Featuring two GRAMMY-nominees, FANDANGO! is a toe-tappingly spicy mix of Latin, Spanish, Sephardic, Balkan, and classical sounds performed by multi-award-winning, globe-trotting virtuosi who hail from Spain, the USA, former Yugoslavia, and the UK, and who have played, separately and together, on the world’s most prestigious stages.
In 2015-16 and 2016-17, Fandango! performed on the prestigious Dumbarton Oaks series in Washington DC, Roosevelt University’s Ganz Hall in Chicago, and the Bermuda International Festival, and toured Hawaii, Arizona, Florida and many other parts of the USA. This season’s tours will bring them from the Pacific Northwest to the Florida Keys, to the mid-Atlantic region.
Fandango’s educational enrichment presentations encourage the students’ creativity, spark a life-long interest in music and broadens comprehension of cultural and historical aspects of their world. Because of the diverse backgrounds of the four musicians that form Fandango (British, Bosnian, Spanish and American) the interesting distinct instruments they play and the variety of music they offer, the children develop critical thinking skills and understanding of issues such as tolerance, acceptance, cultural diversity and teamwork. The children’s response is overwhelmingly positive, and often, from the young kindergarteners to high school students, Fandango’s performance will be the only live classical music they have ever heard.
Fandango musicians are passionate and very committed to bring music to schools and communities around the country. Kids are our future performers and audience. Fandango’s mission is to play and share their joy of music making, and to plant the seed of love for music in those who haven’t discover it yet. Fandango is constantly touched by the feedback that they receives from presenters, students and their teachers after their performances.
The South Florida Classical Review raved about Fandango!’s recent Miami début: “a nearly sold-out audience . . . authentic repertoire choices, exciting arrangements, and newly commissioned works . . . all played with ease and astute musicianship . . . this performance undoubtedly showed Fandango!’s variety of articulations, colors, and panache.”
Eugenia Moliner and Denis Azabagic are a husband-and-wife team acclaimed worldwide as the Cavatina Duo. They have captivated audiences with their electrifying performances in such major venues and festivals as Ravinia (Chicago), Da Camera Society (Los Angeles), Aix-en-Provence Summer Festival (France), the National Concert Hall of Taipei (Taiwan), National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing (China), National Flute Convention Gala Concert (USA), the Harris Theater (Chicago), Kolkata International Guitar Festival (India), Palau de la Musica (Spain), among many others. "If there is a finer flute and guitar duo in the world than Cavatina Duo, I have not heard them" raved Soundboard Magazine in June 2015.
Flutist Eugenia Moliner, a native of Spain, has been acclaimed as “brilliant” by the British Flute Society magazine. She has performed with principal musicians from the Chicago Symphony, Rotterdam Philharmonic and Toronto Symphony orchestras and appeared with many renowned ensembles including the Chicago Chamber Musicians. Eugenia has been featured on radio and television programs in Europe, Asia and the USA. Her discography includes seven CDs.
Prizewinner in twenty-four international competitions, Bosnian guitarist Denis Azabagic has been described as a “virtuoso with flawless technique” by Soundboard Magazine. He has appeared as soloist with orchestras such as the Chicago and Madrid Symphonies, among many others. His discography includes eleven CDs and two DVDs.
Also a married couple, violinist Desirée Ruhstrat and cellist David Cunliffe are both members of the Lincoln Trio, nominated for a GRAMMY Award in 2017. Praised for their "joy of sheer technical ability, unanimity of phrasing and beautiful blended tone," the trio has become one of Chicago’s most celebrated chamber ensembles. They have performed at Alice Tully Hall (Lincoln Center, NYC), Ravinia, across the United States as well as Germany, Singapore, Hong Kong and Vietnam.
The artistry of American violinist Desirée Ruhstrat has captivated audiences throughout Europe and the Americas. Desirée has won numerous awards including First Prize at the National Young Musicians Debut Competition in Los Angeles, where she was also lauded with a special award for a young performer of extraordinary talent. She was the youngest prizewinner at Switzerland's Tibor Varga International Competition, where she also won the award for best interpretation of a contemporary composition. She won top prizes at the Carl Flesch, Julius Stulberg, and Mozart Festival Violin Competitions.
