They are coming back! Brazilian-born brothers Sérgio and Odair Assad have set the benchmark for all other guitarists by creating a new standard of guitar innovation, ingenuity and expression. The Assad’s repertoire includes original music composed by Sérgio Assad and his re-workings of folk and jazz music, as well as Latin music of almost every style. Their standard classical repertoire includes transcriptions of the great Baroque keyboard literature of Bach, Rameau and Scarlatti and adaptations of works by such diverse figures as Gershwin, Ginastera and Debussy. Their touring programs are always a compelling blend of styles, periods and cultures.
Their exceptional artistry and uncanny ensemble playing come from both a family rich in Brazilian musical tradition and from studies with the guitar/lutenist Monina Távora (1921-2011), a disciple of Andrés Segovia. In addition to setting new performance standards, the Assads have played a major role in creating and introducing new music for two guitars. Their virtuosity has inspired a wide range of composers to write for them including Astor Piazzolla, Terry Riley, Radamés Gnattali, Marlos Nobre, Nikita Koshkin, Roland Dyens, Jorge Morel, Edino Krieger and Francisco Mignone.
The Assads are prolific recording artists, primarily for the Nonesuch and GHA labels. In 2001, Nonesuch Records released Sérgio and Odair Assad Play Piazzolla, which later won a Latin Grammy. Their seventh Nonesuch recording, released in fall of 2007, is called Jardim Abandonado after a piece by Antonio Carlos Jobim. It was nominated for Best Classical Album, and Sérgio went on to win the Latin Grammy for his composition, “Tahhiyya Li Oussilina.” Sergio’s concerto for his duo, called “Phases,” premiered with the Seattle Symphony in February 2011. In the meantime, he was nominated for yet two more Latin Classical Grammys in the Best Classical Composition Category for his piece for the LA Guitar Quartet and the Delaware Symphony entitled, “Interchange” and for “Maracaipe” for the Beijing Guitar Duo. In the fall of 2011, five of the members of the Assad family: Sergio, Odair, Badi, Clarice and Carolina – joined together for another evening of new and favorite Brazilian works. Their tour included stops in Qatar, Sweden, Germany, The Netherlands (to open the soi-disant “Brazil Festival”) at The Amsterdam Concertgebouw and three concerts in Belgium with a finale at Le Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels.
The Assad Brothers collaboration with cellist Yo-Yo Ma is ongoing. In 2003, the Brazilian record Obrigado Brazil was released featuring Rosa Passos, Egberto Gismonti and Cyro Baptista. Sérgio arranged several of the works on the disc, which captured a Grammy in 2004. In 2009, the brothers were featured on Yo-Yo Ma’s chart-topping release, Songs of Joy & Peace, which features other guest artists as diverse as James Taylor and Dave Brubeck. In the piece “Família” Yo-Yo Ma plays Sérgio’s composition featuring mother Angelina Assad, sister Badi, and children Clarice, Rodrigo and Carolina. The release topped both the classical and the mainstream Billboard charts and won a Grammy for Best Classical Crossover. In April 2012, Sérgio and Odair toured North America with Yo-Yo Ma and pianist Kathryn Stott, in a program of Latin American works as arranged by Sérgio as well as some of Sérgio’s original compositions. And we were fortunate last year to host Sérgio with his daughter Clarice performing music from their 2016 CD Relíquia, an amazing experience for everyone lucky enough to snag a ticket.
Odair is based in Brussels where he teaches at Ecole Supérieure des Arts. Sérgio now resides in Chicago. The brothers return regularly to the University of Arizona in Tucson as visiting artists with support from the D’Addario Family Foundation, again headlining the International Tucson Guitar Festival with two performances at Holsclaw Hall and master classes for advanced guitar students
The Assad master classes will be set in the fall. Please check our calendar for updates.
For ticket information please visit http://tucsonguitarsociety.org/
Biography courtesy of Tucson Guitar Society.