Duo Astralis is an innovative and dynamic duo performing with much acclaim throughout the United States. Formed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with American flutist, Angela Massey, and Armenian pianist, Vahan Sargsyan, the duo unites two cultures behind one art.
Duo Astralis strives to create unique programs centered on a unifying theme found in nature or music. Another focus of the ensemble is to support the development of art through new compositions and bring recognition to the composers that surround us today. The darkness of the night sky is brought to life by the beauty and light of the stars. Duo Astralis, duo of the stars, brings music to life and unites an array of repertoire as the stars are arranged into their own constellations.
Duo Astralis’ debut album, The Elements, was released on November 1, 2014. All of the works selected relate to the classical elements of earth, water, wind, and fire. While the repertoire is unified by this theme, each work is based on its own unique story, poem, or image. Nature is filled with beauty and color, which we see in the flowers that are nourished by the earth’s soil, the reflections of water in a stream, the many moods of the wind, and the warmth of the sun. We are surrounded by these elements and they make up the dynamic world in which we live.
Another focus of the recording project is to support the development of art through new compositions and bring recognition to the composers that surround us today. In preparation for the recording, many of the composers were contacted to discuss their compositions. Available recordings of the works selected are limited, and The Elements serves as the premier recording of Daniel Dorff’s “April Whirlwind.” The goal of this recording is to bring recognition to some lesser known works and make a contribution to the flute world.
The recording includes repertoire by Robert Beaser, Ian Clarke, Jean-Michel Damase, Daniel Dorff, Katherine Hoover, Shulamit Ran, Daniel Schnyder, and Joseph Schwantner. The repertoire varies from the blend of colors used by Joseph Schwantner and Jean-Michel Damase, to variations on a Norwegian chant, text painting on a poem by WB Yeats, extended techniques of East Wind, the uplifting April Whirlwind, a dawn scene in Africa, and rhythmic drive of Daniel Schnyder’s “The Four Elements.”