Twogether Duo


Amy Stewart (b. 2001)  – Babbling and Breathing

Arvo Pärt (b.1935) – Fratres

Li Guo-Quan (1914-1966) – Fishermen’s Song at Eventide

Mikhail Bronner (b.1952 )– Jewish Happiness

Amy Stewart (b. 2001)  – Babbling and Breathing

Commissioned by Live Music Now Scotland, ‘Babbling and Breathing’ for violin and accordion was written for the Twogether Duo, for the setting of a residential care home. The music is gentle and texture-based, allowing listeners to breathe deeply with the goal of helping them feel relaxed. It utilises the nature of both the violin and accordion as instruments that need ‘breath’, by means of bow or bellows, encouraging listeners to slow down and breathe along.

This still music is interspersed with two fast paced melodic tunes, written about anything that ‘babbles’; a brook, or stream perhaps, or even a family member or friend with a tendency to ‘go on’ a little too long! The first of the tunes has a certain Scottish flair, and the second a more contemporary interpretation of ‘babbling’, both with exciting flourishes and explorations of colour through harmony and rhythm. The piece can be performed in order of the following movements:

I. Breathing I

II. Babbling I

III. Breathing II

IV. Babbling II

V. Breathing III

However, these movements are interchangeable and can be performed separately, or in other groupings too, all dependent on the audience and setting. The musicians’ role in the piece is less ‘performer’, less about the notes on the page and more ‘facilitator’, more about the lives and stories and people gathered in the room, helping and encourage the audience to connect with their own breath and emotions.

Amy Stewart

Arvo Pärt (b.1935) – Fratres

Fratres (meaning “brothers” in Latin) is a musical work by the outstanding Estonian composer Arvo Pärt exemplifying his tintinnabuli style of composition. It is three-part music, written in 1977, without fixed instrumentation and has been described as a “mesmerizing set of variations on a six-bar theme combining frantic activity and sublime stillness that encapsulates Pärt’s observation that “the instant and eternity are struggling within us”.

Rade Zivanovic

Li Guo-Quan (1914-1966) – Fishermen’s Song at Eventide

Renowned Chinese musician Guo-Quan Li, inspired by the zheng composition of the same name (ancient Zheng melody called Gui Qu Lai (Returning), has skillfully adapted and composed it into a violin piece in 1956. “Fishermen’s Song at Eventide” depicts the sunset casting its glow on vast green waves, portraying the tranquil delight of fishermen as their boats gracefully drift away with the current. With a melodic and lyrical quality, the piece vividly captures the setting sun, colorful evening glow, lively fishing songs, and the joyful scene of fishermen returning with a bountiful harvest. It expresses the author’s praise and love for the beautiful rivers and mountains of their homeland.

Huixin Hu

Mikhail Bronner (b.1952 )– Jewish Happiness

“Jewish Happiness” is a sarcastic tango written in 2011 by well-known contemporary Russian composer Mikhail Bronner for violin and accordion. The composer is very prolific, having written over 400 pieces in a variety of genres and styles. By the end of the 20th century, Bronner was starting to compose about the Bible and its people. The accordion frequently appears in is sacred and Jewish-themed opuses; he explains this by saying, “I put the accordion into the most complex, inexplicable stories that lie beyond my understanding. The accordion’s timbre strikes me as unique, tranquil, and somewhat reminiscent of my personality.  I have no idea why. The pieces themselves are my response”.

Alena Bulatetskaya

Artist biographies

It was at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2017 that Huixin Hu and Alena Bulatetskaya initially met each other. Alena was here for a three-month exchange programme, but Huixin was an undergraduate student.

Girls began playing together thanks to the encouragement of their teachers – the outstanding violin and accordion ADLibitum Duo (Andrea and Djordje Gajic). The first Walcer Prize from the RCS chamber music competition was won by freshly formed ensemble in just two months. Mikhail Bronner’s “Jewish Luck Tango” ended up becoming the signature piece for their duo.

In daily practise, girls noticed how well they complemented each other and learned about their own qualities, such as togetherness, delicacy, passion, and hardworking nature. Huixin and Alena developed a genuine friendship in
addition to playing together. TWOgether Duo was established in 2018 when Alena made the decision to relocate to Scotland.

One year later Twogether Duo awarded Third Prize in the International Accordion Competition under the Chamber Ensemble category in Vilnius (Lithuania). At the same time Duo joined Yehudi Menuhin’s prestigious Live Music Now Scotland performance scheme, which seeks to bring music to the most disadvantaged groups in society. TWOgether Duo performs regularly, delivering live music to care homes, hospitals and additional support needs schools across the UK. Alongside with private concerts and festivals, making music live and through streaming platforms, TWOgether Duo have performed more than 40 concerts under the scheme, including a recent début appearance in Usher Hall, Edinburgh.

