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. They commissioned and premiered numerous works by composers from diverse backgrounds and performed in Europe, Asia, and across the United States. Highlights of the 2018-2019 season include the world premiere of Double Concerto for Violin, Piano, and String Orchestra by a celebrated Uzbek composer Dilorom Saidaminova with Sinfonia da Camera in Urbana, Illinois, Mozart Double Concerto with Salisbury Symphony Orchestra in Maryland, and the world premiere of Violin Sonata No. 2 by African-American composer James Lee III at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.