Duo Sequenza

Originally founded in 1988, Duo Sequenza’s passion is to build new audiences for today’s classical music and promote the work of living composers. Comprised of flutist Debra Silvert and classical guitarist Paul Bowman, Duo Sequenza has toured throughout the United States, Asia, and Europe, enjoying enthusiastic ovations from audiences and acclaim from critics. Their formal debut at Geneva’s European International Festival included trans-Atlantic premieres of American new music.


 “It is wonderful for a composer to have such talented and expressive musicians at my disposal.” — Jorge Muñiz


 “The duo's interpretation was sensitive, intelligent and deeply moving.” — Andrea Clearfield


"...delighted with your performance of my piece….a great first performance of a very difficult work!" — Laura Kaminsky


"Thanks so much for the exotic array of programs. I feel honored to have been represented by you in so many places!" — Ned Rorem


“…wonderful artistry and innovative commissioning and programming.”  — Gary Schocker


Debra Silvert, “truly a gem of a flutist” (LaPorte Herald-Argus) with a "full and sunny golden tone" (The New Buffalo Times) and Paul Bowman, “among the best guitarists in the world” (Rheinische Post, Düsseldorf, Germany) and “… exceptionally versatile…negotiat[ing] a pastiche of styles with ease…” (Birmingham News), have been acclaimed in their duo performances as “...dancing...poignant...refreshing..." (Graafschapbode, Netherlands), "… brilliant, gossamer, and completely engaging… a delight to hear...fascinating…" (Arts Indiana Magazine), with “…collaboration and virtuosity of a high order...dramatic...imaginative...rhythmically alive...”​ (Hammond Times) and “...great subtlety of tone and breadth of dynamic expression, virtuosity and skill...wonderful…one of the finest flute and guitar duos...” ​(The New Buffalo Times). Duo Sequenza presently serves as the Chamber Ensemble-in-Residence at the historic Memorial Opera House in Valparaiso IN and continues to tour throughout the United States.


The 2015-16 season marked Duo Sequenza’s long-anticipated return to concertizing and commissioning after a 21-year long hiatus during which flutist Debra Silvert homeschooled her four children, and guitarist Paul Bowman continued his high-flying career trajectory without her! Their love of new music and living composers can be seen in their name which references Luciano Berio and his groundbreaking work. Duo Sequenza has commissioned and/or premiered works by Easley Blackwood, Andrea Clearfield, Katherine Hoover, Laura Kaminsky, Gary Schocker, Jorge Muñiz, Amin Sharifi, Francisco Carbonell, and others.


Continuing their commitment to audience development and living composers, the duo has developed several new initiatives including their popular Journey Beyond the Notes! an interactive concert featuring South Shore Suite by Jorge Muñiz, and Project Listen Up!, a unique residency program in which their musical artistry is embedded throughout the host community with numerous informal, short, curated performances in multiple non- traditional venues. Project Listen Up! repertoire is chosen for its organic tie-in to specific venues to create awareness, establish the relevancy of new music, and stimulate broad public interest in the chamber music genre. Conversation with attendees is lively and engaging. This outreach and education project was awarded an Arts Project Support grant from South Shore Arts, the Indiana Arts Commission, and the National Endowment for the Arts.


The duo’s 21-day tour of Asia and Europe consisted of classical concerts throughout Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Switzerland, and the Netherlands, highlighted by their formal European Debut at the Palais de L’Athenee in Geneva at the 1990 European International Festival. Only 30 artists were selected for this honor from an applicant pool of more than 1400. This performance featured the European debut of Pulitzer Prize winning composer Ned Rorem’s masterpiece, Romeo and Juliet.


Much of Duo Sequenza’s early domestic touring was underwritten by the Presenter Touring Programs of the Indiana Arts Commission and Arts Midwest in addition to their performances under the auspices of Community Concerts, then a division of Columbia Artists Management, Inc. From 1989 until 1992, Duo Sequenza was the In-Residence Artist Ensemble at the Center for Visual and Performing Arts in Munster, Indiana. Chosen to present the 1992 New Composer’s Concert at the Bar Harbor (Maine) Music Festival, it was there that they gave the world premiere of their first commission, Rondo Caprice, Op. 35 by the iconic Easley Blackwood.


