Violin duo Retorica (Harriet and Philippa)

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About Retorica...

Philippa and Harriet met at the Royal Academy of Music, London and discovered their passion for contemporary music as well as the wealth of rarely heard repertoire for two violins. Since they started performing together they have performed in the Barbican Centre as part of the Park Lane Young Artists Series in the Mostly Mozart Festival, at the Corsham Festival, Jersey Liberation Festival,Bedford Park Festival, West Road Concert Hall in Cambridge, and as part of their involvement in the 2D2N International Festival of Contemporary Music in Odessa, Ukraine, Retorica performed seven new commissions by leading British composers for their project 'Continuous Spectrum - shades of play'. Music has been written and dedicated to the duo by such eminent composers as John McCabe, David Matthews, Dmitri Smirnov, Jim Aitchison, Robert Fokkens, Ben Ellin and Sadie Harrison. As well as this exciting contemporary repertoire, Retorica perform duos by Mozart, Haydn, Leclair, Wieniawski, Rawsthorne, Ysaye, Prokofiev, Ligeti, Telemann, Handel, Gorecki, Honneger, as well their arrangements of Bach Inventions and the famous folk-derived duos by Bartok.

In November 2011, Retorica completed a successful tour of China giving concerts in five cities including recitals at the major concert halls in Beijing (NCPA) and Shanghai (SHAOC) supported by the couture designer Hiroko Koshino and the Tillett Trust.

In summer 2012 they are Artists in Residence at the Prestiegne Festival including recital performances and a performance of Paul Patterson's Double violin concerto and a new commission by Cecilia McDowall. They also will be joined by acclaimed viola player Sarah-Jane Bradley and performing on the Prestiegne City tour which includes venues around the country such as St George's Bristol.

Retorica has recorded John McCabe's double concerto Les Martinets Noirs with Orchestra Nova conducted by George Vass, released on the Dutton label.

Retorica recently recorded their debut recital CD of British works for two violins on the NMC label launched at the Prestiegne Festival 2012 and a London launch at the LSO St Lukes on September 2nd, 2012, made possible by the generous support of the RVW TRust, the Rawsthorne Trust and the John Ireland Trust.

Click on the video below to watch Retorica perform:

  • Client testimonials:

    Retorica were a big hit at the Bedford Park Festival - Torin Douglas, BBC Radio 4

    They were a perfect pair in their performance; sometimes it was like an intimate dialogue between two sisters and at times like two warriors in battle - Beijing National Centre for the Performing Arts