“Tango for Toys” A Concert Benefitting Texas Children’s Hopsital

Duo Scordatura & Friends is happy to present ” Tango for Toys”
This concert is to benefit Texas Children’s hospital in a toy drive designed by Artistic Director, Nicholas Leh Baker

Program includes:

Piazzolla: Tango Etudes for Solo Violin
Piazzolla: le Grande Tango
Tangos for Violin and Bass, Arr. Baker/Steves
Tango Songs from Broadway, vocal; Sarah Welch
Benson: Takes Five to Tango (World Premiere)
Piazzolla: 4 Seasons for violin, viola, bass, & piano
Benson: Toy Tango ( World Premiere)

**** 2 Raffles for tango Lesson with our Special Guest “Friends of Tango”

Concert is April 30th 2011, 7:30pm

St. Andrews Presbyterian Church of Houston

Thank you to our Concert Sponsors:

St.Andrew’s Church
Lisle Violin Shop
Friends Of Tango
Texas Children’s Hopital

Artistic Director, Nicholas Leh Baker was interviewed by the Argentine Tango Club

Composer, Jack Benson Speaks about the 2 commissioned tango works on the “Tango for Toys” Concert

Interview Video with Friends of Tango, special guest on the concert



Duo Scordatura visits Austin, TX

Hello Everyone,

Faith and I are extremely excited about the upcoming performances in Austin, Tx.  This small tour to Austin was designed to colloborate with composer, Alexandra T. Bryant, who we worked with on the “Commissioned Project.” The Duo will be preforming not only Alexandra’s piece for Duo Scordatura, but also a string quartet she wrote for the amazing string quartet, The Aeolus Quartet. I high recommend attending this ensembles preformance, they are  not to be missed!!

In addition to working this Mrs. Bryant on this Austin Tour, we will also be colloborating with the Pew Duo, a Father-Daughter Duo based in austin. Paul Pew, piano and Ellen Pew, cello. We are extremely lucky to have Ellen in Austin who is taken the time to Fly all the way from Seattle, WA to perform with us. Thank you so much Ellen!!!!  Great cellists seemed to be an endangered species. 🙂

The Finale to our Performance is the Famous Antonín Dvořák ( a.k.a Tony D) Piano Quintet, op.81. Faith and I have performed this on many concerts but never together, to say the least we are excited to combine all these Talanted Forces for a  bombastic Finale!!

This Concert will be Broadcasted LIVE on our website!!! Broadcast starts at 6:50pm


Concert Information:

March 12th  7pm
BLackerby Violin Shop Recital Hall
1111 W. Anderson Lane
Austin, TX

concert is Free and donations are Very Very Welcomed!!!


March 11th

Duo Scordatura will also be giving a Masterclass at the acclaimed  McCallum Fine Arts Academy Orchestra Dept.

Commissioned Project Interview Series Launched!

Duo Scordatura is pleased to announce the launching of the Commissioned Project Interview Series! The Interview Series is a collection of short video blogs by the Duo and by the composers whose works will be featured in the “Commissioned” concert January 29th. Enjoy hearing from our Artsistic Director, Nicholas Leh Baker, “Turbine” composer George Heathco and “Fringe” composer Jack Benson! Subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay posted for more videos.

Happy New Year

Hello Friends,

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday &  happy new year. Duo Scordatura is very excited about the very busy 2nd half of the season.  We first begin 2011 with the “Commissioned” concert on January 29th. This concert has been an excited project with 6 contemporary works for violin and viola.  4 of the works on the concert are world premieres, and the others were placed on the programmed just because that are too good not to include.  In the next following two weeks we will placing video blogs of each of the composers who they are,  discussing the challenges and process of composing these works. And 5 of the composers will be at the concert for an interactive talkback.

Duo Scordatura & friends have also been invited by Music Director & pianist, Steven Jones to perform for the hit off broadway musical “ The Last Five Years.”  This wonderful musical will be Thursday, Friday, & Saturday starting January 27th – February 27th. As an added bonus Duo Scordatura will perform a Pre-concert before every show on Friday nights  If you have not seen this musical it is a must. here is an abridged synopsis:

                     The Last Five Years is a one-act musical written by Jason Robert Brown. It premiered in Chicago in 2001 and was then      produced off-Broadway in March 2002. Since then it has had numerous productions both in the United States and internationally. The story explores a five-year relationship between Jamie Wellerstein, a rising novelist, and Cathy Hyatt, a struggling actress. The show uses a form of storytelling in which Cathy’s story is told in reverse chronological order (beginning the show at the end of the marriage), and Jamie’s is told in chronological order (starting just after the couple have first met). The characters do not directly interact except for a wedding song in the middle as their timelines intersect.  The Last Five Years was inspired by Brown’s failed marriage to Theresa O’Neill. O’Neill threatened legal action on the grounds that the story of the musical represented her relationship with Brown too closely, and Brown changed the song “I Could Be in Love With Someone Like You” to “Shiksa Goddess” in order to reduce the similarity between the character Cathy and O’Neill.

 Soon after the closing of the musical, Duo Scordatura & friends have invited composer, Alexandra T.  Bryant as composer in residence for The DSF Austin Tour. Duo Scordatura will be performing a series of concerts which leads us to the capital of Texas.  The program includes: Ms. Bryant’s string quartet, and new work for violin & viola.  Also this program ends with the famous Dvorak piano quintet.  Austin is March 11th-13th.

