The Duo Deutsch
"The musical intuition between the two is truly miraculous!"
Augsburger Allgemeine Zeitung
When a passionate clarinet meets a "hot" piano - the sparks fly - not only musically.
The German clarinetist Susanne Ortner and the American pianist Tom Roberts met in 2006 in Pittsburgh while performing. Subsequently they developed a joint concert repertoire, initially a melding of two supposedly unrelated musical and cultural styles: Harlem Stride Piano and Klezmer. Tom and Susanne have not undertaken this project with any political or sociological agenda. It simply occured very naturally through their love of their retrospective musics and the desire to fuse the two musical personalities into a cohesive whole.
"… a spine-tingling fusion of klezmer and Creole magic, creating a marriage of two traditions in which each retained its identity while becoming interwoven with the other.”
Renée Silberman in a review of a concert in London/Ontario
Musical connections between the two styles were soon discovered - on old "78 rpm" records. The Roberts collection - Victrola included - numbers over 1000 records - and is consistantly growing. The two also transcribe and weave a tapestry with different musical threads , that always leaves enough space for spontaneaous improvisations and variations.
In addition to Harlem Stride and Klezmer, their affectionately called "Yiddish/Creole Fusion", the Roberts draw their inspiration as well as their repertoire from a myriad of different sources from around the world. The two artists throw Calypso, Gipsy, Tango, Rembetika, and the Valse Musette from Paris in their musical trunk. The contents will be cleverly mixed together in elaborate arrangements. The dust from precious and almost forgotton musical gems will be removed, and they will be polished to a high gloss.
The duo also immerse themselves in the Jazz-Era of the 20s, 30s, and 40s, with the music of the legendary "Small Groups" of Benny Goodman, Jelly Roll Morton, Artie Shaw, and Sidney Bechet amongst others, which come to life in painstaking accurate reproductions. These arrangements evoke the thicksweet air of New Orleans or the glamour of a shimmering dancehall somewhere in Chicago or New York City.
" I can't believe I am hearing only two musicians! Where is the orchestra hiding?“
F. Newman, Senior Director for A&R Columbia Records, Sony
Two one-of-a-kind musicians stretch the boundary of the seemingly limited duo-format. This is accomplished by Tom' use of the orchestral techniques derived from Harlem stride piano, coupled with Susanne's rich and expressive sound, amazing range, and effortless virtuosity.
This combined with intensity, virtuosity, and an instinctive sense of style characterizes the dialog between the German clarinetist and the American pianist.
"Seldom has one experienced music performed with so much joy, enthusiasm, and passion as with the Ortner-Roberts Duo.“
Augsburger Allgemeine Zeitung
Since their formation in September 2007 the Ortner-Roberts Duo have played numerous concerts in the US, Canada, and Germany.