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BIOGRAPHY

Formed in 2002, Duo Transatlantique combines the prize-winning talents of guitarists Benjamin Beirs and Maud Laforest. Soon after beginning their studies at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD, the two decided to form a guitar duo, under the guidance of Julian Gray, an acclaimed chamber musician and founder of the Gray-Pearl guitar duo. In 2005, Ben embarked on his first journey to France, where the duo won first prize in the Union Française des Artistes Musiciens Guitar Duo Competition and played a concert in the American Cathedral in Paris. Since then, they have continued touring annually. Currently, Maud lives in Reims, France, while Benjamin, after staying in Baltimore for 10 years, has moved to Paris, France.

Duo Transatlantique's energetic and varied programming creates concerts "...of a rare freshness and modernity" (Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace) that is a celebration of the power of music and its ability to cross bridges, cultures, and time zones. In France, the duo has appeared at the Festival des Chapelles in Brittany, the Festival Européen Jeunes Talents in Paris, Les Jeudis Musicaux de Royan, and regularly performs outreach concerts in Paris and Reims. In the United States, the duo has performed at the Kennedy Center for the performing arts, the Phillips Collection, the Peabody Conservatory of music, the Music in the Great Hall series, as well as for the Baltimore, New York, and Triangle Classical Guitar Societies. During their tour of England in the fall of 2010, they were praised for their "faultless display of ensemble work" (Kidderminster Shuttle) and demonstrated "one of the finest displays of partnership." (West Sussex Guitar Club)

Their second album is entitled "From Moment to Moment." It features arrangements of the French film score "Amelie" by Yann Tiersen and includes music by Penicaud, Joplin, Bellinati, Scarlatti, L'Hoyer, and Franck. The French magazine Guitare Classique writes, "The sonority is rich and one of the most flattering we've ever heard..." MusicWeb International wrote in a recent review, "Their ten years together has evidently given them an intimate understanding of each other's technique and phraseology, and together they radiate a listener-pleasing authority and enjoyment." Their debut album, entitled "Le Gris et le Vert" (The Grey and the Green) includes music of Debussy, Scarlatti, Petit, Albeniz, and Villoldo.

Critical Acclaim
"This dynamic young guitar duo will entrance you with the drama and variety of their performances. A concert by Duo Transatlantique is a "don't miss" musical opportunity!"
– Peter Landgren, Director, Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory

"Benjamin Beirs and Maud Laforest are resolutely virtuosic and their concert elicited many reactions of admiration. Certain people such as Chrisine ... are enthusiastic: ‘their playing is magnificent and inspires me enormously’. Karen and Franck are completely ecstatic: ‘it's the best concert we've ever heard’"
– Les dernières nouvelles d‘Alsace - 11/28/2008
"They played not only with technical perfection, but also with passion and feeling, keeping an uncanny, delicate balance between them. They were received with enormous enthusiasm and my office received a number of requests for their contact information in the days following this performance."
– William R. Brody, President, Johns Hopkins University

"Duo Transatlantique combines the considerable talents of two young musicians helping to create the future of the guitar. They use their impeccable ensemble and brilliant virtuosity to create performances of rhythmic verve and passionate lyricism. Not to be missed."
– Julian Gray, Peabody Institute guitar faculty
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