Pasquale Rucco studied music at the Conservatorio Domenico Cimarosa in Avellino with Mario Quattrocchi. He also studied with Angelo Gilardino at the prestigious international music academy Lorenzo Perosi in Biella. Pasquale continued his training with the courses on nineteenth century music and the use of original instruments with Carlo Barone in Stresa. He has since led an international concert career, including a 1991 concert at Carnegie Hall in New York. Since the early 1990’s, he has given concerts and lectures at universities throughout the U.S. including Appalachian State University in North Carolina, the University of Arizona, Radford University in Virginia, Stetson University in Florida, and California State University at Los Angeles for the festival of The Guitar Foundation of America in 2007. In 1995, Rucco formed a duo with American guitarist Douglas James. The Rucco-James Duo specializes exclusively in the early nineteenth century guitar literature, performing on authentic period instruments. Their repertoire includes the first modern performances of recently discovered works for two guitars as well as many of the most famous masterpieces composed in the nineteenth century. Concert programs include works by famous composers Carulli, Giuliani and Sor, along with other lesser known composers such as Filippo Gragnani, Francois de Fossa, Antoine Baron de Barco, Frederic Spina, and Antoine de Lhoyer. The duo has released two albums: “Early Romantic Music for Two Guitars” including a previously unrecorded work by Francois Baron de Barco, followed by “A Night at the Opera,” featuring 19th century arrangements of works by Gioacchino Rossini.
“Thinking to the Presti-Lagoya duo, Abreu duo and Assad duo, we believe this inseparable Italian/American pair will be successfully on the same line, becoming their philological equivalent.” Musica (Italy)
Douglas James has appeared as a classical guitarist throughout the United States, Europe and Latin America. He has been a featured recitalist at such notable venues as Italy’s L’Estate Chitarristica sul Lago Maggiore, the Great Lakes Classical Guitar Festival at Oberlin Conservatory, Charleston’s Piccolo Spoleto festival, and New York’s Carnegie and Merkin Halls. Soundboard magazine noted his performances to be filled with “…appealing intensity and obvious enthusiasm.” The Arizona Daily Star described his Bach as “warm and ornate,” and his Spanish pieces as “downright sexy.” Violao Intercambio (Brazil) wrote of a recent engagement: “an impeccable performance, the sound clear and clean with beautiful interpretation from the first to the last piece.”
A noted proponent of period instrument performance, Douglas James uses 19th century guitars when playing music of the Classical and Romantic periods. In 1992, he was the top prize winner in the Arturo Toscanini Solo Guitar Competition (Italy) for 19th c. guitar performance. Twice he was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Solo Recitalist Fellowship. In addition to solo concertizing, James has played in duo with the Italian guitarist Pasquale Rucco since 1995. The Rucco-James Duo is recognized world-wide for their sophisticated interpretations of the 19th c. guitar duo literature. He also plays theorbo and guitar with the eclectic early music trio Corde Cantante, with Hazel Ketchum and Corinne Cassini.
Douglas James holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Arizona, where he studied with Thomas Patterson. He is Professor of Guitar and director of the Appalachian GuitarFest at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. He has served on the Board of Trustees for the Guitar Foundation of America.
“Douglas James’ playing on the record is for my taste totally splendid. His enthusiasm to explore the early guitar repertoire is obvious, and he has an ability to use the old instruments to their full capacity, with all of their timbral possibilities. He plays intensely and sensitively with flow, ease and elegance.”
“Douglas James clearly has a great deal of sympathy for this repertoire and a carefully worked out approach to its interpretation…everything is animated by concern for the life of the music on its own terms and in its own time. This is a welcome addition to the choice of 19th century repertoire played on genuine instruments of the time.” Classical Guitar (Great Britain)
Born in Naples (Italy), Piero Viti obtained a diploma with full marks and honours at Avellino Conservatory and after obtained in the same Conservatory the Bachelor of second level in “Guitar of the Twentieth century” with Lucio Matarazzo (Guitar) and Evy De Marco (Musical Analysis). He first studied with Stefano Aruta and then, since 1982, with Angelo Gilardino, under whose guidance he attained a High Specialization Diploma at “L. Perosi” Academy in Biella. He also attended Master Classes with Maria Luisa Anido, Manuel Barrueco, the Assad Duo and Oscar Ghiglia, and made specialized study of Musical Analysis at the Musical Academy in Pescara and Guitar Composition with Nuccio D’Angelo.
The winner of several prizes in national and international contests, Piero Viti undertook early and intense concert activity as soloist, and soloist with orchestras as well as in chamber ensembles (particularly in duo with the flutist Salvatore Lombardi and the guitarist Paolo Lambiase). Furthermore, he collaborated with other well-known artists and with leading orchestras, (Michele Placido, Trio Chitarristico di Roma, Nello Alessi, Alaria Chamber Ensemble of New York, Philarmonic Orchestra of Cluj-Napoca, Orchestra of Moldova Television, Moscow Chamber Orchestra “The Seasons”, “Nuova Scarlatti” in Naples, etc.) and held concerts and recitals in the the main concert institutions main in USA, Russia, Germany, Austria, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia, Poland, and Italy, always with unanimous affirmation by the critics. Piero Viti has been featured on numerous programs for radio and television both Italian and foreign (RAI3, Radiotre, Rete 4, Radio Vaticano, Radio France and other private networks).
Viti is also very committed to contemporary music, and has premiered new works especially dedicated to him, the revision of which he undertook on behalf of famous publishing houses. He has released many CDs, all favourably reviewed by European and Italian critics. He is currently guitar professor at the “Nicola Sala” Conservatory of Benevento (Italy). He has given master classes at prestigious international music institutions, is also regularly invited as a jury member in important national and international competitions. He is a contributor to the magazine “Guitart”, the web-magazine “dotGuitar” and also to the magazine “Falaut”. He also has published numerous Musicological articles, and has transcribed music for the guitar. He has made a number of years of research dedicated to Ferdinando Carulli, and has made numerous discoveries of unpublished music of the composer. He regularly holds conferences and seminars dedicated to Ferdinando Carulli in major international music institutions, he also edits a series of unpublished 19th c. music for guitar published by the prestigious publishing company Ut Orpheus in Bologna. Since 2015 Viti is an official endorser of the manufacturer of guitar strings Aquila Corde Armoniche.