Assad Brothers

Assad Brothers

Presented in association with OMNI Foundation for the Performing Arts

Sérgio Assad, guitar Odair Assad, guitar

Saturday, November 2, 2024 |  7:30pm

Herbst TheatreVenue Information


About This Performance

The Assad Brothers are approaching an astonishing 60th anniversary of setting the international standard for guitar duos. Their program features new works by Sérgio heralding the upcoming release of an anniversary album in 2025. Their exceptional artistry and uncanny ensemble playing come from both a family rich in Brazilian musical tradition and studies with heirs to the great guitar legacy of Andrés Segovia. “Call it one of the most engaging musical presentations of the season. Better yet, call it a stunning display of the music of the Western Hemisphere” (Los Angeles Times).

Artist Information

Performer Biography

Brazilian-born brothers Sérgio and Odair Assad have created a new standard of guitar innovation, ingenuity, and expression. Their exceptional artistry and uncanny ensemble playing come from a family rich in Brazilian musical tradition and studies under guitarist/lutenist Monina Távora, a disciple of Andrés Segovia. Their virtuosity has inspired a wide range of composers to write for them including Astor Piazzolla, Terry Riley, Radamés Gnattali, Marlos Nobre, Nikita Koshkin, Roland Dyens, Jorge Morel, Edino Krieger, and Francisco Mignone. Sérgio Assad has added to their repertoire by composing music for the duo and for various musical partners both with symphony orchestra and in recitals. They have worked extensively with such renowned artists as Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Gidon Kremer, and Dawn Upshaw. Odair is based in Brussels where he teaches at Ecole Supérieure des Arts, while Sérgio resides in Chicago.

The Assad Brothers began playing together at an early age, and their international career began with a major prize at the 1979 Young Artists Competition in Bratislava. Their touring programs are a compelling blend of styles, periods, and cultures stemming from a diverse repertoire. This includes folk, jazz, and various styles of Latin music along with classical repertoire such as transcriptions of the great Baroque keyboard literature of Bach, Rameau, and Scarlatti and adaptations of works by Gershwin, Ginastera, and Debussy.

Sérgio Assad premiered his concerto Phases with the Seattle Symphony. They have also collaborated with such notable orchestras as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.

In 2004, Sérgio and Odair arranged a special tour featuring three generations of the Assad family including their father, Jorge Assad [1924-2011], on the mandolin and the voice of their mother, Angelina Assad. GHA Records released a live recording and a DVD of the Assad family live at Brussels’ Palais des Beaux-Arts. Other highlights include being featured performers on James Newton Howard’s soundtrack to the movie Duplicity, a touring project entitled De Volta as Raizes (Back to Our Roots) with Lebanese-American singer Christiane Karam, percussionist Jamey Haddad, and composer/pianist Clarice Assad, a reunion of the Assad Family in Qatar and across, a tour and recording with Paquito D’Rivera called Dances from the New World, a tour with jazz guitarist Romero Lubambo, and tours with Yo-Yo Ma and other musicians from the Silkroad Ensemble.

The Assads have made a number of recordings on Nonesuch and GHA including Sérgio and Odair Assad Play Piazzolla and Jardim Abandonado, which both received Latin Grammys®. They recorded Obrigado Brazil with Yo-Yo Ma with Sérgio arranging several of the works and were featured on Yo-Yo Ma’s chart-topping release, Songs of Joy & Peace, alongside other guests as diverse as James Taylor and Dave Brubeck. Both recordings won Grammy awards. Sérgio Assad was also nominated for two Latin Classical Grammys as a composer for his works Interchange and Maraeaipe.

In 2015, Sérgio and Odair celebrated their 50th anniversary as a duo. Their first-ever performance together was in the fall of 1965 on a Brazilian television show called Boussaude. The celebration included a 27-city tour in Brazil followed by ten more in North America, highlighted at the 92nd Street Y in New York. The Guitar Foundation of America awarded the brothers with its Lifetime Achievement Award in June 2015.

Artist Video

Assad Brothers Play Albéniz’s Córdoba from Cantos de España