ECU Fine Arts presents Duo Cantabile, featuring cellist Simona Barbu and pianist Nariaki Sugiura in concert. The concert is free and open to the public.
Duo Cantabile Biography
Duo Cantabile was formed in 2012 by cellist Simona Barbu and pianist Nariaki Sugiura, two musicians and university professors residing in Grand Forks, North Dakota. The duo traveled extensively and gave performances, clinics, lectures, and master classes at prestigious institutions around the world, including Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Mannheim (Germany), Zoltan Kodaly EZI Kecskemet (Hungary), Xinghai Conservatory of Music (China), National Taipei University of Arts (Taiwan), University of Antioquia (Colombia), and the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. The duo has also participated in the performance series including North Dakota Museum of Art Concert Series, Greencastle Summer Music Festival in Indiana, and Masterworks Music Festival in Ohio.
The Duo’s extensive teaching and performing activities resulted in receiving visiting professorships from institutions such as East China Normal University, honorable awards given to artists who have made significant contributions to their institutions. Duo’s concert programs often include duo’s transcriptions and newly commissioned pieces by living American composers. In 2023 October, the duo will be presenting Alejandro Drago’s Suite for Cello and Piano «A Universal History of Nobleness» (2022) at the 66th College Music Society National Conference in Miami, FL.
An astounding international cellist, Simona Barbu began her musical studies at age seven and gained public attention as a member of the leading string quartet of the Conservatory of Timisoara in her native Romania, where she made her solo debut in Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme with the conservatory’s symphonic orchestra. Ever since, she has traveled to Asia, South American, Europe, and the United States as a soloist, chamber musician, clinician, and orchestra musician. She has collaborated with world class musicians such as Emilio Colón, Edward Auer, Emile Naoumoff, Lydia Artymiw and Milton Masciadri. Barbu has been an active orchestral musician, performing with Memphis Symphony Orchestra, South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, Fargo Moorhead Symphony Orchestra, and serving as principal with the Eroica Ensemble in Memphis, Starkville Symphony Orchestra and Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra.
A dedicated teacher, Dr. Barbu has served as the string faculty at Mississippi State University for four years, where she taught strings and conducted the symphonic orchestra. In 2011, Dr. Barbu was appointed Professor of Cello and Burgum Endowed Chair at the University of North Dakota, where she currently teaches cello, string bass, chamber music and conducts the UND Honor String Orchestra. During summers, she is a cello faculty at various music festivals.
International concert artist Nariaki Sugiura has performed solo recitals and concerto engagements in the U.S., Europe, South America, and Asia at the prestigious concert halls including Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Shenzhen Symphony Hall (China), Kioi Hall (Japan), Ferenc Liszt Music Academy Recital Hall (Hungary), Daejeon Arts and Cultural Center Hall (South Korea), and Manoel Theater (Malta). He has appeared as soloist with the Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra, Bismarck-Mandan Symphony Orchestra, University of Antioquia Symphony Orchestra, Peking University Affiliated High School Concert Band, and many others. His arrangements for chamber ensembles and piano ensembles have been frequently performed.
A devoted teacher, Dr. Sugiura has become of the leading piano pedagogues of his generation. He has given piano master classes at Academy of Music Gheorghe Dima (Romania), Leo Weiner Music Academy (Hungary), Shenyang Conservatory of Music (China), National Kaohsiung Normal University (Taiwan), Ewha Womans University and Sunhwa Arts High School (South Korea), Universitas Pelita Harapan (Indonesia), St. Paul’s College (Hong Kong), and many other institutions around the world. Previously, he has taught at DePauw University, Indiana University. While he was at Indiana University, he worked for a legendary cellist Janos Starker.