Duo Sequenza is governed by the Board of Directors of Sequenza Chamber Music, Inc., an Indiana-based, IRS-approved 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation.


Debra Silvert was Instructor of Flute at Valparaiso University (IN) from 1989-90 and 1994-1999 where she developed the flute studio from fifteen to nearly forty Bachelor’s level music majors, minors, Master’s candidates, and non-majors. She also coached student chamber ensembles, conducted the university flute choir, and taught Performance Lab.


With no musical background, Silvert began her formal study of the flute at age 16, following her involvement with juvenile authorities for habitually running away from her home in Western N.Y. Her interest in music soon became her all-consuming passion. Silvert’s first tuition was taken in the studios of Cheryl Gobbetti and Robert Mols. She continued diligent private study with Mary Louise Poor and Geoffrey Gilbert, and in the summer classes of Peter Lloyd, William Bennett, and James Galway. Her assiduous practice habits ultimately led to her endorsement as a soloist with the Indiana Arts Commission’s Touring Artist Program, as well as her university faculty appointment, no small feat for someone without advanced degrees in music.


Debra Silvert was honored to perform at the National Flute Association’s 2016 Annual Convention in San Diego, premiering Gary Schocker’s Crystal Healing written for Duo Sequenza and the 200th anniversary celebration of her rare Claude Laurent four-keyed lead crystal flute. She presented the New Composers’ Concert of the Bar Harbor (Maine) Music Festival for two years running; first with Duo Sequenza and then with a program of new solo flute and piano works.


Classical guitarist Paul Bowman is one of today's most passionate avatars of new music for guitar with more than 50 works written for him by composers such as John Eaton, Ursula Mamlok, Yehuda Yannay, Paolo Cavallone, Kirsten Broberg, Yotam Haber, C.P. First, Andrew Mead, and many others.


Winner of the VIth International Competition for Classical Guitar in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Bowman’s chamber concert appearances include many prestigious world venues in cities such as Berlin, Cologne, Singapore, Geneva, Paris, Rome, Boston, Chicago, and New York, including several at Carnegie Hall. Bowman has enjoyed a steady demand for performances with numerous distinguished new music ensembles including The Group for Contemporary Music and others, and at important festivals for new music, including "Tage für neue Musik" Darmstadt, “Festival Nuovi Spazi Musicali" Rome, and others.


Bowman has worked closely with composers of distinction such as Elliott Carter, George Crumb, David del Tredici, Harvey Sollberger, Pierre Boulez, Roger Reynolds, and Charles Wuorinen. He has collaborated with esteemed conductors Heinz Holliger, Steven Schick Jeffrey Milarsky, and others.


A native of Chesterton, Indiana, nestled in the magnificent Indiana Dunes, Paul Bowman originally thought he would pursue a career in jazz, but at age 14, his attendance at a recital by the great Andres Segovia persuaded him to pursue classical guitar instead. Holding B.M and M.M. degrees in Classical Guitar Performance from the Manhattan School of Music, he received his D.M.A. in Contemporary Performance from the University of California at San Diego. His recordings may be found on the SEAMUS, Albany, Innova, and Mode labels, as well as several others, and include a 13 CD box set of published and unpublished studio recordings. photo of Duo Sequenza — Donna Grass, Bella Photography, Valparaiso IN.


Recording engineer, veteran radio and podcast producer, and avid world traveler Jesse McQuarters has produced the broadcast series for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as well as some of the most widely-heard, internationally syndicated series on the WFMT Radio Network. McQuarters came to WFMT after receiving degrees in double bass performance and audio engineering at Indiana University, Bloomington. In addition to having produced the award-winning, flagship program of the WFMT Radio Network, Exploring Music, he is the founding producer of the internationally-syndicated program Relevant Tones, the first ongoing syndicated radio series in the U.S. dedicated to new music and living composers.


