Piano and guitar duets are a rare beast but in the hands of mimi duo (Duncan Gardiner – guitar and Setsu Masuda – piano), the result is breathtaking and beautiful. Gardiner and Masuda each bring their own specialities to create a magical blend of music including exotic impressions from Japan and Spain, to intricate works of Bach, sweet sorbets of Schubert, passionate tangos and heartfelt originals. mimi has captivated audiences since their inception in 2012 and are establishing a lasting musical collaboration through their many concert engagements across the state. 2016 will see mimi take to the international stage as they tour Japan.
Their current repertoire spans works by Bach, Schubert, Boccherini, Piazolla, Rodrigo, and Westlake, alongside heartfelt original works by Gardiner and fiery arrangements by Masuda. New additions to their repertoire feature exquisite arrangements of Japanese folk tunes by Katsuhito Inoue as well as other works by Japanese composers Takashi Yoshimatsu and Ryuichi Sakamoto.
The duo have performed at the UWA alongside one of the world’s most renowned guitarists, Craig Ogden, and are regulars at the iconic Ellington Jazz Club. In 2015, mimi featured as guest soloists with the Fremantle Symphony Orchestra. mimi have also been special guest performers at WAAPA and a range of established music societies of WA, as well as Classics at the Chapel in Margaret River. Highlights of their musical calendars are their collaborations with the Aria Quintet. mimi was invited to perform at the Abbey Church, New Norcia - “It was the most moving, impressive and original concert we have had here.” (Dom Robert Nixon, New Norcia). mimi continue their regular soirées for Roses and Hearts concert series.
Setsu Masuda: pianist
Setsu Masuda started her music career later in her life when she returned to play and study the piano in 2009 and now holds both the Associate and Licentiate Diplomas from the Australian Music Examinations Board. She was invited to perform as a soloist at the AMEB awards ceremony, held at the University of Western Australia.
Since 2012, Setsu has been performing with renowned guitarist Duncan Gardiner in mimi duo, and also enjoys performing in a variety of chamber music groups with members of Perth Symphony Orchestra. She has appeared as a guest soloist with the Fremantle Symphony Orchestra for the premiere performances of Duncan Gardiner's works.
Setsu is currently the artistic director of an intimate chamber music series Roses and Hearts which raises money for the victims of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster in Japan. She hosts and collaborates with her mentor, renowned pianist Adam Pinto, and also with her duo partner Duncan Gardiner, as well as various special guest artists from WASO. Her recent interests are in the collaboration between music, literature and visual arts. She also enjoys creating musical arrangements for mimi’s concert repertoire. This album Falling Like Tears is her first album as mimi duo.
Duncan Gardiner: guitarist, composer and arranger
Classical guitarist and composer, Duncan Gardiner, is emerging as one of Australia’s leading musicians. Having released three albums, published a book of original works and toured internationally,
Duncan has been described as “exceedingly talented” (Julian Day, ABC Classic FM) and as “an excellent ambassador for the classical guitar”.
His playing has been described by audiences as “delicate, serene and magical”, while William Yeoman (The West), described his “extraordinarily attractive music [as] not only a pleasure to listen to but a delight to play”.
Duncan was honoured to be included in Ron K. Payne’s publication The Twang Dynasty, a history of notable Australian performers.
Duncan’s second album Incense & Arabie was warmly received by reviewer, Rosalind Appleby (Noted), who exclaimed, “the works are pensive, melodically exquisite and immaculately performed and produced”. Similarly, Duncan’s debut album Of Dreams and Fantasy impressed Chris Dumigan (Classical Guitar Magazine, UK) who stated: “I must say that this is one of the very best CDs of guitar music to ever come my way... I have returned to this CD more than most others just for the sheer pleasure of it. This is a startlingly good disc”. It is no wonder that it was voted ‘CD of the Week’ in the West Australian newspaper (2009). Each of his albums receives regular national airplay on ABC Classic FM.
Duncan is active as a composer and published a book of original works in 2009. He has been commissioned to compose music for a number of prestigious groups and organisations. In 2014, the Western Australian Youth Orchestra’s Sinfonietta premiered his commission Sharp Light and Spirals at the Perth Concert Hall. Duncan’s work Dance (like nobody’s watching) was premiered by the Newman College concert band and choir at the Sydney Opera House. The Fremantle Symphony Orchestra presented world premieres of two of his orchestral suites. Of these works, Neville Cohn (The West) said: “These works reveal evidence of a real creative gift… They are written with real understanding of what works in rhythmical and sonic terms. Whether lulling or emphatic, they delighted the ear”. A recent commission by Rossmoyne Senior High School will see performances of his works across Italy in 2016.