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Retorica: Harriet Mackenzie and Philippa Mo, violins

Tuesday 19 June 2018 at 19:00

The violinists Philippa Mo and Harriet Mackenzie formed Retorica in 2010 to explore music for two violins, since when they have performed all over the world. Their attractive and wide ranging programme will include their own beautiful arrangements of Bach inventions.

Philippa and Harriet met at the Royal Academy of Music, London and discovered their passion for contemporary music as well as the wealth of rarely heard repertoire for two violins.

Since they started playing together in 2010, Retorica have performed all over the world. Highlights of their performing career include recitals at some of the most prestigious halls in China, including the Beijing NCPA and Shanghai SHAOC. Other highlights include a performance in Odessa, Ukraine as part of the 2D2N Festival, where Retorica showcased seven new commissions by leading British composers; in the Barbican Centre as part of the Park Lane Young Artists Series in the Mostly Mozart Festival, at the Jersey Liberation Festival, the Bury St Edmunds Festival and the Ripon International Festival. Retorica were also ‘Artists in Residence’ at the Presteigne Festival 2012 where they gave performance of Paul Patterson’s Double Violin Concert Allusion and a new commission by Cecilia McDowal, Rousseau’s Execution.

English Violin Duos, Retorica’s debut CD of British works for two violins, has been highly acclaimed. The CD was chosen as the ‘must hear’ for chamber music and ‘editor’s choice’ in the April 2013 edition of Gramophone Magazine.

Also in 2012, Retorica recorded John McCabe’s double concerto Les Martinets Noirs with Orchestra Nova, conducted by George Vass, released on the  Dutton Epoch label.

The uniqueness of Retorica lies in the quality of the two players as they perform in such a rare and expressive formation of a violin duo, as well as the largely unexplored wealth and quality of repertoire for two violins and orchestra. They are also proud to be expanding the repertoire and aware they are creating a legacy with recent commissions for John McCabe, David Matthew, Dmitri Smirnov, Jim Aitchison, Robert Fokkens and Sadie Harrison.

Other highlights include two new double violin concerti written for the duo by James Francis-Brown which was premiered at the Presteigne Festival 2015 and a new piece written for Retorica by composer Gabriel Prokofiev and premiered at the Lancaster Institute of Contemporary Arts alongside the Sergei Prokofiev’s Sonata for Two Violins in March 2014. Between 2014 and 2015, the duo toured Germany, Scotland and Japan.


Tickets £15.00 (£10.00 for Friends of Farley Music) from Salisbury Playhouse (01722 320333) from May 1st 2018, or on the door, to include an interval drink Buy Tickets button 6 (2015)

This concert is generously sponsored by Quilter Cheviot Investment Management

All Saints' Church