The old saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.” We believe it also takes a village to create a classical music recording. From choosing music, commissioning composers to write new works and booking recording time, to production, marketing, and distribution, each album is a major undertaking. Because the royalties on classical music recordings are heartbreakingly small, recording an album is also an investment that takes a community.
We feel deep appreciation for everyone who has supported Duo Sequenza along the way, and we’re excited to share information on our two active fundraisers for our 2021 and 2022 albums in the effort to garner additional support.
Two worthy projects
We’re thrilled to announce our 2022 project, Yes…It’s a Fragile Thing! We’ve invited composers to an exciting collaboration: an album of new music for flute and classical guitar that will showcase a very old and rare flute, a Claude Laurent crystal flute made in 1816.
Laurent crystal flutes inspire more mystique than any other flute. Many flutists dream of owning one; history buffs dream of hearing one played. Many were owned by royalty and people in power, including the Bonapartes and President James Madison. There are just 150 existing Laurent crystal flutes in the world, and two-thirds are in museums. Perhaps as few as four are actively played, so this is a flute very rarely heard.
This is a flute I (Deb) needed to learn how to play, as it’s wildly different from today’s modern keyed flutes. In fact, there are just four keys on the flute. We’ve noticed that our performances with this flute have consistently drawn larger, more diverse audiences. Because of this, we believe this recording project is an important strategy for our audience development mission to recruit new listeners for today’s classical music.
The Call for Scores we issued in January resulted in 32 composers from all over the world throwing their hats in the ring for the opportunity to write new duo music for this historic flute and classical guitar. We’re now in the process of evaluating the proposed ideas to choose who will ultimately be featured in this recording. Those selected will join composer Gary Schocker, also a world-renowned flutist, who wrote Crystal Healing in 2016 specifically for us to celebrate this flute’s 200th year. Gary has composed over 300 works, many of them featuring the flute, and they have been played by musicians and groups all over the world.
Support our 2022 album fundraising to help us make this historic project a reality. You can also find a link to a recording of Schocker’s Crystal Healing to hear what the rare Laurent crystal flute sounds like.
Our fundraiser on our 2021 album is still open for your support as well. Yes…It’s Still a Thing! has been in production during the pandemic. Scheduled for release in late 2021, this recording emphasizes the vast sound palette of textures and colors available to flute and classical guitar in eight world premiere recordings.
Composers Nicole Chamberlain, Andrea Clearfield, Frederic Hand, Kent Holliday, Katherine Hoover, Deirdre Lynds, Gary Schocker, and Harvey Sollberger artfully demonstrate that even the smallest chamber ensemble can pack a big musical punch!
Now that we can see a light at the end of the tunnel for a difficult period in our world, we need music more than ever. Music brings us together, soothes our souls, and helps us express the deep human emotions that transcend words. Consider supporting our current project.
Why your support matters
Supporting our recordings is a powerful way to help bring the works of living composers to today’s audiences. The arts bring great value and vitality to society, beyond the value typically represented by the economics of the market. This has been the case for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. You can see it in history, in the musicians at European courts and in the commissioning of great works of visual art and theater. You can see it in the tradition of government, public, and private support of arts and culture today. As supporters, the friends of Duo Sequenza join a long, honorable tradition of giving to the arts, which lifts us all up.
You can also help us make another, more specific impact. Through commissioning the works of living composers, we expand the repertoire for our instrument pairing. We also bring the vital voices of living composers to audiences in what we’ve often called “wickedly great” repertoire—real music, by real artists, for real people. We would love nothing more than to be able to offer at least an honorarium, if not a full commission fee, to each of the composers who will be writing for the crystal flute album. Several of our candidates are international prize-winning composers with distinguished careers who nevertheless are so enthusiastic about this project that they are willing to compose for it gratis. Commissioners on new works receive prominent acknowledgement on their published piece as its commissioner.
What’s in a name?
The name of our first recording is Yes…It’s a Thing! Released in 2019, it’s an album of world premiere recordings that has received airplay in nearly a dozen foreign countries and is approaching 100,000 streams and downloads. The name comes from an interview in which we were asked, “Is flute and guitar really a thing?” It’s the perfect sassy title for our recordings. Raymond Tuttle of Fanfare magazine says of this album, “..lovely and intimate...strong musicality that makes you forget how technically accomplished Silvert and Bowman are....It's a GOOD thing."
Indiana Arts Commission Recognizes Duo Sequenza with Fifth Consecutive Grant Award Supports flute and guitar duo’s “Project Listen Up!” for South Shore communities
With live concerts on the verge of returning to state stages, the Indiana Arts Commission has awarded classical flute and guitar chamber music ensemble Duo Sequenza an Arts Project Support Grant for the fifth consecutive year. Based in Northwest Indiana, Duo Sequenza is an internationally lauded concert artist chamber ensemble featuring Debra Silvert, flute of Valparaiso, and Paul Bowman, classical guitar, a native of Chesterton.
The grant goes directly to support Duo Sequenza’s “Project Listen Up!”, which brings the ensemble’s artistry to South Shore communities with vibrant performances in non-traditional venues. Performances with themes such as Chamber Music on Tap, Bach's Lunch Hour, New at Noon, Plumbing the Depths, Road Trip, Once Upon a Concert, Musical Curiosities, Le Salon Concert, and the Hair(?!?) Salon Concert are matched to specific unusual community venues to create awareness and stimulate public interest in today's classical music.
“We are honored to receive an Arts Project Support Grant for the fifth consecutive year,” flutist Debra Silvert said. “This support is integral to bringing real music, by real artists, for real people to venues in our home state of Indiana, in the South Shore as well as the rest of the state. It’s especially meaningful as we look forward to our return to live music-making and the incredible connections we can make with our audiences.”
The Indiana Arts Commission's Arts Project Support (APS) grants provide funding to Indiana 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations and public entities for specific arts project and arts activities. The grant program is intended to enhance general public access to quality arts activities, with special attention to underserved communities and to provide support for local or Indiana artists who are a vital part of Indiana’s economy and community life.
“We’re inspired by the purpose of this grant, as it aligns with our purpose as a classical ensemble,” noted guitarist Paul Bowman. “We like to say that as a duo, we perform ‘wickedly great’ music while reaching out to new audiences—and performing here at home on the South Shore is especially significant to us.”
The Arts Project Support Grant will support “Project Listen Up!” performances into 2022.