Brazilian-born brothers Sérgio and Odair Assad have set the benchmark for all other guitarists by creating 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 (1921-2011), a disciple of Andrés Segovia. In addition to setting new performance standards, the Assads have played a major role in creating and introducing new music made for two guitars. 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. Now Sérgio Assad is adding 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 Yo-Yo Ma, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Romero Lubambo, Paquito D’Rivera, Gidon Kremer and Dawn Upshaw.
The Assad Brothers began playing the guitar together at an early age and went on to study for seven years with Dona Monina. Their international career began with a major prize at the 1979 Young Artists Competition in Bratislava. Odair is based in Brussels where he teaches at Ecole Supérieure des Arts, while Sérgio resides in San Francisco where he is on the faculty of the SF Conservatory.
The Assad’s repertoire includes original music composed by Sérgio and his own take on classic folk and jazz music, as well as various styles of Latin music. Their classical repertoire includes transcriptions of the great Baroque keyboard literature of Bach, Rameau, and Scarlatti and adaptations of works by such diverse figures as Gershwin, Ginastera, and Debussy; thus making their touring programs a compelling blend of styles, periods and cultures.