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Katona Twins, Guitar Duo

Biography

Critically acclaimed by the Daily Telegraph as “the classical world’s best known guitar duo,” The Katona Twins have given recitals in the major concert venues throughout the world including performances at Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Konzerthaus in Vienna, the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in Moscow, the Suntory Hall in Tokyo and the Philharmonie in Berlin.  As soloists in the "Night of the Proms" they performed live to half a million people in arenas across Europe. They have played with renowned musicians such as Yo-Yo Ma and ensembles such as the BBC Concert Orchestra and the London Sinfonietta. The duo’s wide repertoire spans Bach and Mozart to Piazzolla’s Tangos, to their arrangements of pop classics, with their performances effortlessly defying genres. Their repertoire also includes concertos for two guitars and orchestra by Rodrigo, Vivaldi, Piazzolla, Tedesco and Michael Berkeley. 

The Duo has made ten commercial recordings, including music by Scarlatti, Handel, Bach, Mozart, Vivaldi, Rodrigo, Albéniz, Piazzolla and Manuel de Falla. Their Rodrigo Album was Editor’s Choice in Gramophone Magazine.Their discs have been featured by radio stations in Europe and the USA.  

Their recording of Manuel de Falla’s Ritual Fire Dance has recently been used in the US blockbuster TV series Fargo and their other arrangements in the broadway show The River. The duo performs regularly on radio, including BBC Radio 2’s Friday Night is Music Night. 

The twins have won numerous international prizes at major competitions including the New York Concert Artists Guild, YCAT in London and the Park Lane Group, and others in Germany, France and Hungary. They were the first guitarists ever to win the prestigious Borletti-Buitoni prize.

The Katona Twins studied in Budapest, Frankfurt and at the Royal Academy of Music in London, with teachers including Julian Bream and John Williams.  The twins were born in Hungary but have since become both UK and German citizens. They regularly give masterclasses in guitar festivals and do educational work with younger children. Peter currently teaches at the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin and at the Musikhochschule in Frankfurt.

www.katonatwins.com

Photo credits: Melissa Rachel Kavanagh, Peter Goodbody

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Discography

De Falla: Works

Rodrigo: Concierto Madrigal for Two Guitars and Orchestra

Astor Piazzolla - Le Grand Tango

Vivaldi & Weiss: Concertos and Sonatas

Guitar Freaks

Guitar Duo

Bach Transcriptions

Scarlatti & Handel

Programmes

Some of the most celebrated film music composers of our time, including John Williams and Henry Mancini, were taught by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco – one of the most prolific composers for the classical guitar in the 20th century. Hollywood & Swing is a combination of well known and popular film music themes and more serious but little-known works by Castelnuovo-Tedesco. This Tinseltown-inspired concert programme is rounded off with music by Django Reinhardt, the king of gypsy jazz whose compositions often enliven Hollywood films, and melodies from Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story, which won ten Academy Awards.

M. Castelnuovo-Tedesco – 2 Preludes and Fugues 
Henry Mancini Pink Panther Theme Tune
Ennio Morricone – Themes from Once Upon a Time in the West
Astor Piazzolla – Introduccion - Otoño - Porteño 
Stanley Myers – Cavatina (The Deer Hunter
Los Lobos – Desperado 'Canción del Mariachi'
Django Reinhardt – Nuages
Django Reinhradt – Minor Swing
Peter Katona – Smerdyakov 
John Williams – Theme fom Schindler's List
Ramin DjawadiGame of Thrones (Main Theme)
Leonard Bernstein – selection of songs from West Side Story

Exciting rhythms and sensual melodies characterise the music of both Spain and Argentina, as if brought together by the heat of the sun. Besides history and language, common musical roots connect these two magnificent cities situated over 6,000 miles apart. Madrid – Buenos Aires includes works by Piazzolla, Granados, Manuel de Falla, Albeniz and Tarrega.

I. Albéniz (arr. Katona) – El Puerto
I. Albéniz (arr. Katona) – Mallorca
I. Albéniz (arr. Katona) – Asturias
Enrique Granados – Oriental (Spanish Dance. No. 2)
Astor Piazzolla – Tango Suite
Astor Piazzolla – Introduccion - Otoño - Porteño 
F. Tarrega / Peter Katona – The Tarrega Duets
Manuel de Falla – El amor brujo (excerpts)

This programme is the result of the Katona Twins settling in Liverpool – a city recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as the ‘World Capital of Pop’. Alongside Bach and the Beatles, works by Béla Bartók, Leonard Bernstein and some compositions by the Katona Twins make this programme a very unique offering.

J.S. Bach (arr. Katona Twins) – French Suite Nr. 5 (BWV 816) 
Bélá Bartók (arr. Katona Twins) – Romanian Folk Dances
Peter Katona – Meditation and Passacaglia
Peter Katona – Brothers Karamazov
Django Reinhardt – Nuages
Django Reinhradt – Minor Swing
Peter Katona – Smerdyakov 
Leonard Bernstein – selection of songs from West Side Story
The Beatles – selection of songs

Contrasts is a selection of brilliant compositions by Bach, Handel, Mozart, de Falla and Piazzolla, skilfully arranged by the Katona Twins for two guitars. Bach’s thoughtful figures juxtaposed with Mozart’s playfulness and Piazzolla’s gritty tango rhythms, rounded off with Handel’s majestic variations, make this diverse programme a highly enjoyable experience for any music lover.

J.S. Bach (arr. Katona Twins) – French Suite Nr. 5 (BWV 816) 
W.A. Mozart (arr. Katona Twins) – Overture to La Clemenza di Tito
I. Albéniz (arr. Katona) – El Puerto
I. Albéniz (arr. Katona) – Mallorca
I. Albéniz (arr. Katona) – Asturias
Astor Piazzolla – Tango Suite
G.F. Handel (arr. Katona Twins) – Chaconne in G major, HWV 435
Manuel de Falla – El amor brujo (excerpts)

As on a harpsichord, the sound on the guitar is produced by plucking the strings. The similarity in the quality of the sound makes appropriate the arrangement of baroque pieces for a guitar duo, particularly given the added dynamic depth of the instrument. Masters of the Baroque includes works by Vivaldi, Bach, Handel and Scarlatti.

all baroque works have been arranged by the Katona Twins
J.S. Bach – French Suite Nr. 5 (BWV 816) 
A. Vivaldi – Trio Sonata in C major (RV 82)
G.F. Handel – Chaconne in G major, HWV 435
A. Vivaldi – Trio Sonata in B minor (RV 85, originally in G minor)
J.S. Bach – English Suite no. 3 (BWV 808)
D. Scarlatti – Sonata in C minor
Katona Twins – Scarlatti's Metamorphosis

Reviews

Virtuosos who play with an almost eerie unanimity of style and considerable charm.

The New Yorker

Precise, brilliant and nevertheless intimate.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Peter and Zoltan Katona have an extraordinary singularity of musical vision and effortlessness of technique.

Gramophone Magazine

The brilliant Katona Twins … their performances could hardly be bettered for charm, zest, wit and colouristic flair.

The Telegraph

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