Internationally acclaimed harpist Yolanda Kondonassis and virtuoso classical guitarist Jason Vieaux join forces to release their first duo recording, Together, which features original works for harp and guitar including Alan Hovhaness’ Spirit of Trees, Xavier Montsalvatge’s Fantasia, Máximo Diego Pujol’s Suite Magica, and two world premiere recordings of works commissioned by the duo: Knock on Wood (2012) by Keith Fitch and Hypnotized (2013) by Gary Schocker. Together is available now on Azica Records by digital download (through iTunes) and on CD on January 27, 2015 at all major retailers. The duo will make its New York debut at the 92Y on February 28, 2015 as part of the Art of the Guitar series.
The disc marks Kondonassis’ 19th album in a Grammy-nominated recording career that has broken boundaries with hundreds of thousands of discs and downloads sold worldwide. It is Vieaux’s 13th recording and follows his most recent album, PLAY, for which he received a 2015 Grammy nomination for "Best Classical Instrumental Solo."
Of Together, Kondonassis says, “A common thread in compositions written for harp and guitar is often a nod to world music cultures – Latin, Asian, Middle Eastern, and everything in between . . . the result is a sonic space unlike most chamber music territories.” Vieaux adds, “Part of what we're doing is attempting to expand the repertoire for guitar and harp because we think the combination of these two instruments is beautiful.”
Since 2012, Kondonassis and Vieaux have performed to critical acclaim from New York to California. The Cleveland Plain Dealer praised the duo's performance as “a joy from top to bottom,” adding that “Kondonassis and Vieaux deserve to be termed magicians for the way they shaped phrases with natural fluidity, grace and, when required, fiery drama.” The Buffalo News raved, “it was difficult to hear where one instrument ends and the other begins – the mystical effect of one great intangible apparent throughout the program: the intuitive synchronicity of Kondonassis and Vieaux.”
About Yolanda Kondonassis
Celebrated as one of the world’s premier solo harpists, Yolanda Kondonassis is widely regarded as today’s most recorded classical harpist. Hailed as “an extraordinary virtuosa” and “sheer luminescence at the harp,” she has performed around the globe as a concerto soloist and in recital, appearing with major orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the English Chamber Orchestra, and the Hong Kong Philharmonic, to name a few. Her most recent recording, Ravel, Intimate Masterpieces, released in 2014, was called “perfect in every way” by American Record Guide. Her 2013 disc, American Harp, uncovers gems by Elliott Carter, John Cage, Lowell Lieberman, John Williams, Norman Dello Joio, Hannah Lash, and Stephen Paulus. Reviews of the disc praise Kondonassis for her “consummate virtuosity and musicianship” (American Record Guide) and call her “an amazing harpist with perfect technique and a pure, limpid tone that consistently seduces the ear” (ClassicsToday). Other recent releases include Solo Harp: The Best of Yolanda Kondonassis, celebrating twenty years of critically acclaimed recordings and her Telarc disc, Air, which received a 2010 Grammy Nomination for “Best Chamber Music Performance.” Long an advocate for her instrument, Kondonassis has commissioned and premiered numerous works, including Bright Sheng’s Concerto for Harp and Orchestra, which she recorded with The San Diego Symphony on the Telarc label, Lauren Keiser’s Morpheus for Harp and String Orchestra, and Donald Erb’s Sonata for Harp. Future projects include a new concerto for harp and orchestra by Jennifer Higdon.
About Jason Vieaux
Jason Vieaux, “among the elite of today's classical guitarists” (Gramophone), is the classical guitarist that goes beyond the classical. His most recent solo album, Play, was nominated for a 2015 Grammy Award for Best Classical Instrumental Solo. In June 2014, NPR named “Zapateado” from the album as one of its “50 Favorite Songs of 2014,” describing Vieaux as “perhaps the most precise and soulful classical guitarist of his generation.” Vieaux has earned a reputation for putting his expressiveness and virtuosity at the service of a remarkably wide range of music, and his schedule of performing, teaching, and recording commitments is distinguished throughout the U.S. and abroad. His solo recitals have been a feature at every major guitar series in North America, as well as many important festivals abroad, and his many artistic collaborations have forged his reputation as a first-rate chamber musician and programmer. Recent and future highlights include returns to the Caramoor Festival, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, New York's 92nd Street Y, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Music@Menlo, Strings Music Festival, Grand Teton, and many others. Vieaux’s passion for new music has fostered premieres of works by Dan Visconti, Eric Sessler, José Luis Merlin, and more. He has performed as concerto soloist with over 50 orchestras, including Cleveland, Houston, Toronto, San Diego, Fort Worth, and Buffalo. He continues to bring important repertoire alive in the recording studio as well, and has released thirteen albums which regularly broadcast around the world. In 2012, the Jason Vieaux School of Classical Guitar was launched with ArtistWorks Inc., an interface that provides online study with Vieaux for guitar students around the world. In 2011, he co-founded the guitar department at The Curtis Institute of Music, and he has taught at the Cleveland Institute of Music since 1997, heading the guitar department since 2001. Vieaux is a member of the Advisory Board of the Guitar Foundation of America. In 1992 he was the youngest ever winner of the prestigious GFA International Guitar Competition First Prize. He is also honored with a Naumburg Foundation top prize and a Salon di Virtuosi Career Grant.
Harpist Yolanda Kondonassis & Guitarist Jason Vieaux: Together
Azica Records | Release date: January 27, 2015
[1-4] Máximo Diego Pujol (b. 1957): Suite mágica
[5-7] Xavier Montsalvatge (1912-2002): Fantasia
[8-12] Gary Schocker (b. 1959): Hypnotized*
[13-17] Alan Hovhaness (1911-2000): Sonata for Harp and Guitar: “Spirit of Trees”
 Keith Fitch (b.1966): Knock on Wood*
* World premiere recordings, commissioned by Yolanda Kondonassis and Jason Vieaux