Cellist Julian Schwarz and pianist Marika Bournaki met as students at the Aspen Music Festival in 2006. Over the subsequent years they reconnected at the Verbier festival in Switzerland, and as students at the Juilliard School in New York City. They began their musical collaboration in 2014 and made their debut together in recital at the Austrian Embassy in Washington DC for the Embassy Series.
In November, 2016 the duo won 1st prize in the Boulder International Chamber Music Competition’s inaugural “The Art of Duo” from an applicant pool of over 150. During the 17-18 season they will present 1st prizewinner recitals at the Boulder Bach Festival, as well as debuts at the University Club (NYC), Museum of the Shenandoah Valley (VA), Musical Club of Hartford (CT), Bravo Niagara! Festival (ON), the complete Bach Gamba Sonatas at Bargemusic (NYC), and a Stutchevsky retrospective at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research (NYC).
In March 2017 the duo embarked on a 10-recital tour of China, including the grand-opening performance at the new concert hall in Qianjiang. Past engagements include recitals at the National Arts Club (NYC), Bargemusic (Brooklyn, NYC), Thurnauer School of Music (Tenafly, NJ), University of North Carolina Greensboro (Eastern Music Festival), Danbury Music Center (CT), Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival (MA), Rosenegg Castle (Steyr, Austria), Paul Hall at The Juilliard School, Hammond Chamber Music Series (Boston, MA), Peninsula College (Port Angeles, WA), Second City Chamber Series (Tacoma, WA), Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance (Nova Scotia, Canada), and an appearance on the prizewinners program at the Mozarteum, Salzburg.
The duo released its first recording, the complete music for cello and piano of Ernest Bloch, in 2015 for the Milken Archive of American Jewish Music, and released the world premiere recording of Bright Sheng’s “Northern Lights” in summer 2017 on the Naxos label. The duo’s debut album, highlighting music of Schumann, Strauss, Poulenc, Beethoven, and Kreisler, recorded in spring 2016, will be released in early 2018.
As teaching artists, the duo is in residence at the Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance (NS), and as part of the Mile-End Trio at the Eastern Music Festival. The Mile-End Trio includes violinist Jeff Multer, and will perform as resident artists on the Palladium Chamber Music Series in St. Petersburg, FL, as well as a NY debut at the National Arts Club in June 2018.
Mr. Schwarz and Ms. Bournaki have appeared on WUOL (Louisville, KY) and in hour-long live radio broadcasts for “Northwest Focus Live” on Classical King FM 98.1 (Seattle, WA) and “Backstage Pass” for WXXI (Rochester, NY). The duo has worked closely with violinists Mark Fewer, Yevgeny Kutik, Eric Silberger, Frank Almond, Avi Nagin, and Mark Peskanov, as well as given a performance of the Beethoven Triple Concerto with violinist Jo Nardolillo and the Lake Union Civic Orchestra in Seattle, WA.
Marika Bournaki is a Canadian pianist from Montreal, QC. She has toured internationally as soloist and recitalist, and was the subject of the award-winning documentary “I am Not a Rockstar”, chronicling her development from age 12 to 20. She received both BM and MM degrees from The Juilliard School, and is a member of Piano Six, the Next Generation.
Julian Schwarz is an American cellist from Seattle, WA. He was the 1st prizewinner in the 2013 Inaugural Schoenfeld International String Competition in Hong Kong, and is currently Asst. Professor of Cello at the Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester VA. He is an international soloist and active contributor to Strings Magazine’s Artist Blog.