Evangelos & Liza: Classical Guitar Duo Plays Vivaldi

By Jim Weaver

“Well I like Vivaldi, but who is this? And then I thought Bob Harris once told us how difficult it is to bring up guitar volume in a 5 person bluegrass ensemble. What about one with a piano, 10 concert violins, two cellos and a double bass? Don’t think they quite succeeded here but you be the judge. Still very nice.”

Thanks Jim Weaver, you seem to find some of the most awesome vids! And btw, thanks for mentioning me in your write-up. Speaking of writeups, here’s one about the video that covers it all:

“The superb concerts of Evangelos Assimakopoulos and his wife Liza Zoe in Europe, United States and Canada, have made them one of the most highly regarded duo guitarists in the world today.
Not only have the two Greek musicians been acclaimed by many newspapers of repute, including the New York times, Daily Telegraph, Paris Matin, Chicago Sun and Los Angeles Times, but they also earned the esteem of the great Andrés Segovia himself, who wrote of them: “Since Fate cruelly deprived us of Presti-Lagoya, I no longer had the pleasure of listening to any similar duo. But lately, when the talented Greek guitarists Evangelos and Liza played for me, I felt complete satisfaction and enjoyment. I cordially wish Evangelos and Liza to conquer the high esteem of the public as they have conquered mine!”
They both began their studies of the guitar in 1953 at the National Conservatory of Athens under Dimitris Fampas. After receiving first prizes “with excellence” upon graduating, they shared the first two prizes in the International Competition in Naples, Italy. For four consecutive periods they were awarded scholarships to study with the Presti-Lagoya duo in France and with Andrés Segovia in Spain. Shortly after, they became professors at the National Conservatory in Athens.
Since their arrival on the international scene in 1967, Evangelos and Liza have carried out extensive tours all over the world and given hundreds of recitals at some of the most famous concert halls, including Carnegie Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Conzertgebauw, Wigmore Hall, La Theatre de la Ville and Lincoln Center. They have also performed for many radio and television stations (the BBC, Paris RTVF, Brussels, Madrid, Cologne, Berlin etc.) and taken part in major festivals in, among other places, New York, Boston, Antwerp, Rome, Amsterdam and Mexico. They usually appear as duo soloists with well known symphony orchestras such as those of Montreal, Michigan, Cincinnati and Birmingham, as well as teaching seminars and holding Master-classes at universities and academies overseas including The Juilliard School, The Royal Academy of Music, The Royal College of Music, UCLA, Stony Brook University and Mannes College of Music.
Both Greek and foreign composers have written pieces especially for Evangelos and Liza (T. Antoniou, D. Dragatakis, J. Morel, P. Koukos, V. Tenidis, J. Duarte, M. Castelnuovo-Tedesco, D. Sykias, N. Tatsis, M. Travlos, F. Hand, G. Kouroupos, K. Tzortzinakis, D. Fampas, P. Jouvin etc.); at the same time the two musicians have enriched a rather meager guitar duo repertoire with transcriptions and arrangements for their own (J. S. Bach, G. F. Handel, F. Couperin, I.Albéniz, E. Granados, M. de Falla, P.A. Soler, J. Dowland, J. P. Rameau, P. I. Tchaikovsky, F. Schubert, A. Vivaldi, D. Scarlatti, M. Corelli, F. Chopin, etc).
They have produced several records (Philips, EMI Classics, Legend Classics) and CDs of works for one or two guitars that are available everywhere.
The breath of their repertoire, their technical skill and rich interpretations, have earned an enthusiastic reception wherever they have performed, resulting to their wholehearted acceptance by the public as one of the “most exciting husband-and-wife virtuoso duos of today’s musicdom.”  source

Whew, that’s a lot to read..!

One thing I will point out- this piece is written for 2 mandolins… (as the title suggests) but I think it sounds very nice on the guitars, even though they have difficulty cutting through the rest of the instruments…



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