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EPK 2020-21

"The Duo Beija-Flor is an incredibly dynamic and creative team. The flutist (Marie-Noëlle Choquette) has a beautifully warm sound which is dynamic and supremely expressive. The guitarist (Charles Hobson) is absolutely fantastic and provides a perfect bed for the flutist to soar on" -Viviana Guzman, The Flute View Magazine, San Francisco
"With each instrument, they change timbres and ornaments, tempi and rhythmical interplay, with harmonies that reach the sounds of rock, all while staying classical. A great discovery from Montreal" -Yves Bernard, Le Devoir, Montreal

Artistic Statement

Duo Beija-Flor is a classical flute and guitar duo that is as multi-layered as their home base of Montreal. Their repertoire, based upon what they call “ethno-classical” music, is full of unique and colourful sonorities that takes listeners on a musical voyage. Much like the nationalistic musical movement that came to life at the end of the 19th century, their repertoire consists of music from composers that have used either traditional dances, stories, or songs in order to create their works. They incorporate many extended and contemporary techniques in their performance giving them a more authentic sound and at the same time a modern twist to their music. With this type of repertoire they seek to increase the understanding of the diverse populations and cultures that make up modern-day Canada through music, anecdotes and outreach performances.

Biography

Inspired by their unique brand of ethno-classical music, Duo Beija-Flor has performed concerts throughout Canada, the United States, Argentina, and Costa Rica. To date, they have released three critically acclaimed albums Costas (2018), Muzica (2013) and Envol (2011) and they have been invited on several TV and radio programs (Radio-Canada, Global TV, CIBL, TVCK, Cogeco TV etc.). Guitarist Charles Hobson and flutist Marie-Noëlle Choquette began performing together while in the midst of their graduate studies at Concordia University in Montreal. In 2009 they officially formed the Duo Beija-Flor. In 2010, the duo was named laureates in the competition "Mon Accès à la Scène" and in 2012, they were recipients of the grant "Fonds de promotion de la GMMQ" from Québec's chapter of the AFM. They have received grants from both the Canadian and Quebec arts councils, including for performances and masterclasses in Vancouver (2016 and 2017) and at the University of Costa Rica in November 2019. In the 2020-21 season they have been selected to tour under the auspicious of Prairie Debut. This tour will see the duo perform for the first time in the Canadian prairies.

In September 2018, Duo Beija-Flor released their third and latest album, Costas with American label, Big Round Records/NAXOS of America. This album, based upon their Latin program of the same name, is comprised of music from the Atlantic coasts of the Latin world. The album has garnered rave reviews from the USA, Canada and England including a 4.5/5 from the Winnipeg Free Press, 4/4 from the Cinemusical (USA) and was the McNally Robinson Booksellers/ Classic 107FM (Manitoba) album of the month in November 2018.

Hailed by San Francisco's Flute Talk magazine as “...an incredibly dynamic and creative team”, the duo arranges several of the works that they perform so as to create a more personal style. In 2015 the duo had the chance to travel to Buenos Aires which saw them work with guitarist Victor Villadangos and tango-flutist Paulina Fain to perfect arrangements of Piazzolla's pieces “Oblivion” and “Escualo”. To further the uniqueness of their programs, they commissioned Canadian composer Roddy Ellias to create a new work based on Cuban jazz. The piece, “Havana Street Parade” premiered at Concordia University in October 2013. Through Prairie Debut and the SOCAN the duo has also been able to commission a new work from composer, Carmen Braden. The piece entitled, "The Culture of Isolation aka No Rehearsal", is based on the isolation of living in the boreal forests of Canada and also reflects the shared feeling of isolation during the early days of the Covid-19 confinement. The piece is set to premier virtually in November 2020 and will be the centre piece of a new program based on the Taiga forest. In addition to their genre pushing programs the duo has created a recital program for larger concert halls that includes the use of décor and stage lights which highlights the duo's search for ways to push the definition of the classical recital.

What the critics are saying!

"...What is particularly striking from the very beginning is the wide variety achieved with respect to style, mood and tempo within a thoughtfully chosen program...."
"....Infectious rhythms and superb playing by both performers...."

Richard Haskell - "The Whole Note Magazine" Toronto

"...crisply executed syncopated rhythms..."
"...a sweet treat for listeners who like their music hot!"
"**** 1/2"

Holly Harris - "The Winnipeg Free Press"

"...The virtuoso mastery of the instruments locked together in an interminable dance of music, the notes of which seem to leap off the page and dally in the rarefied atmosphere of the listening room, or dance and gambol in a mad rush of excitement..."
"...The duo plays the music unwrapping each statuesque melody as if revealing some delightful mystery for the listener to grasp with their ears with great expectation...."

Raul da Gama - "World Music Report" Ottawa

"Lyrical and sophisticated at the same time as it is simple and lively, Duo Beija-Flor's music surprises and energizes and its hint of mischief may well put a bounce in your day" -Richard Dagenais, Montreal Morning News, Global TV

"A nice blend between world and classical music...a truly amicable duo!" - Françoise Davoine, Espace Musique, Radio-Canada

"I love the contrasts and their great rhythmical energy. They are never "static". A well blended ensemble, un véritable duo quoi!" -Guy Vanasse, Former General Director at the Centre Pierre-Péladeau, University of Quebec at Montreal