The Portland Guitar Duo formed in 1999. Its members, James Manuele and Foti Lycouridis, share a mutual enthusiasm for the medium and have performed in numerous venues throughout the United States as a duo team, as soloists with chamber ensembles and in appearances on radio and television stations. Their repertoire covers the Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic and 20th Century periods, with a selection of pieces ranging from classic guitar duet favorites to some unique literature for lute and guitar and 2 ‘prepared’ guitars. The duo performs Classical and Romantic literature on original, authentic guitars from the 1800s that have been restored to playing condition. Additionally, they seek to bring new music for 2 guitars to the stage with their own transcriptions and with commissions of new works from two Oregon composers, Matt Doran and Rebecca Oswald. Their concert programs showcase their refined touch and dynamic energy as well as their interpretative abilities.
Born in Downey California in 1965, James began playing the guitar at age eleven. At age fifteen he auditioned and ultimately studied with Celin Romero. Shortly thereafter, he performed in several master classes for Pepe Romero, George Sakelariou, Bartolomeo Diaz, Benjamin Verdery and John Duarte. He earned his Bachelor of Music degree at Mansfield University under Pablo Cohen, where he also studied voice and viola as well as receiving the SAI/Schmits award for best performance in 1996. Later, he earned his Masters of Music in Guitar Performance at Portland State University under composer/guitarist Bryan Johanson. James is an active guitar instructor and taught at the Creative and Performing Arts, San Diego, Beacock’s Music Education Center, Vancouver, Washington Urban Music Center, Portland, Oregon, and presently teaches at both Clark College Vancouver, and at Concordia in Portland Oregon. James has created two instructional DVD’s on Classical Guitarist Jeffrey Ashton’s, New Guitar Method, and his own beginning method, “Basic Guitar Method 1 Tid Bits.” As a soloist and an ensemble performer, James has performed in concert series, music festivals, and concertos with local orchestras through out the United States, Green Valley Recreation Center, AZ, Portland State University ThinkMusic ThinkLincoln Series, OR, Broderick Gallery, OR, Arts Equity Theatre, WA, Portland Classic Guitar, OR, The North West Conference, WA, Narberth String Summer Camp, PA, Oregon Chamber Players, Hilton Hotel, NY City, and with members of the Vancouver Symphony, performing works by Vivaldi, and Savas Zannas.
Foti Lycouridis was born in Egypt of Greek parents. In 1981, he started his music education at the University of Portland. He holds a Batchelor of Music in Guitar Performance and a Master of Music in Music Theory. He has studied guitar with Evangelos Assimakopoulos in Greece and with Jeff Ashton during his studies in Portland. He also performs on 19th c. guitar, 10-string guitar and Baroque lute. He has performed in master classes for Adam Holzman, Scott Tenant, Robert Barto and Pat OÕBrien. He has studied music analysis and composition with Tomas Svoboda, whose music became the topic of his MasterÕs thesis research. He has transcribed music of Cimarosa, Mozart, Chopin, Purcell, Mompou, Jimenez, Hadjidakis, Stravinsky, Ravel and Cage for guitar duo, trio and quartet. Foti performs also with Hideki Yamaya in the Geminus Guitar Duo wich specializes in music of the 19th c. on period instruments and duos with 10-string guitars.