recording by João Luiz and Douglas Lora is simply outstanding...The original compositions by Douglas Lora comfortably stand alongside the ‘big names' on the rest of the programme and are well crafted and very appealing new works." Two critically acclaimed CDs on the Naxos label, released in 2008 and 2009, contain the complete works for two guitars by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. The Duo has also won praise for its most recent CD, released on the Avie label: a collaboration with flutist Marina Piccinini that features all of J.S. Bach's sonatas for flute and harpsichord, as arranged by the Duo for flute and two guitars.
Brasil Guitar Duo actively strives to expand the repertoire for two guitars, with Lora contributing works of his own and Luiz arranging both classical and Brazilian music. Appearing frequently in diverse non-traditional spaces, the Duo brings a broad repertoire of classical guitar duos (Bach, Sor, Scarlatti, Debussy, etc.) combined with such traditional Brazilian dance forms as choro, samba, maxixe, and baião.
Duo members João Luiz and Douglas Lora met in São Paulo as teenage guitar students and have been performing together for more than fifteen years. The Duo's primary studies were with Henrique Pinto, Fabio Zanon, Paulo Martelli, Sergio Abreu, and Alice Artz. Douglas Lora earned his Master's degree at the University of Miami as a student of Dr. Rene Gonzalez. João Luiz received his Master’s degree from Mannes College the New School for Music under Michael Newman, and with sponsorship from the Augustine Guitar Scholarship Fund he received a Doctoral degree at Manhattan School of Music as a student of David Leisner. He is head of the guitar department at the State University of New York-Purchase, and also teaches guitar at New Jersey City University.