The celebrated percussion ensemble Owen Gunnell and Oliver Cox will be delighting an audience with an invigorating mix of popular classics and accessible contemporary music at St Mary’s School, Melrose, on October 9, at 7.30pm.
O Duo use two marimbas, a vibraphone and a huge array of percussion in their set. They formed at the Royal College of Music in 2000, and will be giving the Melrose Music Society’s second concert of the season. O Duo’s repertoire spans more than 300 years, and their choice of music ranges from Bach, Chopin, and Prokofiev, through to Albeniz’s fabulous Suite Espagnole, Vittorio Monti’s Czardas and Take 5 by Dave Brubeck.
The bill also features Marimba Spiritual by Minoru Miki, and Mad Rush by Philip Glass, written in honour of the Dalai Lama’s visit to North America, as well as three compositions of their own. Critics have hailed the pair as “brimming with style and panache”, and “startling … cheeky, but enchanting”.
“O Duo has been the toast of recent Edinburgh Festivals, and it is easy to see why,” writes one reviewer. “The style is infectious, and the pair can paper over protracted platform changes with perky patter. But there is phenomenal artistry underneath it all’.
“They are such nifty movers,” adds another critic. “The footwork is as spry as Fred Astaire’s, the choreography as fluent as in any ballet. They dart from instrument to instrument in their arsenal of things to hit and slap, changing places with split-second timing. They have got the visual athleticism of their performances down to a fine art.”
Owen and Oliver have performed at the Proms and given recitals in the Cheltenham and the City of London Festivals. They have appeared with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, in Hallowe’en Concerts and Christmas Concerts with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and with the Orchestra of Scottish Opera at the Royal Concert Hall Glasgow and at the Queen’s Hall Edinburgh for Children’s Classics. Their music has also taken them to Switzerland, Al Bustan in Oman, Harare, Mexico City as well as Paris, Madrid, Zug in Germany and Bulgaria.
“So stylish are O Duo’s performances, so kaleidoscopic the colours and so invigorating the rhythms,” pens another reviewer, “you feel that any of these composers would happily have scored their pieces for percussion if only there had been an ensemble of O Duo’s calibre around to play them.”
Tickets are available at the door of the St Mary’s concert, costing £12, and accompanied children go free.