Evangelos & Liza
The superb concerts of Evangelos Assimakopoulos and his wife Liza Zoe in Europe, United States and Canada, have made them one of the most highly regarded duo guitarists in the world today.
Not only have the two Greek musicians been acclaimed by many newspapers of repute, including the New York times, Daily Telegraph, Paris Matin, Chicago Sun, El Sol de Mexico and Los Angeles Times, but they also earned the esteem of the great Andrés Segovia himself, who wrote of them: “Since Fate cruelly deprived us of Presti-Lagoya, I no longer had the pleasure of listening to any similar duo. But lately, when the talented Greek guitarists Evangelos and Liza played for me, I felt complete satisfaction and enjoyment. I cordially wish Evangelos and Liza to conquer the high esteem of the public as they have conquered mine!”
They both began their studies of the guitar in 1953 at the National Conservatory of Athens under Dimitris Fampas. After receiving first prizes “with excellence” upon graduating, they shared the first two prizes in the International Competition in Naples, Italy. For four consecutive periods they were awarded scholarships to study with the Presti-Lagoya duo in France and with Andrés Segovia in Spain. Shortly after, they became professors at the National Conservatory in Athens.
Since their arrival on the international scene in 1967, Evangelos and Liza have carried out extensive tours all over the world and given hundreds of recitals at some of the most famous concert halls, including Carnegie Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Concertgebouw, Wigmore Hall, le Théâtre de la Ville, the Lincoln Center and the Herodion. They have also performed for many radio and television stations (the BBC, Paris RTVF, Brussels, Madrid, Cologne, Berlin etc.) and taken part in major festivals in, among other places, New York, Boston, Antwerp, Rome, Amsterdam, Mexico and Athens. They usually appear as duo soloists with well known symphony orchestras such as those of Montreal, Michigan, Cincinnati and Birmingham, as well as teaching seminars and holding Master-classes at universities and academies overseas including The Juilliard School, the Royal Academy of Music, the Royal College of Music, UCLA, Stony Brook University and Mannes College of Music.
Both Greek and foreign composers have written pieces especially for Evangelos and Liza; at the same time the two musicians have enriched a rather meagre guitar duo repertoire with transcriptions and arrangements for their own. They have produced several records and CDs of works for one or two guitars that are available on the EMI Classics label everywhere.
Also in their creative offer is evaluated the International Guitar Festival of Patras, one of the longest-lived institutions in the world, an institution that has been all these years a source of inspiration, encouragement and training for thousands of students of the instrument.
The breadth of their repertoire, their technical skill and rich interpretations, have earned an enthusiastic reception wherever they have performed, resulting to their wholehearted acceptance by the public as one of the “most exciting husband-and-wife virtuoso duos of today’s musicdom.”
Thanks to his musicality and expressive playing, virtuosity, interpretation of guitar music from Renaissance to the music created in the 21st century, Vojin Kocić belongs to the very summit of the international guitar scene. Critics call him ‘Maestro of Gentle Tones’ (SRF, Switzerland).
Born in Smederevo, Republic of Serbia, in 1990, Vojin Kocić had his first guitar lessons at the age of 8, with the Professor Jovica Milošević, and later under Darko Karajić, Srđan Tošić and Anders Miolin.
Vojin was perfecting his playing in 2007, 2010, 2014 and 2015 with the Professor Oscar Ghiglia at “Accademia Chigiana” in Siena, Italy, where he received “Diploma d’Onore” for his artistic achievements, as the only guitarist to receive it in the history of this famous Academy. He also attended the masterclasses with Pepe Romero, Leo Brouwer, Hubert Kappel, Zoran Dukić, Dušan Bogdanović, Carlo Marchione, Paul Galbraith, Pavel Steidl.
Since the dawn of his career, when he was eight years old, Vojin has received over 50 international awards, among which are the first prizes at the prestigious international guitar competitions, special awards, scholarships, grants.
Competition Heinsberg (Germany 2017) he was given an opportunity to record his first CD in Toronto for NAXOS and after the Competition “Michele Pittaluga” in Alessandria, Italy he has recorded a second CD for NAXOS Record Label as well as a concert tour in 2019 including concerts in Tchaikovsky Hall (Moscow), Verbier Festival (Switzerland), St. Petersburg Capella Hall, etc.
Vojin Kocic has held over 200 solo concerts in various European countries such as Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Italy, France, Portugal, Greece, Ukraine, Slovenia, Slovakia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Macedonia, Serbia. As a soloist, he has performed with several orchestras as well as he regularly holds masterclasses for disciples and students at international festivals (Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Serbia etc.).
Pietro Locatto "is unanimously considered one of the most interesting and promising Italian musicians of his generation. His otherworldly interpretative skills quickly launched him in the empyreal sky of the very few Italian guitarists of international relevance". (Lorenzo Micheli)
Pietro Locatto received his music education under the guidance of Stefano Grondona and perfected his skills with Frédéric Zigante, Oscar Ghiglia and Lorenzo Micheli, receiving scholarships and special awards, including five Diploma di Merito from the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena.
During his studies he was a scholar at the Associazione "De Sono" and he stood out by winning several international competitions in different countries, of which we would like to mention the first prize at the "Gianni Bergamo Music Award" in Lugano (in the only edition dedicated to the guitar).
Golden guitar as "young promise" at the Convegno Internazionale di Chitarra di Milano, he performed the Concierto de Aranjuez with the Orchestra Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini in Parma. Invited by the pianist Michele Campanella to perform as the only guitarist at Festival Spinacorona he held solo recitals in international festivals in Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Portugal, England, Croatia, Belgium, and he was recently selected from the Adelaide International Guitar Festival for a tour of concerts in Australia.
His profound interest for Spanish music for guitar from the first half of the '900 brought to a first monographic album based on the work from Federico Moreno Torroba (Stradivarius) and a second album focused on the characters of Llobet, Asencio and Mompou, greatly received by the critics both in Italy and internationally (Rai Radio 3, American Record Guide, Discover Classical, Gendai Guitar, Guitar Classique, Musica, Amadeus…).
His research on Iberian music was expanded thanks to the partnership with the cellist Martina Biondi, with whom he started Duo Evocaciones and a program on the music of Cassadó, Albéniz, Granados and De Falla. Concurrently, invited by the magazine Seicorde, he created an album dedicated to bachian transcriptions from the harpsichord, the lute, and the cello, published for the series "I Maestri della chitarra".
In 2019 he was the only guitarist to win a collaboration with the Teatro Regio of Turin. He has been interested in teaching for many years and he is currently working as a teacher at the Conservatorio di Bergamo, as a visiting professor at the LPMAM of London, besides being invited to hold masterclasses in several Italian festivals and other occasions.
Pietro Locatto plays an instrument built by Luigi Locatto, his father and luthier, inspired by the Enrique Garcia from 1904 played by Francisco Tarrega in his last concert.