First stage 2000-2011
(formerly Dúo Hammel-Sánchez)
Elena Hammel (from Puerto Rico) and Laura Sánchez (from Spain) met in 1997 while completing their Master’s Degrees in Piano Performance at the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin. In 1999, they made their debut playing a four hands recital at Los Jameos del Agua Auditorium in Lanzarote, Canary Islands. That was the beginning of the Dúo Scarbó.
Their performances drew attention from concert promoters and the duo was immediately engaged to perform recitals for two pianos, their first being Bartók’s Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion at the 20th Century Music Festival in San Juan de Puerto Rico.
Perhaps the most important influence on the Duo Scarbó was the two years they were coached by Hungarian pianist/teacher Ferenc Rados: his advice was essential to attain what they like to refer to as an “organic” vision of the score —the continuous flow of music emerging from its most fundamental rhythmic base—.
Since 2001, the Duo has received Prizes in every international chamber music and piano duo competition in which they have participated (Spain, France, Italy, USA, etc.).
The Duo has also taken a special interest in the performance of contemporary repertoire for four hands, especially that of living Spanish composers. Their performances included world premieres of works by Spanish and American composers written especially for the Duo Scarbó, and they have also performed Spanish and Puerto Rican premieres of major 20th century works, such as George Crumb’s Celestial Mechanics.
Their performances have taken them to both shores of the Atlantic Ocean and to the Pacific, in events ranging from piano duo recitals in 2000-seat concert halls and world renowned music festivals, to educational concerts in intimate venues, engagements with symphony orchestras and radio and television guest appearances. Critics in a wide array of countries have called their duo “engaging” , “brilliant”, and “a marriage of true minds”.
Audience appeal and reaction to their performances has also been excellent judging by their frequently sold-out performances and repeat engagements.
Duo Scarbó has recorded two CDs (under the Dúo Hammel – Sánchez name). The first one of music for 1 piano 4 hands by Stravinsky, Schubert, Corigliano and Ravel. The second CD, 176 Keys to Europe, consist of early 20th Century works for two pianos by Debussy, Infante, Milhaud, Lutoslawski and Rachmaninoff.