His work has taken him to Russia, where he climbed the bell towers of Vladimirskaya Cathedral to interview the ringers who call the worshippers to service, and Sweden, where he learned the nyckelharpa and talked with Sami musicians about reindeer herding and joik singing. As a bassist, he has played in Chennai, India at the invitation of A.R. Rahman, with Chance the Rapper, and in many venues across Chicago.


McQuarters has had the pleasure of interviewing senators and ambassadors, driving in the presidential motorcade with the Obama family following Obama’s re-election in 2012, recording Indian ragas in the cisterns of Jerusalem, taping the morning call to prayer after sleeping under the stars in a Bedouin community in the Negev Desert, and interviewing Irina Shostakovich in the Moscow apartment she shared with her husband, Dmitri.


His credits as a producer include broadcast programs with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, Yo-Yo Ma & the Silk Road Ensemble, Lang Lang, Gustavo Dudamel, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Chamber Musicians, the Gilmore Keyboard Festival, the Ravinia Festival, Northwestern University, Gabriela Montero, James Conlon, and many more. As an engineer, Jesse McQuarters has had albums released on Centaur, contributed to a Compass Records Jean Ritchie compilation, and engineered countless live broadcasts for WFMT Classical Music Radio. photo of Jesse McQuarters courtesy of Jesse.





David Noon

Born of Pennsylvania Dutch, Welsh, and Native American heritage in Johnstown PA on 23 July 1946, David Noon began playing the clarinet at the age of 8 and later learned the bassoon, flute, piccolo, and piano. He received his undergraduate degree at Pomona College, an M.A. in musicology at N.Y.U. and an M.M.A. and D.M.A. in composition from Yale University. His teachers have included Gustave Reese, Karl Kohn, Darius Milhaud, Charles Jones, Yehudi Wyner, and Mario Davidovsky.


In 1972-73, Noon was a Fulbright Fellow in Composition at the Music Conservatory in Warsaw Poland and served on the faculty of the School of Music at Northwestern University from 1973-76. He was Composer-in-Residence at the Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos NM in 1976. Noon served on the faculty of Manhattan School of Music in New York City from 1981-2011, where he was Chairman of the Music History Department (1981-2007), Chairman of the Composition Department (1989–98), and Dean of Academics (1998-2006). From 1996-98, he was the Composer Artist-in- Residence at the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Divine. In 2007-08, Noon was a visiting professor of musicology and composition at the Central Conservatory in Beijing China.


In addition to his vast compositional output, David Noon has written two books of poetry: Postcards from Rethymno and Bitter Rain; three historical novels: The Tin Box, Googie's, and My Name Was Saul; and three Nadia Boulanger mysteries: Murder at the Ballets Russes, The Tsar's Daughter, and The Organ Symphony.


Jerry Owen

The two Composer-in-Residence positions founded by composer Jerry Owen include one with Red Cedar Chamber Music, now a highly-regarded chamber music ensemble originated by flute and guitar artists, the Boland-Dowdall Duo, for whom he wrote several commissioned works including Meshquanowat’. "...and now we come to our favorite part of the program. We commissioned Meshquanowat' for our Iowa Sesquicentennial tours,” (Boland / Dowdall Duo of Red Cedar Chamber Music). Continually inspired by nature, history, and his own life experiences, Owen is presently at work on a new commission for Duo Sequenza based on the history of the Miller Beach region of Lake Michigan’s South Shore.


Having received his Bachelor and Master’s degrees in Music from the University of Evansville and DePauw University respectively, Jerry Owen earned his PhD in Composition at the University of Iowa. He has retired from a 38-year-long teaching career at Coe College in Iowa where he is now the Alma A. Turechek Professor Emeritus of Music. Owen has helped to establish new audiences for contemporary classical music in Iowa since 1976 and through his leadership in the Iowa Composers Forum since 1987. He lives in Cedar Rapids IA.


