Creative tension is key to success, say Petworth Festival duo

Duo Diez
Duo Diez

There is a simple reason why Duo Diez are called Duo Diez.

Diez is the Spanish word for ten, the combined number of strings on Violetta Barena’s violin and Dimitris Dekavallas’ guitar.

They play the 2019 Petworth Festival with a date in Leconfield Hall on Saturday, August 3 at 12 midday.

Since meeting at the Royal Academy of Music, Violetta and Dimitris have each developed their own careers, but they have also enjoyed the chance to work together as a duo based around a shared interest in Spanish, Ladino and Latin American Music.

Their repertoire is centred around the music of Bach and Mozart, from Schubert to Sarasate and from Piazzolla to Villa-Lobos.

“We got together at the Royal Academy,” Violetta says. “Dimitris was doing his masters, his postgrad and I was still an undergrad. We met and we became friends and we were both doing Live Music Now which is a scheme that plays in hospitals and care homes around the country.

“We met at a concert and we started talking about playing together because both of us really love Spanish music. The repertoire is basically our own arrangements or arrangements that we have sourced, and we have been together now since 2012.”

As Violetta says, they are like an “old married couple” – like, because they are not.

“But it is a bit like that. There is a really good chemistry musically and personally that translates into a good chemistry musically. It is not always easy together, but that friction makes the music side even better.

“We argue a lot as well. We are like a couple, that’s the thing.

“We know each other so well that we are very comfortable together but there are always things that you can’t stand. We have to accept both and work with it, and when we go on stage there is a chemistry that is very alive because of that tension.

“We are doing some festivals here and there. We do a few a year. We are not doing long tours at the moment.

“We did more constant work in the past, but Dimitris now lives in Budapest so we don’t come together that often but when we do come together, the great thing is that we just know what we are doing.”

Individually Violetta and Dimitris are the recipients of numerous prizes and awards and have performed for the Royal Family, The Pope, and the Archbishop of Canterbury at venues such as the Wigmore Hall, The Royal Festival Hall, St David’s Hall, Bolivar Hall, The Forge, the Roundhouse and the Royal Albert Hall. Radio and TV appearances include BBC Radio3, ITV1, ITV2 and BBC1.

They have performed and toured in the UK, Greece, Spain, USA, Belgium, Chile, France, Romania, Italy, Mexico, Oman, Azerbaijan, Austria, United Arab Emirates, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and Australia.

As Violetta says: “We can’t both just do the duo. I freelance in London. I play quite regularly with the London Contemporary Orchestra.

“I have also just recorded a solo CD that will come out in November this year. I recorded it a while ago already, but I still can’t tell you the title of it.”

The album includes some solo Bach. It also includes some solo improvisations.

“It is an album of my voice across the different instruments that I play.”

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