Spurred by surprise discoveries in their family history, flutist Eugenia Moliner and guitarist Denis Azabagic celebrate centuries-old Spanish-Jewish music with newly commissioned works by Alan Thomas, Joseph V. Williams II, Carlos Rafael Rivera, David Leisner, and Clarice Assad
"If there is a finer flute and guitar duo in the world than Cavatina Duo, I have not heard them. Denis Azabagic and (his wife) flutist Eugenia Moliner are both world class virtuosi and brilliant musical interpreters.â€ â€“ Soundboard
â€œStunning artists...consummate virtuosos not merely in their peerless technique but in sheer musicianship..." â€“ American Record Guide
New works from five international composers inspired by the haunting Sephardic music of the Jews of medieval Spain and Portugal.
When the Cavatina Duo â€“ â€œgenerally considered the best of themâ€ (New Yorker) â€“ learned they each had family with roots in the Sephardic Jewish world of Old Spain, even though Azabagic hails from the former Yugoslavia and Moliner from Spain, their Sephardic journey began. Born from this discovery, the husband and wife duo created an homage to the folk music of the Sephardic Jews, utilizing all new compositions, not arrangements, based on early Sephardic melodies.
Five composers, all of whom are previous collaborators with Cavatina Duo, were commissioned, employing a wide range of compositional approach and musical background, giving the album an eclectic style and emotional immediacy.
â€œWe found ourselves looking for music from our native countries. It had to be Sephardic music,â€ says Eugenia Moliner. â€œIt has been waiting to inspire modern composers and musicians alike. It is here to stay.â€
For the trios and sextets, Cavatina Duo is joined by two members of the Lincoln Trio, cellist David Cunliffe and violinist Desiree Ruhstrat, and The Avalon Quartet.
The duo has compiled a substantial number of recordings on the Spanish and North American labels Opera Tres, Orobroy, Cedille, and Bridge Records, and they consistently champion living composers. Notably, for â€œThe Balkan Projectâ€ (Cedille 2010), Cavatina Duo commissioned new works from nine composers and chose music from the Balkans, reflecting Azabagic's heritage. For their recently released CD â€œCavatina at the Operaâ€ (Bridge 2015), Eugenia and Denis commissioned Alan Thomas to arrange/recompose for their combination some of the most beautiful and best-known fantasies and variations written for flute and ones written for guitar. â€œCavatina at the Operaâ€ was an American Record Guide Criticâ€™s Choice Best of 2015.
About Cavatina Duo
Dedicated soloists and chamber musicians, the Cavatina Duo breaks convention with their combination of instruments and daring choices of varied and versatile repertoire. They have performed in major international venues and festivals such as Raviniaâ€™s Raising Stars series (Chicago), Da Camera Society (Los Angeles), Aix-en-Provence Summer Festival (France), the National Concert Hall of Taipei (Taiwan), National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing (China), National Flute Convention Gala Concert (USA), the Harris Theater (Chicago), Kolkata International Guitar Festival (India), Foundation Principe Felipe and Palau de la Musica (Spain), among many others.
Cavatina Duo has performed with orchestras and string quartets in Europe, USA, India, South Korea and Mexico including the Chicago Sinfonietta, Traverse Symphony, Sarajevo Philharmonic, Daejeon Philharmonic and the Youth Orchestra of Monterrey, Mexico. In 2010 Cavatina Duo gave the world premiere of another work commissioned by them from Alan Thomas, â€œConcerto for Flute, Guitar and Orchestra,â€ with the Camerata Serbica at the Guitar Art Festival in Belgrade.
Eugenia Moliner has been acclaimed as â€œbrilliantâ€ by the British Flute Society Magazine. She has performed with principal musicians from the Chicago Symphony, Rotterdam Philharmonic and Toronto Symphony orchestras as well with many chamber ensembles, including the Chicago Chamber Musicians, Civitas Ensemble, Chinese Fine Arts Musicians. This season she will collaborate with the Aspen String Trio. Denis Azabagic, a prize-winner in twenty-four international competitions, has been described as a â€œvirtuoso with flawless techniqueâ€ by Soundboard Magazine. He has appeared as soloist with orchestras such as the Chicago and Madrid Symphonies, among many others. Azabagic has collaborated with the Chicago Chamber Musicians, the Civitas Ensemble and the Cuarteto Casals. Denis Azabagic and Eugenia Moliner are Artists-Faculty at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. They are also the first guitar and flute duo to be featured on the covers of both Classical Guitar Magazine (UK) and the cover of FluteTalk (USA).
About The Avalon Quartet
"It would be hard to overpraise the polished, adroit, deeply musical and sheerly gorgeous playing of the Avalon String Quartet,â€ said American Record Guide. The Avalon is quartet-in-residence at the Northern Illinois University School of Music, a position formerly held by the Vermeer Quartet. Additional teaching activities have included the Icicle Creek Chamber Music Institute, Interlochen Advanced Quartet Program, Madeline Island Music Camp, and the Britten-Pears School in England, as well as masterclasses at universities and conservatories throughout the United States. Additionally, they have given numerous performances and presentations to young audiences in under-resourced schools and communities.
The Avalon String Quartet's debut CD, Dawn to Dusk, featuring quartets by Ravel and Janacek, was honored with the 2002 Chamber Music America/WQXR Record Award for best chamber music recording. The quartet's live performances and conversations are frequently featured on Chicago fine arts radio station WFMT. They have also been heard on New York's WQXR and WNYC, National Public Radio's Performance Today, Canada's CBC, Australia's ABC, the ARD of Germany, and France Musique.
The Avalon captured the top prize at the ARD Competition in Munich (2000) and First Prize at the Concert Artists Guild Competition in New York (1999). In its early years, the ensemble trained intensively with the Juilliard Quartet at The Juilliard School, the Emerson Quartet at the Hartt School of Music, and the Vermeer Quartet at Northern Illinois University.