“Music is about pain and happiness” says Foti from the stage and I have to agree with him. The Music PGD performs live is beautiful, intimate, mournful and elegantly executed. The pair dig deeper than one might expect a 19th century group to go. They play music that they have personally researched and arranged specifically for their unique instruments. “Since we are using period instruments we are trying to bring the audience back to that time so they can hear what it would truly be like if they were in a salon listening to that music. The delicate tone quality of these instruments cannot be duplicated on the modern guitars; this is a unique experience for the audience”. Indeed after their recent concert at the Walters Cultural Arts Center, audience members commented that they felt transported to a “castle back in time” and the combination of PGD and our converted stone church sanctuary were a “perfect match”.
I was personally impressed with the pieces by Cimarosa and Mompou that were transcribed for 10 and 6 string guitars. The lower range of the 10-string allowed for a close rendition to the original piano scores and gave a wider palette of expression to these pieces. I now hunger for recordings of these pieces, so I can once again hear the pain and happiness of this forgotten music.
Should you ever have the opportunity to see or book a concert with PGD, take it. You will not be disappointed. James and Foti are masters of their music and their performances are of the highest quality.
Carl Annala – Program Supervisor
Walters Cultural Arts Center
This past April, Wofford College’s Troubadour Series was pleased to host the Portland Guitar Duo. As the host of the Troubadour Series, I have had extensive experience with classical guitarists over the last eleven seasons, and I am writing to sing the praises of these two artists. It was a pleasure to work with them from start to finish – from initial contact via phone and the internet, to post program good-byes. In all areas of professional compartment, they are stellar; but I particularly enjoyed them as unique artists. They shared with our college audiencea wealth of music that the duo both loved, had prepared to perfection and was readily communicated to a diverse audience. There was no pretention of distance between them and us: it was one lovely evening of music and magic. Obviously, I heartily recommend these two guitarists, knowing that they will present memorable programs in whatever venue they play.
Dr. Jhon C. Akers – Director of the Troubadour Series Wofford College
The Portland Guitar Duo brought their unique blend of music for two classical guitars to St. George’s sanctuary on April 15th. The concert covered a broad repertoire of musicfrom the 16th through the 20th centuries, including several transcriptions of works for other instruments. The duo performed several selections from the Romantic Period on restored 19th century guitars, and offered background information on the music and the instruments. Their playing was technically precise and sensitive, particularly in St. George’s warm acoustic. The combination of low lighting and the duo’s intimate sound was truly moving. Audience members shared with me after the concert that they found the experience to be transformative. Beautiful music in a beautiful space …
John H. Vreeland – Director of Music Ministries St. George’s Episcopal Church. Fredericksburg – VA
We were very pleased to have PGD perform at the Corvallis-Benton Library. James and Foti were good to work with, they were prompt and professional. The information PGD presented between pieces was interesting and appropriate to our audience, and James and Foti conveyed great enthusiasm and knowledge about their subject. The music was beautiful, professionally presented and very well received by our audience. As part of the program, the musicians took questions from the audience and answered them in an engaging manner. After the program, they were very approachable, answered questions individually and even let interested people play some of their instruments. It was an excellent program, and I would recommend PGD to other public libraries.
Corvallis – Benton Public Library
The Portland Guitar Duo is a rare performance duo. Playing contemporary and period instruments, the performers range over many composers and guitar styles, including transcriptions for guitar from other instruments. The virtuoso playing of Foti and James stimulates as it soothes. Their music is complex but also warm and inviting. Their recent appearance at St. Stephen’s in Portland was a delight to all of us.
The Rev. Kenneth Arnold
St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Portland.
Marvelous, melodious music with a mix of informative comments on 19th century instruments and music. There were a number of people from Eastern Oregon University in the audience last night and I received numerous positive responses about how wonderful the concert was. The PGD guys are very professional and the program was superlative. Everyone really enjoyed it. One of our largest audiences ever. PGD had them clamoring for more. Highly recommended.
Terri Washburn – Director
La Grande Public Library
The Portland Guitar Duo performed at the Milwaukie Ledding Library as part of the Friends of the Library First Saturday music series. The program was educational and entertaining and was very well received by our audience. The performers were very gracious and answered the many questions from the audience after the program.
Carol M. Kay – President
Friends of Ledding Library
PGD’s music was fabulous. The group’s interaction during the break and after the show was most enjoyable. We went home feeling blessed they came to our church to perform. I would highly recommend PDG to anyone.
The Rev. Dale McQueen – Rector
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Aberdeen
I just had to write and tell you how much we enjoyed your performance in Tillamook. I’ve never heard anything more beautiful. Your wonderful performance clearly represented many, many hours of devoted work and preparation.
On April 22, 2003 I witnessed an outstanding performance of the Portland Guitar Duo at Concordia University. It was insightful, unique and very enjoyable for all in attendance and I am hopeful that they will consider a repeat engagement at our university. I was deeply impressed with their professional abilities and highly recommend them for any artistic engagements for which they may be considered.
Kurt Berentsen – Music Department Chair
Concordia University – Portland
I am writing to recommend the Portland Guitar Duo to you. It has been my privilege to host performances by Foti and James at our Northwest Portland location on several occasions, and they were enthusiastically received by the audience every time. They have always presented lively, accomplished, beautiful and interesting programs, drawn a good crowd and were rewarded with accolades from everyone in attendance. We would not hesitate to welcome them back to our stage, and hope that they have many opportunities to display their artistry and enthusiasm for music to audiences throughout the Northwest.
Michael Parsons – Manager Classical Millennium
The Tillamook County Library recently had the Portland Guitar Duo for a program at our Library. The music was amazing! We had 100 attending and we had more compliments than any program the Library has presented! People are complimenting us on such a fun cultural event! Everyone has asked to have the Duo back for another program.
Sara Charlton – Director Tillamook County Library
The Nancy Carson Library in North Augusta, SC was privileged to host the Portland Guitar Duo on April 12, 2011. The program was excellent. The promo materials sent beforehand gave us a small taste of what was to come but everyone agreed the performance still exceeded expec- tation. We found the performers to be not only excellent musicians but also very knowledgeable about their art. They were also just great people as well. We are very glad we were able to host them and hope to again some time in the future.
Barbara Walker – Manager Nancy Carson Library
It was a pleasure to have James Manuele and Foti Lycouridis of the Portland Guitar Duo visit South Carolina and the Anderson County Library. Close to 100 people attended their Sunday afternoon performance and they were not disappointed. Several spoke afterward of the beauty of the program and the expertise of the performers. More than one person commented “They are pure musicians”. Both James and Foti are wonderful to work with. We hope to have them back on their next visit South
Marybeth Evans – Community Services Coordinator Anderson County Library
My husband and I came out to your North Augusta SC performance and were enthralled with your music. Thank you so much for such a brilliant hour od breathtaking music
James Manuele and Foti Lycouridis of the Portland Guitar Duo are more than merely excellent classical guitarists. They are passionate advocates of their instrument
Paul Hyde – The Greenville News