Review - DUO

About DUO. Interviewed by Allan Pulker, Publisher: Wholenote

Musicians in our Midst

Flutist Margot Rydall first heard guitarist Ivan Zilman play at a concert three years ago. His sound, unlike that of any other guitarists she had worked with, was big enough to balance the sound of a flute. She proposed that they work together and the result has been successful, not only as a performing and recording ensemble, but also as a generator of new repertoire.

Margot, a Toronto native, who studied with the late Nick Fiore and with English flautists William Bennett and Peter Lloyd, is a teacher and examiner with the Royal Conservatory of Music, a position she has held sins the age of 18. Ivan, a native of Montreal, is a graduate of Concordia University, where he studied guitar, voice and composition. He came to Toronto in 1983, and now teaches at the Scarboro Music Centre, composes and produces CDs.

They soon discovered that the repertoire for the combination is small, and much of what is available is not very interesting salon music from the early and mid 19th century. One of their challenges would be to create new repertoire that would be "worth playing and worth listening to". Dismissing the notion that transcriptions are somehow second rate, Ivan pointed out that one of the classics of the orchestral repertoire, "Pictures at an Exhibition" was composed for the piano. The orchestral version which we all know and love was a transcription by Maurice Ravel. Ivan, who in the course of our conversation observed that musicians must constantly re-invent themselves in order to make a living, got busy and re-invented himself as an arranger.

The results of his work, which can be heard on their CD "DUO", released last summer, is music from a wide variety of sources. Ivan's arrangements include music by Frescobaldi, Bartok, Debussy, Billy Strayhorn, John Williams, Richard Rogers and Thelonious Monk. Only two of the pieces were originally written for their instruments, Astor Piazzolla's "Café 1930" and Jacques Ibert's "Entr'acte"

Everybody they talk to has a different favourite track and the radio programmers love it all - it has been played on CBC Radio Two's "Disc Drive", Classical 96, and CJRT-fm to name a few. Ivan and Margot plan to spend time this summer arranging and rehearsing new repertoire for their next CD, which they will be recording next winter. They will be artists in residence this summer at CAMMAC's Cedar Glen Summer Music Centre, just north of Toronto. You can hear them performing together there on July 28 and 29.
July 1 - September 6 1999