The repertoire of the TWOgether Duo today includes pieces by Piazzolla, Bartok dances, contemporary music, tango-oriented album, native folk roots, and Baroque masterpieces in their own arrangements.

Amy Stewart – https://www.rcs.ac.uk/festivals/event/amy-stewart/#:~:text=Having%20developed%20her%20voice%20as,%2C%20film%2C%20electronic%20and%20songwriting.

Mikhail Bronner – http://www.bronner.ru/biography-eng

Zili Li 

Arvo Pärt – https://www.arvopart.ee/en/arvo-part/

Artist biographies

Huixin Hu is a violinist from China currently in her second year of pursuing a Doctor of Performing Arts at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland researching on the pedagogical implications of Bartok’s music for strings. She was admitted to the Music School of Xi’an Conservatory of Music at the young age of 12 and studied with Professor Hui Tian and graduated in 2016. She then commenced her undergraduate studies at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) with a scholarship awarded by the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Trust. Under the tutelage of Professor Andrea Gajic, she graduated
with First-Class Honours in 2020 and continued her studies in the RCS pursuing a Master of Music (Performance) which she completed in 2022. In 2019, she was selected to perform the Sibelius Violin Concerto with the RCS Symphony Orchestra as well as the Bach Double Violin Concerto in Skibo Castle with the Skibo Strings. In 2021, she was chosen as orchestra leader for the concert entitled “Vital Signs of the Planet” in conjunction with COP 26 which was held in Glasgow, at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. She also received the honour of leading the RCS Symphony Orchestra for the Conservatoire’s first live public performance since the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown performing Beethoven Symphony No. 5 conducted by Martyn Brabbins.
Since moving to the UK to pursue her music studies, Huixin has graced the stage in concert halls appearing as both soloist and chamber musician in various countries including the United Kingdom, China, Italy, and Lithuania. As a soloist, achievements in conservatoire competitions include winning the RCS Hilda Bailey Prize for Violin including Walcer Prize (2018), Bessie Spence Prize for Violin and second prize in the Fothergill Prize for Strings (both in 2019), and a commendation in the RCS Strings Prize (2020). Her consistent performance saw her repeating her success with the Bessie Spence Prize for
Violin again in 2021. As a chamber musician Huixin won the Mabel Glover Strings Quartet Prize (2023) alongside her string quartet.

Alena Bulatetskaya is a classical accordionist from Russia who combines her passion of solo, chamber and orchestra performing. Alena intensively promotes modern accordion as a unique and colourful instrument with incredible potential. Her aim is to assist the growth and popularity of the accordion worldwide on academic stage. In 2021 Alena was endorsed as Global Talent by Arts Council of England and relocated to Edinburgh. Among her recent performances are also solo recitals in well-known venues such as St. Giles Cathedral, Usher Hall and Paxton House, organised by Live Music Now
Scotland. Alena has multiple chamber projects, which have resulted during her postgraduate study in Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Besides of established TWOgether Duo, in May of 2019 Alena shared the stage with accordionists Ryan Corbett and Valerie Barr, performing for future HM King Charles III during his official visit to the RCS. In 2020 Alena was involved to Kurt Weill’s Threepeny Opera Performance, leading accordion and harmonium part in the band under Philipp White. Working for three years as a soloist and artist of outstanding Russian Folk Orchestra “Don”, Alena became passionate about orchestra projects. She regularly performs with her home orchestra in Rostov-on-Don at the State Philharmonic. In 2020 Alena became an absolute winner of 100th Edinburgh Competition Festival and performed Galliano’s Opale Concerto with Festival Orchestra under the button of Gordon Bragg in Queens Hall. Born in 1996 and being encouraged by family of amateur musicians, Alena began her musical training at the age of six. She went on to attend Sviridov Music School and Lyceum as a student of Oxana Klevleeva, before pursuing her accordion studies with professor Liudmila Varavina at the Rostov State Conservatory. Thankfully to Erasmus+ Exchange Program and ABRSM full scholarship in 2018 Alena became a postgraduate student of Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where she studied with Djordje Gajic. During her continuous study journey Alena won 47 international music awards, including 1st Prize at the XXII International accordion competition “Citta di Lanciano (Italy), 3rd Prize at the Vilnuis International Accordion Competition (Lithuania), 1st Prize at the IX International competition and festival “Renaisssance (Armenia) and the Philipp Halstead Prize for the best concerto performance in Royal Conservatoire of Scotland 2020 (UK) Alena plays Concerto classical piano accordion made by Victoria Accordions in Castelfidardo, Italy. She is currently an accordion teacher at St. Mary’s Music School’s Saturday Music Classes.

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