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 at venues in New York, Austin, Dallas/Fort Worth, Minneapolis/St. Paul, San Antonio, and St. Louis.
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.
Eager advocates for both traditional and new concerti for two guitars and orchestra, the Duo premiered Brazilian composer Paulo Bellinati’s Concerto Caboclo for two guitars and orchestra 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. In January 2016, the Duo performed Bellinati’s concerto with the Sphinx Symphony Orchestra as part of the Sphinx Organization’s SphinxCon 2015 in Detroit.
In February 2016, Brasil Guitar Duo traveled to Wilmington, Delaware to give the historic U.S. premiere performance of Leo Brouwer’s El libro de los signos for two guitars and orchestra with the Delaware Symphony Orchestra, David Amado conducting. Prior to giving his blessing to the Duo and the Delaware Symphony, Brouwer had denied all performances of this concerto on U.S. soil for political reasons. In addition to the Brouwer concerto, the Duo also joined the Delaware Symphony for a performance of Bellinati’s Concerto Caboclo. The performances of both works were recorded for a 2017 release on the NAXOS label.
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 albums 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 2010 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.
The Duo’s most recent album showcases the complete works for two guitars by Leo Brouwer. The album showcases works by Brouwer spanning a six-decade period, from the composer’s days as a student at the Juilliard School to the present day. The album has received critical acclaim both within the guitar community and beyond, as Jed Distler writes for Classics Today, “Brasil Guitar Duo offers vivacious, sensitive, clear, carefully balanced, and splendidly engineered performances that are technically impeccable and stylistically right on the money. A most enjoyable and stimulating release, and not just for guitar fans.” The album was released in fall 2015 on the NAXOS label.
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 combines a broad repertoire of classical guitar duos (Bach, Sor, Scarlatti, Debussy, etc.) 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 from the University of Miami's Frost School of Music 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 is pursuing 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.
Brasil Guitar Duo appears by arrangement with Sciolino Artist Management.