ZOFO Duet – This Isn’t Your Pops’ Chopsticks

Four hands. Two players. One Piano. Infinite sound possibilities. That’s how Sono Luminus recording duo, ZOFO Duet can be best described.

The team of Eva-Maria Zimmermann and Keisuke Kakagoshi, each accomplished solo-pianists in their own right, are astonishingly ravishing in their form and sound. If one could only see them in a bird’s eye overhead view for an entire performance would be a sight to behold. Over the last five years, the duo have quietly risen the ranks in the classical space, particularly amongst duet enthusiasts, even garnering two Grammy-nominations along the way. Most notable amongst the journey of ZOFO Duet is their consistent pursuit of commissioning new works, generally having at least one each year since their inception.

Mostly remaining a hidden gem to the larger classical community, ZOFO Duet’s most recent album MOSH PIT put the tag team in a whole new light, showing a rich diverse appeal with a larger repertoire background than what is typical perceived of duet acts.

The duo’s most recent performance at the Old First Concerts (viewable in the video above) has only gotten us salivating for more which is soon to be quenched with their next upcoming record, ZOFORBIT. The new album, set to drop at the end of May, will explore the more “metaphorical” galaxy works with space-cadet duets works by Gustav Holst, George Crumb, David Lang and Urmas Sisask.

The concept of performing planetary-themed works, but Zofo Duet’s candid and more rhythmic approach (which sometimes blurs jazzy/feverish hues) should provide a refreshing perspective sonically. ZOFORBIT will also be intriguing for how the duo goes about David Lang’s “Gravity,” given that it might be the most forcibly toned-down piece the group has recorded thus far.

Regardless of their style of play, Zofo Duet can be accredited for bringing back the often neglected art of dedicated piano duets.  Rarely in the past five years has a piano duet act come across so connected and lavishly sound until the gradual rise of Zimmerman and Kakagoshi.  Given the hype (and pressure) behind ZOFORBIT, the album could likely be one of the first contenders for small ensemble performance recordings of the year.

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