Les Frères Méduses, guitar duo

Duo Concert

Press Kit


Les Frères Méduses have performed as a duo in the United States and Europe over the last five years, programming improvised music, folk music arrangements, classical music and their own compositions, and have premiered new works by Joseph Williams II and Atanas Ourkouzounov. They have performed at the Guitar Foundation of America Festival, Chicago Guitar Festival, Austin Classical Guitar Society, Texas Chamber Music Festival, String Theory at Hunter Museum, Oberlin Conservatory, Nashville Virtuoso Showcase, and the String Festival. European performances include the Festival de Joué lès Tours, Stavanger Gitarfestival, Théâtre Ducourneau, le Conservatoire de Nantes, and Norges Musikkhøyskole.

“Incontestably, these two musicians are accomplices… they played a varied and rich repertoire to perfection.”

- La Dépêche, France

“Les Frères Méduses blend striking virtuosity with inventive programming, expressive beauty, and engaging humor. Master performers, master teachers, and warm wonderful personalities.”

- Dr. Matthew Hinsley, President, Austin Classical Guitar Society

“Unparalleled charisma, refinement and virtuosity… Les Frères Méduses entranced the audience with an evening of indelible performance.”

- Gloria Chien, artistic director of String Theory at the Hunter Museum, Chattanooga, TN


Folk Music

The core of the Les Frères Méduses’ duo program is Balkan Folk Music represented by composers Dusan Bogdanovich, Atanas Ourkouzounov and Goran Ivanovich. Soundboard magazine writes:

“The duo sounds as if they have lived this style since infancy.”

Classical Repertoire

In 2013, the duo premiered “Memoria”, a two-movement work by ACGS composer-in-residence Joseph V. Williams II. The work was commissioned by the Austin Classical Guitar Society and draws inspiration from Hungarian Gypsy Music.

“Les Frères Méduses sounded like one guitarist, seamlessly alternating lines and phrases with only the occasional glance to facilitate their communication. The second movement, Fantasy, featured a more active texture and an insistent bassline that pushed the work forward to its conclusion, resulting in a standing ovation from the crowd.”

- Andrew Sigler, New Music Box

Composition

Soundboard magazine writes that Avers’ and Alberts’ compositions are a “very effective” addition to the duo program.

These pieces include Albert’s “L’ego Land” and “3 Caprices”, and Avers’ “12 Silly Songs for 12 Silly Strings” and “Prelude to Mekanisk.”

Improvisation

Les Frères Méduses have performed structured and free improvisations hundreds of times in concert, either as a stand-alone work (“Noise”) or as a prelude to written work.

“They’re program also features four improvisations which exemplifies the diversity that this duo has to offer and not only proves that they are superb musicians, but that they also share a deep connection with each other and their music.”

- Brad Conroy, Guitar International

Film Music

“THE UNKNOWN”

  • live music performed to Tod Browning’s classic silent film “the Unknown (1927)”
  • LFM score including music by Ravel, Granados and DeFalla
  • violin and 2 guitars
  • duration: 50 minutes

 

Press Kit

Rider


Wonderfully bizarre, the 1927 silent film “The Unknown” stars Lon Chaney as an armless knife thrower for the circus and a young Joan Crawford as his love object.  Les Frères Méduses composed a new score for the film and perform it live alongside guest violinist Will Fedkenheuer (North American territory) and Katherine Gowers (European territory).

It premiered to a sold-out audience of 500 at the Laguna Gloria in Austin,Texas and was nomination for best Chamber Music Performance of 2013* by the Austin Critics Table Awards Committee.

The Unknown score was co-commissioned in 2012 by the Austin Classical Guitar Society and the Alamo Draft House. Duration: 50 minutes.

