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Chinese violinist MingHuan Xu and Canadian pianist Winston Choi are Duo Diorama, compelling and versatile artists who perform an eclectic mix of musical styles, ranging from the great standard to the avant-garde. It is a partnership with a startlingly fresh and powerful approach to music for violin and piano. The two effectively blend their distinctive personalities to create a unified whole. The duo maintains an active performing and touring schedule.
“An amazing pair of instrumentalists… they are the husband-and-wife team of pianist Winston Choi and violinist Minghuan Xu. These young players have been concertizing together for a long time, and exhibit formidable virtuosity. Although they perform the standard repertory, they are especially committed to playing contemporary music, some of which they have commissioned themselves. On this occasion the program was entirely devoted to recent compositions, including several premieres… They seem to be saying, “If you can write it, we can play it.” The Arts Fuse
“The festival in Santos came to a finale in the best way possible, with the fantastic Duo Diorama. The Chinese violinist MingHuan Xu, and the Chinese-Canadian pianist Winston Choi, both have extraordinary communication and interpretative exuberance, not to mention the great freshness of the Duo’s repertoire, with new composers and new horizons opening for music!” A Tribuna, Santos, Brazil
Their name captures the couple’s artistic ideals. In 19th-century Paris, the diorama was a popular theater entertainment that predates cinema. A marvelous landscape scene – one telling the tale of some mythic event – was painted on linen and brought to life using dramatic lighting effects, executed using sunlight redirected by a series of mirrors. The diorama’s scenes would appear to take on dimensionality and motion, coming alive. Duo Diorama seeks to bring music notation to life using sonic manipulations of color, feeling, and movement and transporting their listeners to realms of musical drama, profound emotion and inspired aesthetic ideas.
Duo Diorama has performed extensively throughout North America, South America and Europe. Recent appearances include the Colours of Music Festival, Mammoth Lakes Music Festival and Triada Music Festival. Their South American tour in 2006 included performances at the Festival Musica Nova in Brazil and Festival Encuentros. As the inaugural recipients of the Banff Centre’s Rolston Fellowship in Music, they toured throughout Canada, performing from coast to coast. In 2006 they had their successful New York debut at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, as winners of Artists International Presentations’ Special Chamber Music Award.
The Duo has already commissioned and premiered over 20 works, and is a leading proponent of music from living composers. Their insightful and dynamic interpretations have established the duo as a true champion of contemporary music.
Performing Gifts (Burton Beerman) at The University of Iowa with dance ensemble