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The Cavatina Duo

Spanish passion and Balkan sensibility are what give Cavatina Duo its flair for chamber music. The guitar and flute duo features Eugenia Moliner from Spain and Denis Azabagic from Bosnia.

"Passionate and sensible is a nice description of how we are," says Moliner during a telephone interview from her home in Chicago. "I am more energetic. I love an audience. Denis is calmer. He's a very sensitive musician. It's a good balance."

Also husband and wife, Azabagic and Moliner began performing together about 10 years ago. They also perform separately as soloists and teach at Chicago's Roosevelt University.

"We didn't imagine that we would be pursuing a career as a chamber duo," Moliner says. "We received such great reviews for our first CD that we decided to get serious about it."

Their self-titled debut CD released in 1999 features works by contemporary composers such as Astor Piazzolla, Joaquin Rodrigo, Antonio Ruiz-Pipó, Alejandro Yagüe and Edison Denisov.

"The flute and guitar haven't been accepted until recently as a seriously established chamber music ensemble," Moliner says. "There is not that much of a repertoire, and not many musicians have been dedicated to it enough to develop the combination. A guitarist and a flutist would get together for a few concerts, but nothing that would last for many years."

With a second and third album, "Meditación" in 2003 and "Acrobats" in 2007, Azabagic and Moliner began to break through, making the way for others to follow.

"We are the first flute and guitar duo to be featured on the cover of Classical Guitar magazine in England," Moliner says. "We've also been featured in Guitarra magazine (a Web publication) and Soundboard magazine in the USA, and we've got a feature coming up on the cover of the British Flute Society's magazine."

For all of the rave press, the Cavatina Duo just wants to make music. Moliner and Azabagic have perform original music and arrangements by composers such as Sérgio Assad and Clarice Assad of Brazil; Carlos Rivera, Michael Karmon and Michael Djupstrom of the United States; Alan Thomas of the U.K.; Erik Otte of the Netherlands; Yagüe of Spain; Boris Gaquere of Belgium; and V. Ivanovic of Bosnia.

They also frequently perform work written for them by such composers as Miroslav Tadic and David Leisner.

"These are the things that we putting our mark on," Moliner says. "You have to be persistent. You have to work very hard. Maybe the music we're playing now isn't classic, but maybe it will be in 50 years."

Works by Bach, Schubert and Schumann also show up on the couple's CDs, and a high point of Cavatina Duo's concerts is music inspired by the folk traditions of their native lands of Spain and the Balkans.

"We'll be playing Bach at the show in Ashland," Moliner says. "Along with the 'Four Seasons of Argentina' by Piazzolla and some pieces from our Balkan project."

"The Balkan Project," Cavatina Duo's forthcoming CD, will be released around the first of the year on Cedille Records.

"We'll also play some music written by Spanish composer Yagüe," Moliner says. "It's a very visual piece called Confidencial No. 2. When we play it, I dance on stage and move around the stage.

"We'll close the show with a fantasy piece based on the opera 'Carmen.' It's a wonderful piece. It's a display of flute, full of beautiful themes that are taken from the opera and based on Spanish folklore. It's a show-off piece. Audiences love it."

The Cavatina Duo's performance is the first of three shows to be presented in the Jefferson Classical Guitar Society's 2009-10 series of concerts. Guitarist Johannes Möller will perform Feb. 13, Sol Flamenco will perform March 6.

Visit www.jeffersonguitar.org for more information.

Denis and Eugenia are the Cavatina Duo. - www.cavatinaduo.com