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What the critics say:
“Warm applause for a German-Brazilian guitar alliance of the finest caliber.”
— Antje Doßmann, Neue Westfälische
“…in addition to their individual gifts, there is a oneness of musical thought which makes them a rare find.”
“…The duo have tremendous chemistry and synchronicity.”
— Classical Guitar
“…a remarkable technical precision… sensitivity and expressive delicacy. . . I dare say that in the warmth of the guitar timbre the score [arrangements of Villa-Lobos’ Cirandinhas], finds a greater airiness, a cooler and more poetic sound environment than in the original controlled piano writing.”
— Rivista Musica
The NOVA Guitar Duo’s unique instrumentation combines the regular six-string guitar and the eight-string “Brahms” guitar, substantially increasing the ensemble’s available range. Described as “lyrical and powerful” by Classical Guitar, the German-Brazilian duo was formed while both of its members, Nelly van Alven and Luis Mantovani, were studying at the Royal College of Music in London, England. Their programs explore the extensive repertoire for two guitars, as well as their own innovative arrangements of music originally written for other instruments and ensembles.
A member of Yehudi Menuhin’s Live-Music-Now scheme, the duo has played in some of the finest UK venues and festivals, including the London Guitar Festival in Kings Place, Wigmore Hall, Buxton Festival, St. John’s Smith Square and Royal Albert Hall. In 2017, the NOVA Guitar Duo gave the UK premiere of French composer Germaine Tailleferre’s Concerto for Two Guitars and Orchestra at RCM’s Britten Theatre, and in 2018 performed its New York debut concert at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, through the Pro Musicis Foundation. Their debut album, Sortilegios, was released in December 2018 by the Italian label Stradivarius, and features music by de Falla, Mompou and Villa-Lobos.
German guitarist, Nelly von Alven, six-string guitar, is a prizewinner at numerous national and international competitions, such as the Barmenia Competition (Germany), the International Guitar Competition Gevelsberg (Germany), the Twents Guitar Festival (NL) and the Royal College of Music‘s Guitar Competition (UK). She regularly performs as a soloist and chamber musician in the UK and abroad. In 2017, Nelly played Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez with the Freien Sinfoniker Bielefeld in Germany as well as Tedesco’s String Quintet at the “Young Virtuosi” Festival in France.
In the summer 2015, Nelly’s debut CD Canto spirituoso was produced and published by Fibonacci Records. The album contains several debut recordings, like Canto spirituoso by Rossen Balkanski, as well as her own compositions. Nelly holds a Bachelor of Music degree with honours from the University of Music Cologne and a Master of Performance degree with distinction from the Royal College of Music in London. During her studies in London, she was a Keith Poole Award recipient. Since 2016, Nelly is supported by the Worshipful Company of Musicians in London. Besides her performing career, Nelly currently teaches at the Millbank Academy in London.
Luiz Mantovani, eight-string guitar, hails from Brazil and is a winner of the Pro Musicis International Award (New York, 2001.) Luiz Mantovani has appeared in some of the most important concert venues of his native Brazil and abroad. His performance of Walton’s Five Bagatelles in Weill Hall/Carnegie Hall was described by The New York Times as “powerful, beautifully shaped and just practically flawless.” An active chamber musician, Mr. Mantovani was a member of the Brazilian Guitar Quartet for 11 years, with which he recorded three CDs, including the 2011 Latin Grammy winner BGQ plays Villa-Lobos. He is currently a CAPES-sponsored PhD candidate at the Royal College of Music in London, where he investigates the chamber sonatas of Austrian composer Ferdinand Rebay. The first guitarist to receive an Artist Diploma from the New England Conservatory of Boston, Luiz Mantovani also holds a Master’s degree from NEC and a Bachelor’s degree from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. His guitar teachers were David Leisner, Nicolas Barros and Antônio Guedes. Since 2003 he has been teaching guitar and chamber music at the State University of Santa Catarina, in Florianopolis, Brazil.
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