Music is the universal language of mankind. It is indeed a language spoken eloquently and fluently by Drs. Steven and Larisa Elisha, who are internationally acclaimed soloists, clinicians and chamber musicians, known together as the Elaris Duo. Most recently, they are celebrating their second CD release at MSR Classics. Entitled “Duo Virtuoso II – Works for Violin and Cello by Honeggar, Ravel and Schulhoff,” the recording embraces the spontaneity and thrill of a live performance.
Certainly, the release of Duo Virtuoso II is emblematic of a concerted effort — a manifestation of two soloists who, as a synergy, present their musical ideas in such a way that audiences are drawn to the harmonious relationship that unfolds onstage. The way in which the Elaris Duo fuse vigorous elements of live performances with the quality of professional recordings creates a timeless snapshot of musical chemistry that cannot be replicated.
That is because for the Elishas, there is something quintessential about performing together live. Once on stage, it’s as if an unsurpassed spark between the couple gets ignited. As the first few notes fill the air, the room and its audience are totally consumed by the colorful sounds. The atmosphere created by their music exerts an energy into the room that listeners are eager to absorb and respond to.
That same energy is deeply rooted in the recording of Duo Virtuoso II, and it comes strongly recommended by music critics. In the July/August 2017 issue of Fanfare Magazine, Huntley Dent wrote that the duo’s performances were “spontaneous and vibrant…Besides being marvelous musically, this release, titled Duo Virtuoso II, has been recorded in vivid, lifelike sound.” What is more, Phil Muse proclaimed in the June 2017 issue of Audio Society of Atlanta that “the credit for the richness of these three musical experiences lies as much with the totally committed performances of the Elishas as it does the original conception by the composers.”
The raw talent that the Elaris Duo bring to their performances harbors a vast repertoire in the violin/cello duo genre — making the duo rich — both in content and quality. At the heart of the duo lies a deep level of sensitivity toward each other and to the audience. This characteristic truly sets them aside from the rest, and it is all the more reason to celebrate them in their endeavors. The Elaris Duo have recently been nominated for a Grammy award.
Complimentary to their strenuous performance schedule, the Elishas are directors of The Strings Area of the Department of Music at Georgia Southern University. Under the guidance of the Elaris Duo, string players from around the world receive the highest level of education and an opportunity to rehearse with a diverse group of performers. In an attempt to expand their efforts, students of the Bulloch County school district are also offered alternatives to the usual band programs in their schools. With these alternatives, students are introduced to strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion all in one setting. It is a great opportunity for Georgia Southern students to get hands-on training with mentoring younger groups, while younger groups reap the benefits of such a rich learning environment.
For the last year, one of the duo’s greatest missions has been community outreach, both at Georgia Southern and off campus. They welcome students and community members to join the captivating experience of performing in a symphony orchestra — a free-of-charge experience that many people in the region would not have access to if it weren’t for the duo’s efforts.
To learn more about Duo Virtuoso II, visit MSR Classics and/or Amazon.com for details. To contact the Elaris Duo about participating in the symphony orchestra or to inquire about upcoming performances, call (912) 478-5396.