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Posted: Thursday Mar 15, 2012

February 21, 2012

Duo Orfeo, comprised of guitarists Joseph Ricker and Jamie Balmer, will be the seventh presentation in the Saint Vincent College Concert Series stage at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 17 in the Robert S. Carey Student Center Performing Arts Center.

Duo Orfeo’s program will be entitled: La Música Callada, la Soledad Sonora: Music Exploring Silence and the Night, and feature John Cage’s “In a landscape;” works from Valentin Silvestrov’s “Silent Songs, Part One;” Erik Satie’s “Gnossienne No. 3” and “Gymnopédies 1,3;” Arvo Pärt’s “Fratres” and “Spiegel im Spiegel;” and Federico Mompou’s Música Callada, Book 1. Mr. Ricker has arranged all of the music for two guitars.

Deeply enamored with the sonority of their chosen instruments and relentlessly searching out the music most in harmony with their expressive sensibilities, Duo Orfeo brings to life a world of sound that is intimate, charming, subtle and haunting.

They embrace a repertoire of compositions largely from hidden and forgotten byways of western musical tradition both past and present, a body of music that includes works written for the ensemble of guitar duo and many of their own boldly innovative arrangements, or re-creations of works written for other instruments. Approaching this rare and diverse music using both traditional classical guitars and their unique electric guitar sound, Duo Orfeo creates performances and recordings that composer David Macbride has described as “the embodiment of grace and beauty.”

Joseph Ricker and Jamie Balmer met in 2001 as students of Phillip de Fremery (a pupil of Andrés Segovia and a beloved and admired teacher of the guitar) and, discovering a musical kinship, soon began playing together. In 2005 they recorded their first album, The Grace Sessions, which includes music of Bach, Brahms, Boccherini and Albéniz. After completing their degrees at The Hartt School, Univeristy of Hartford and Hampshire College respectively, they formed Duo Orfeo in 2007. They have since been performing regularly throughout New England and New York City and have been coached in masterclasses by maestros Oscar Ghigilia and Sergio and Odair Assad.

Duo Orfeo has performed at Galapagos Art Space in Brooklyn, Brookline Library Music Association, Trinity Episcopal Church in Hartford, CT, Boston’s Taylor House, and Bates College, as well as in jazz cafés, book shops, farmers’ markets, art galleries, union halls and other venues not traditionally associated with classical music performance. The summer of 2009 saw the release of their second album Duo Orfeo, featuring music of Federico Mompou, Eric Satie, Frédéric Chopin, Radamés Gnattali, and Francesco Da Milano. In April 2011, Duo Orfeo participated in the critically acclaimed “Machines” project, a live performance art collaboration with pianist Oni Buchanan, trombone quartet The Guidonian Hand and kinetic sculptor Arthur Ganson. “Machines” opened in Boston and New York City and featured the world premiere of their arrangements of the music of Arvo Pärt for electric guitar duo.

Admission is $25 and tickets can be ordered online at http://concertseries.stvincent.edu/ or by calling 724 805-2565. They will also be available at the door.

Single tickets, flex passes, group rates and student discounts are also available.

A dinner/concert package, A Classic Evening at Saint Vincent, is offered for $50 with advance reservations.

This performance is supported in part by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

The final concert in the 2011/2012 season will be the Lark Quartet, string quartet, Saturday, April 14.

Further details are available by contacting the Concert Series Box Office, 724 805-2565 or http://concertseries.stvincent.edu/.


Photo: Guitarists Joseph Ricker and Jamie Balmer of Duo Orfeo 


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