The duo of Pasquale Rucco and Douglas James specializes in the guitar literature of the early 19th century performed on authentic instruments of the period. The two first met and became friends at guitar festivals in northern Italy during the early 1990’s. They have now been performing together for over ten years, charming audiences worldwide with their interpretations of music from the first true “golden age” of the guitar.
The duo’s repertoire features some of the most famous of the early 19th century guitar duo masterpeices as well as newly discovered gems. Their concert programs frequently include works by the more familiar composers such as Carulli, Giuliani and Sor combined with their lesser known contemporaries including Filipo Gragnani, François de Fossa, Antoine Baron de Barcó, Frederic Spina, and Antoine de Lloyer. Their debut CD featured works by Gragnani, Fossa and Barcó as well as Giuliani’s arrangements of Rossini’s popular overtures to Il Barbiere di Siviglia and La Gazza Ladra. This critically acclaimed disc was recently followed by A Night at the Opera , an all-Rossini recording featuring 19 th century arrangements of popular opera overtures and the famous La Danza tarantella.
Rucco and James are internationally recognized authorities in the early Romantic style. Combining an historically informed approach with world-class musicianship, they play exclusively on authentic 19 th century guitars. Recent seasons have included concerts throughout the United States, Italy, and Austria. Rucco and James have performed for such prestigious venues as the Oberlin Conservatory, the Cleveland Institute of Music, Early Music Houston, and the Stetson International Guitar Summer Workshop. In the U.S. they have also presented concerts and masterclasses for universities and guitar societies in Georgia, Florida, Texas, Tennessee, Virginia, Mississippi, New Mexico, Ohio, and North and South Carolina.
The American guitarist Douglas James has received numerous prizes and awards, including two National Endowment for the Arts Solo Recitalist Fellowships. He performs frequently throughout the United States and in Europe, and has been featured on major classical radio broadcasts including NPR’s Performance Today. Douglas James is Professor of Guitar and director of Appalachian GuitarFest at Appalachian State University. James holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Arizona, where he studied guitar with Thomas Patterson.
The Italian guitarist Pasquale Rucco is the winner of several European guitar competitions, including the 1989 Arturo Toscannini Solo Guitar Competition for the performance of 19thc. music. Since then he has performed regularly in Europe and the United States, both as a soloist and chamber musician specializing in the 19thc. literature played on period instruments. Pasquale Rucco is also the founding director of “A.C.I.F.”, a consortium of music academies operating in the greater Naples region.