The most exciting part of Duo Scordatura’s season is “SCORDATURA MUSIC COMPOSERS’ OPEN”  This competition is open to everyone, students, professionals, mothers, fathers, children, toddlers, animals ( except Nora the Cat,) highly skilled percussionist, plumbers, trash men/women, some postal workers, or anyone that would like to write music, and win the amazing Grand prize!!!. ITS A COMPOSERS’ OPEN, SO DIG OUT YOUR WORKS YOU WROTE IN THEORY CLASS AND SUMMIT THEM…HEHE!!!

Finalist Concert and Awards presented April 16th.

Duo Scordatura’s last scheduled concert for the 2010/2011 season is a double concerto performance of the Max Bruch Double Concerto for violin and viola with Conductor,  George Blytas &  the Houston Sinfonietta on  May 15th. Please visit the Houston Sinfonietta’s Website for more details.

Duo Scordatura looks forward seeing everyone at this exciting  events, please join us, post a comment, or email us at scordatura.friends@gmail.com 

All the best & happy new years,

Nicholas Leh Baker

Duo Scordatura joins forces with Apollo Chamber Players

Duo Scordatura will join forces in a collaboration with Apollo Chamber Players on Sunday. This “concert”ed effort program is titled, “A Musical Tasting.”  This idea was created to show the audience a tasting of both Duo Scordatura and Apollo Chamber players. The program includes a sampler of music from different works within the two ensembles repertoire. The highlight of the program is the 1st movement of the Brahm’s string quintet in F major.

This concert is the opening of the Klein Trinity Lutheran Church’s concert series. Concert begins at 4pm and is Free to the public!!

Duo Scordatura Performs at Gremillion & Co. Fine Art, Inc.

Duo Scordatura’s next performance will be at Gremillion & Co. Fine Art. This performance is in collaboration with internationally acclaimed painter Nicola Parente. Nicola Parente will be discussing his new body of work, “Edge of Awakening”.  Nicola Parente and Nicholas Leh Baker (Duo Scordatura’s founder)  discussed the motivic ideas in these new compositions, and how similar the basic elements of painting are to the basic elements within music. This conversation led to having a performance during Mr. Parente’s talk on October 2nd at Gremillion Fine Art.

Duo Scordatura will be also talk about painting and music and how the elements are very similar with both practices.  To do this with great clarity, Nicholas Leh Baker hand-picked a piece for the duo that best fits in the palette while viewing and experiences Nicola’s vibrant works on exhibition. The piece that will serve as a great example for this lecture will be ” Beneath the Magma,” composed by former Duo Scordatura member and current doctorate student at Yale School of Music, Jordan Kuspa.

The Duo will also be performing selections of their new arrangements of the Bartok Duets originally for 2 violins.

Please attend this great event October 2nd, 11:30am at Gremillion Fine Art to view Nicola Parente’s exhibition of “The Edge of Awakening”, meet the artist, and hear Duo Scordatura perform!

For more info on this innovative performance, please RSVP to Harwood Taylor (info on poster).

6th Season Opens this Saturday the 18th @ 6pm

Season opening this September 18th, 6pm @ Dowling Recital Room CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS & INFO

Duo Scordatura is excited to announce this as our official website. So please bookmark us and stayed tuned for our exciting 6th Season. The Season opener is entitled, “Rearranged: Replay”. This program was such a great thematic success; we decided to bring it back with some new twists!

The idea for this program really exists because of the limited repertoire for the ensemble of violin and viola. These two instruments are the two closest in range, color, and timbre in the string consort. This definitely creates a unique challenge for balance and contrast to the composer. But most composers I know really love this challenge. We put this program together by finding material for this program that has been arranged for violin and viola, and by rearranging some music ourselves.

The catalyst for the “Rearranged” concert consists of two Handel-Halvorsen works (the Passacaglia & the lesser-known Sarabande). Throughout the course of music, composers have arranged, transcribed, torn apart, and nearly recomposed others’ music. Shostakovich cycled the same auto-biographical motive all his life, and it is a very effective tune. Mahler rearranged Beethoven’s op.95 string quartet for full orchestra. Brahms wrote the famous Haydn Variations for orchestra. The list goes on and on.  Johan Halvorsen’s Passacaglia clearly sticks out as his most popular work. Both the Passacaglia and the Sarabande are structured from the theme and variation format. The Passacaglia is probably why Halvorsen’s name retains existance in the 21st century; it is the pinnacle of his compositions and has been also rearranged for violin and cello, & violin and bass.

It’s a common practice for groups to arrange a piece for their instrumentation because they love it so much. One active group that does this with such cleverness and grace is the Eroica Trio. ( Check out their CDs–wonderful arrangements for piano trio.) Duo Scordatura  follows this practice in placing two works into their own arrangements–a set of violin and cello duos by Gliere, and a set of violin duos by Bartok.

Also on the program is a selection from the famous Bach suites for cello, arranged for viola. It will be performed by Faith Magdalene Jones.  Duo Scordatura’s founder and violinist will perform selections of de Falla’s Suite Populaire for violin and piano, originally for voice and guitar.

There will be many other twisted and rearranged gestures to this wonderful evening. I hope to see you there for an exciting season opener.

All the best,

Nicholas Leh Baker