DUO MEMDI: EMBRACING DIVERSITY
Award-winning Duo MemDi was founded by violinist Igor Kalnin and pianist Rochelle Sennet in the summer of 2010, when they served on the faculty at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan. The objective of Duo MemDi is to perform music that embraces the diversity of world cultures. Particularly, they focus on commissioning and performing music of composers from underrepresented groups. They believe that classical music should be an integral part of the diversity, inclusivity and equality movement, and serve as an indispensable tool in promoting social justice. All of the Duo’s live performances are from memory – a rare feat in the world of chamber music. They feel that it allows for a connection to composers’ ideas in a more holistic, insightful way. These ideals inspired the name of the duo: Mem[ory] and Di[versity] = MemDi.
Since its inception, the Duo performed a broad variety of repertoire by memory, including sonatas of Bartók, Beethoven, Brahms, Franck, Prokofiev, and James Lee III, and a large number of violin and piano showpieces. Their live performances were praised by the press for the “virtuoso-level of duo playing” (John Frayne, The News-Gazette). The duo commissioned and premiered numerous works by composers from diverse backgrounds and performed in Europe, Asia, and across the United States. Some of the recent highlights included the world premiere of “Breath of the East” for Violin, Piano, and String Orchestra by a celebrated Uzbek composer Dilorom Saidaminova with Sinfonia da Camera in Urbana, Illinois (with consequent performance with Rose Chamber Orchestra at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan), Mozart Double Concerto with Salisbury Symphony Orchestra in Maryland, Mendelssohn Double Concerto with Chamber Orchestra Turkistan in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and the world premiere of Violin Sonata No. 2 by a prominent African-American composer James Lee III at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.