Profile of the Week – Duo Melis
I had the pleasure of watching Duo Melis perform in Vienna back in 2005 and I was absolutely stunned. As you will see in the video below, they have an intensity that makes them very engaging to watch. Virtuosic skills, impeccable ensemble and warm personalities make this duo worth going out of your way to see!
The Spanish Susana Prieto and the Greek Alexis Muzurakis made their debut as the Guitar Duo Melis in 1999 at the International Guitar Festival of Volos (Greece). Since then they have performed in such prestigious halls as the Philharmonie in Berlin, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow, the Megaron in Athens and the Merkin Concert Hall in New York. They have been invited to play concerts and give master classes in international guitar festivals in Europe and America.
Susana, from Spain, and Alexis, from Greece, have won numerous prizes, both individually and together. In 1999, as a duo, they won first prize at the International Guitar Duo Competition of Frechen (Germany). The next year they won the prestigious Guitar Duo Competition of Montelimar (France) as well as the 21st International Guitar Duo Competition “Mauro Giuliani” (Italy). In 2001 they captured the Duo/Ensemble prize at the Chamber Music Competition of Leipzig (Germany) and the same year were the winners at the International Guitar Duo Competition of Paris (France). In 2003 they recorded their first CD after winning the recording prize “Citta di Verona” at the International Chamber Music Competition “Gaetano Zinetti” (Italy). In 2005 they successfully auditioned for the Yehudi Menuhin Society Live Music Now.
The Guitar Duo Melis has collaborated with international orchestras like the Berliner Symphoniker, the Neubrandenburger Philharmonie, the Bayerische Kammerphilharmonie, the Radio Orchestra of Bucharest and the National Orchestra of Thessaloniki conducted by Leo Brouwer. Their wide repertoire spans from the baroque music to the music of A. Piazzolla or A. Ginastera, and also includes concertos for two guitars and orchestra by Rodrigo, Castelnuovo-Tedesco and Vivaldi and the newly composed concerto of Marek Pasieczny dedicated to Duo Melis.
Their venues in the USA include the Guitar Foundation of America’s Annual Convention, and recitals in Chicago, St. Louis, Austin, Scranton, College Station, Houston, Brownsville, and Detroit. They have appeared twice for both OMNI Concerts in San Francisco and the Cleveland Classical Guitar Weekend. They were featured artists at the Bethlehem Guitar Festival in Pennsylvania. In Europe they have presented recitals in Italy, Greece, Germany, Poland, Russia, Spain, Rumania, Holland, Check Republic, Austria, Norway, Sweden and France. Following their performance at the GFA Convention in 2008, Mark Switzer wrote in Soundboard:
“The performance of Duo Melis was one of my favorites of the conference; their playing was technically superb, musically convincing, and demonstrated fantastic ensemble”.
Susana and Alexis have studied in Spain and Greece respectively. After that, they have made postgraduate studies as duo and as solo at the Koninklijk Conservatorium in The Hague (Holland), at the High Conservatory “Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy” in Leipzig (Germany) and at the High Conservatory “Hanns Eisler” in Berlin (Germany).
Since 2006 Alexis and Susana have taught at the Conservatoire National de Strasbourg in France.