“the event proved to be a clever and refreshing diversion from the usual classical music concert.” **

“Guitarists Randall Avers and Benoît Albert perfectly captured the twisted (but now retro-funny) drama of director Tod Browning’s rather demented tale, blending in the gypsy jazz sounds, references to the classical guitar repertoire, a few flamenco stylings and plenty of neo-Impressionist mood.” **

* the Austin Chronicle
** At the Premiere – Jeanne Claire van Ryzin – Austin 360

Violin

The Unknown is performed with Will Fedkenheuer in North America, and Katharine Gowers in Europe.

William Fedkenheuer, violinist

William Fedkenheuer

Violinist of the Internationally acclaimed Miró Quartet and winner of the Lincoln Center Martin E. Segal Award, William Fedkenheuer has distinguished himself as a versatile artist with international performances as soloist, chamber, and orchestral musician.

William’s touring in the United States has included performances at The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall Presents, San Francisco Performances, and the National Gallery. Abroad, he has performed at the American Academy in Rome, Fountainbleu, Spoleto Festival of Two Worlds, the Taipei National University of the Arts, and in Austria at the famed Esterhazy Castle for the Haydn Festival in Eisenstadt.

Currently on the faculty at the Butler School of Music at the University of Texas-Austin, William has garnered praise for his ‘virtuosic and deft versatility, sauntering easily through the Django Reinhardt-like jazz riffs and bringing intensity to the complex solos that accompanied some of the film’s most psychologically-charged scenes’ (Austin 360).

 

Katherine Gowers, violinist

Katharine Gowers

Katharine Gowers has performed throughout Britain and abroad, in recital and as a chamber musician, collaborating with such artists as Alfred Brendel, Imogen Cooper, Steven Isserlis, Pekka Kuusisto, Christian Tetzlaff, Denes Varjon and Lars Vogt. She has appeared at the Schubertiade Schwarzenberg, at the Aldeburgh Proms and at the Edinburgh, Cheltenham, Salzburg, Bath, Lucerne, Heimbach, Plush, Spoleto and Resonances festivals.

Her concerto appearances have included performances with the Royal Philharmonic, Bournemouth Symphony and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic orchestras, and with the BBC Big Band and the Chicago Jazz Ensemble. Katharine has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and across many other European networks, and has recorded for EMI Classics and Somm.

Children Concert

“Mekanisk”

Two guitars, scenography and film

  • live music and short films by Georges Méliès
  • adaptive score with original works and improvisation
  • original scenographic concept by Pierre-Michaël FAURE
  • duration: 15′ – 38′

 

Press Kit

Rider


Les Frères Méduses take a train ride through the surreal and ground-breaking landscape of George Méliès, filmmaker and special effects pioneer. This journey churns through a selection of truly eccentric films culminating in a daring expedition to the sun. The musicians blend composition, improvised music and movement together with Méliès fantastic images and create a production without words.

The scenographic MEKANISK was commissioned in 2012 by the Akershus fylkeskommune and presented on a 6-week tour in elementary schools throughout Bærum, Norway. It was designed by Pierre-Michaël Faure and produced by Johannes Nome.

Program length: 15′ – 38′

Les Frères Méduses

“One of the most imaginative and exciting classical guitar duos performing today.”

– Guitar International

The collaboration between Benoît Albert and Randall Avers began at the Paris Conservatory in 1999. They were awarded 1ère prix for Chamber Music at the Conservatory performing music by Piazzolla, Rodrigo, Gautier and premiering a new work by Atanas Ourkouzounov. The duo disbanded and then reformed in 2008 under the pseudonym “Les Frères Méduses” programming folk music arrangements, classical repertoire, free improvisation and their own works.

They have performed at the Guitar Foundation of America Festival, Chicago Guitar Festival, Laguna Gloria, Austin Classical Guitar Society, Texas Chamber Music Festival, String Theory at Hunter Museum, Oberlin Conservatory, Nashville Virtuoso Showcase, and the String Festival. European performances include the Festival de Joué lès Tours, Stavanger Gitarfestival, Théâtre Doucourneau, le Conservatoire de Nantes, le Conservatoire de Narbonne and Norges Musikkhøyskole.