Marc Mellits

From Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center, to prestigious music festivals in Europe and the United States, the music of Marc Mellits is a constant mainstay on programs throughout the world. His unique musical style is an eclectic combination of driving rhythms, sumptuous lyricism, and vibrant orchestrations that all combine to communicate deeply with the listener. Mellits' music is often described as being visceral, making a profound connection with the audience. “This was music as sensual as it was intelligent; I saw audience members swaying, nodding, making little motions with their hands...” (New York Press).


Mellits began writing piano music long before he started formal piano lessons at age 6. His music is all-encompassing, colorful, and always has a sense of forward motion. More than 50 of his works have been recorded on the Black Box, Endeavour Classics, Cantaloupe, CRI/Emergency Music, Santa Fe New Music, Innova, and Dacia Music labels.


Mellits' music has been played by major new music groups across the globe. He has been commissioned by ensembles and artists such as the Kronos Quartet, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (Holland), Duo Assad, Bang On A Can All-Stars, Eliot Fisk, Canadian Brass, Nexus Percussion, Debussy Quartet, Real Quiet, New Music Detroit, Four-In-Correspondence (National Symphony Orchestra), Musique En Roue Libre (France), Fiarì Ensemble (Italy), Percussions Claviers de Lyon (France), Third Coast Percussion, Talujon, the Society for New Music, Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, and the Albany Symphony's Dogs of Desire. Additionally, Mellits’ music has been performed, toured, and/or recorded by members of the Detroit Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Minneapolis Symphony, Brooklyn Philharmonic, eighth blackbird, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, New Millennium Ensemble, Da Capo Chamber Players, and the American Modern Ensemble, and many others.


Marc Mellits has composed numerous film scores, including that for the PBS mini-series “Beyond the Light Switch,” a 2012 Dupont-Columbia award winner, the most prestigious award given for documentaries. Mellits also directs and plays keyboards in his own unique ensemble, The Mellits Consort.


Amin Sharifi

The cover art chosen by Amin Sharifi for his set of short pieces, Duets Exhibition, is titled “The Artist, The Myth” by Hannibal Alkhas, the famed Iranian artist who also studied philosophy. Additionally, three of the four pieces in this set of duets is associated with a painting by another Iranian artist, Aydin Aghdashloo, as well as with specific quotes from great world literature.


Amin Sharifi’s compositional studies were taken under direction of Sven-David Sandström, Beat Furrer, Nader Mashayekhi, Peter Ablinger, Klaus Lang, Don Freund, John Gibson, Mehdi Hosseini, and others. His pieces have been performed by new music ensembles such as S.E.M. (NYC), Luna Nova (Memphis), DissonArt (Thessaloniki), Pierrot-Tehran (Tehran), and Breakout (Munich). He has been commissioned by the Tehran Contemporary Music Festival, eviMus Electro-Acoustic and Visual Media Festival, Tehran Flute Choir, Breakout Ensemble, ACIMC Iranian Composers Association, and others. Sharifi’s work has been released on two albums on the Petrichor Records label.


In 2012, Sharifi designed "Break time" a project which exposes high school students to in-depth study of classical music and literature. This project helps to improve the listening habits of people without formal academic music experience.


Jorge Muñiz

The recipient of several grants and fellowships from Fulbright and Rotary International, among others, Jorge Muñiz received his Master’s in Music Composition from Carnegie Mellon University with Leonardo Balada and his Doctorate from the Manhattan School of Music with Richard Danielpour. He was the winner of the First Grand Prize of the European Young Composers Competition, and his commissions range from opera, oratorios, and concerti to piano quintets and solo pieces for guitar, cello, and even piccolo. While at Carnegie Mellon, he won the String Quartet Composition Competition and the H. G. Archer Prize for Symphonic Composition.


— all composer notes written by Debra Silvert. All composer photos courtesy of the composer.

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