British cellist David Cunliffe has served as principal cello in performances with BBC Philharmonic, BBC Scottish and Royal Scottish Symphony Orchestras. As a member of the Balanescu Quartet, he toured Australia, Europe and the United States. In England, David was a recipient of the Terrance Weill and Leonard Hirsch Quartet Prizes and the Lady Barbirolli Chamber Music Award.
David has appeared frequently on radio and TV, including NPR and the BBC, and is a founding member of the Virtuosi Chicago Chamber Orchestra.
Praise from Presenters
“Fandango was a delight - musically, programmatically and personally. They are four top musicians who have a unique mission: Their unique programming for the duos, trios and quartets of their ensemble feature a wonderful mixture of classical transcriptions, commissions and Sephardic, Spanish and Balkan folk-inspired music.
Their musicianship is what I most appreciated. Apart from their fine, vibrant virtuosity, they are truly EXPRESSIVE musicians. This is especially true of Desiree and Eugenia, who blew me away with the passion and power of their music making. I told Eugenia afterward that singers who study and perform the major roles in Traviata would do well to listen to her to understand how to phrase, pace and feel the great arias.
Lovely people, top notch musicians, fresh and refreshing programming, and music making that fully communicates. Our audience of about 500 stood and cheered, requiring two encores.
Bravi! - I look forward to bringing them back in the future,
Paul Posnak, Music Director
St. Martha-Yamaha Concert Series, Miami Shores, FL
“Fabulous concert tonight!!! I am inspired! Not just amazing musicians but lovely people as well. We had lots of praise for them from the audiences, including one person last night who told me that it was the highlight of the Festival for her. The outreaches were wonderful and the students in the little ensemble on stage were so excited and thrilled to perform with them. They were so generous as to offer to listen to them play so I took them to the local music school yesterday before the concert and they did some masterclasses for a handful of students. The students were so appreciative and absorbed all they could.
Watch out Lisa! Fandango threatened to take our students on tour with them!
A local photographer took photos of the outreach performances. She posted a few on her blog today. The link is http://amandatemplephotography.blogspot.com/”
Nancy Smith, Director
Bermuda International Festival
“Yesterday's concert by FANDANGO! was just splendid!
Individually they are superior musicians and they possess all the facets of great chamber music making. A word I don't use very often, but seems appropriate: SENSATIONAL!
Our audience loved them, presented them with a standing ovation at the conclusion of the program and another following their encore!
In addition, they are gracious people and it was a pleasure to be with them.
Phillip Spurgeon, Artistic Director,
The Artists Series of Tallahassee
“I will happily share my thoughts with you regarding Fandango's outreach and public concert. Each performer in the quartet is extremely musically skilled, and in addition very personable. They did a beautiful job of tailoring their outreach performances to the age of the students, altering their musical choices and their interaction with the listeners to suit each audience. The age span they performed outreach for was from kindergarten to middle school students, as well as residents at an assisted living facility. Some of the students had a familiarity with music, and others had no experience at all with classical music. The members of Fandango charmed every single audience.
The Fandango quartet worked extremely hard while they were with us, and the Artist Series really appreciated their willingness to be housed in private homes. Hopefully they are leaving Tallahassee with some new Florida friends.
The public concert that they presented today for our Series patrons was engaging, diverse, virtuosic and beautifully musical. I thought it was interesting for the audience to hear the different combinations of instruments, from quartet to trio to different musical duos. All four of the performers lived up to the high musical standards that we try to find in the artists that we present on our series. We thank Desiree, David, Eugenia and Denis for their beautiful work. “
Carla Connors, President
The Artist Series, Tallahassee, FL
"It was a great opener for the season! Fun and festive. A wonderful variety of music—the audience was enthralled. And of course their personalities shone through in the concert."
—Judy Wakeley, Hawaii Concert Association
"The concert was great! The school programs were VERY well received and I think that is why we had so many young people attending. A huge success overall.
—Judy Baxter, Grand County Concert Association (Colorado)
"Fandango's unique and very beautiful blend of instruments exceeded my expectations and my expectations were already high. They were fantastic. Our audience loved them. It was one of the best attended classical shows we've presented in a long time. The children at the morning show couldn't stop asking questions after the last 'piece' which is not a 'song.' The workshops they gave for our string students were very good." — Tom Green, Gila Valley Arts Council (Arizona)
St. Martha-Yamaha Concert Series, Miami Shores, FL