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Sérgio and Odair Assad

Humanitas Visiting Professors in Classical Music and Music Education 2015-2016
Sérgio and Odair Assad

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.

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 Belgium where he teaches at the Mons’ Ecole Supérieure des Arts, while Sérgio resides in San Francisco where he is on the faculty of the San Francisco 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.

In 2015, Sérgio and Odair celebrate their 50th anniversary as a duo. Their first ever performance together was in the fall of 1965 on a Brazilian television show called Boussaude, where they played with famed chôro composer Jacob do Bandolim. They started, in April 2015, with a 27-city tour in Brazil followed by ten more in North America, highlighted by a celebration at the 92nd Street Y in New York featuring their dear friends Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and Paquito D'Rivera. The Guitar Foundation of America awards the Assad Brothers with its Lifetime Achievement Awards in June 2015.