Recently, Les Frères Méduses were given two separate commissions to write and perform cinema-concert scores: the Unknown (2012), and Mekanisk (2013). The film scoring projects resulted in collaborations between them and Pierre Michël Faure (scenic designer/modern dancer), William Fedkenheuer (violin), and Katherine Gowers (violin).



“Innovation, beauty and virtuosity… these are Benoît Albert’s legacy to an evolving musical culture.”

– Minor 7th

Benoît Albert grew up in the Charente, a rural town in the Southwest region of France. He began studying the classical guitar age 14 drawing inspiration from pop music, progressive rock and classical music.  His formal education began at the Conservatoire de Bordeaux and continued at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris where he graduated with top honors. Albert has performed in Europe, Venezuela, the US, and Malaysia.

Albert has produced eight recordings, four of which are comprised entirely of his own solo and chamber music compositions. He has co-created productions involving modern dance (PM4 project), paintings (Paul Storey), and chamber music (les Frères Méduses and la Compagnie des Arts). Using a modal musical language, Albert composes with a broad rhythmical spectrum influenced by popular music from Eastern Europe and North/South America along with French Impressionism and electronic music.  His works for solo and chamber music are published and available through Clear Note Publications.

Benoît Albert is professor of guitar at the Conservatoire d’Agen.
www.benoitalbert.com

Randall Avers grew up in Massillon, Ohio and began playing classical guitar under the tutelage of Michael Vahila and Stephen Aron. He began his formal education at the University of Akron age 12, and received degrees from the Oberlin Conservatory (BM), the Paris Conservatory CNSMDP (1ère prix, Diplome), the University of Arizona (MM), Norges Musikkhøyskole in Norway. Avers has won prizes at the Guitar Foundation of America International Guitar Competition, Yamaha France and René Bartoli and was selected by the United States International Service (USIS) to tour North Africa and Egypt as an American Cultural Ambassador.

Avers has released four recordings, three solo (Vistas, Puerto Viejo, Man in the Moon) and one with the guitar duo Les Frères Méduses (Modern Guitar Duets). In 2010, he received an Artists Stipend from the Norwegian Government and embarked on a two year research project that focused on the compositional and improvisational style of ECM recording artist Ralph Towner. “The Man on the Moon” was created in direct connection with Mr. Towner, and deemed a “landmark recording” by Minor 7th.

Avers compositional output ranges from film scores to short pedagogical pieces for solo guitar. He received commissions from the Akerhus Fylkeskommune and the Austin Classical Guitar Society and cowrote works with Rami Vamos (12 Silly Songs for 12 Silly Strings) and Benoit Albert (Mekanisk, the Unknown). His recordings and compositions are available through Clear Note Publications.

Randall Avers instructs guitar at the Nord-Jarlsberg Kulturskole in Norway.

www.randallavers.com

Les Frères Méduses interviews and press links

 

Soundboard

Guitar International

Acoustic Corner

Schedule

2014, March 21

10th annual Guitar Festival at Loyola Marymount
Ensemble Clinic

2014, March 22

10th annual Guitar Festival at Loyola Marymount
Concert

2014, April 21-26

String Festival and Outreach

2014, September 12-20

The “Unknown” Texas tour (Austin, Houston, Dallas).
Sponsored by the Alamo Draft House and the Austin Classical Guitar Society.
Special guest: Will Fedkenheuer of the Miro String Quarte.

2014, October-November

Mekanisk Tour (V), Norway

2015, March

LFM with the Canton Symphony – “Mekanisk” and “Unknown” film scores by Avers and Albert arranged for 2 guitars and full orchestra.

2015, March

4th Annual String Festival in Massillon, Ohio

Publications

Discography

Press Kit

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Duo Concert

Film Music

Children’s Concert

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