BIO (english)

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The Pittenger/Rocha Duo, although recently formed, is in fact the result of many years of collaboration, ensemble work, and collection of repertoire. Fernando and Elise began playing together in the Contemporary Music Ensemble (CME) at McGill University, while pursuing doctoral studies in 2006. They currently participate in two contemporary music ensembles in Brazil: Oficina Musica Viva, and Sonante 21. Since 2010, they have been collecting repertoire for percussion and cello and commissioning new works, including pieces by Portuguese composer João Pedro Oliveira (professor at the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais), by Sérgio Rodrigo (a young prized Brazilian composer), and a solo cello work by Brazilian Sergio Freire (also a professor at UFMG). Commissions in progress include works by American composer Douglas Boyce and Canadian composer Tawnie Olson. Their duo concerts present an exciting combination of contrasting and provocative works and include the use of electronics, theatre and improvisation. 

Cellist Elise Pittenger is currently Acting Principal Cello of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Minas Gerais, in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. She holds a doctorate in cello performance from McGill University, a Master’s of Music from Rice University, and a Bachelor’s of Arts from Yale University. Elise’s musical background includes a wide range of styles. In addition to extensive orchestral work in both the US and Brazil, she is a former cellist of the Haven String Quartet in New Haven and the social project, Music Haven. She has also performed with Matt Haimovitz’s award-winning cello ensemble, Uccello, and worked with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, combining eastern and western musics. During her doctoral studies, she became increasingly interested in performing contemporary music and commissioning new works. In Brazil, she performs with two contemporary music groups: Oficina Musica Viva, and Sonante 21. Elise is a committed teacher and has taught at schools and festivals in Barcelona, Houston, Baltimore, New Haven, Honduras, and Belo Horizonte. Her teachers include Pansy Chang, Rhonda Rider, Norman Fischer, and Matt Haimovitz.

© Fernando Rocha 2015