The Viola and Accordion duo by Esra Pehlivanli and Marko Kassl was founded in 2004 and shortly after they gave their debut during the Grachtenfestival in Amsterdam.

PEHLIVANLI (Ankara, 1977) studied with the eminent violist Mikhail Kugel and holds diplomas of master degree from the Gent Conservatory in Belgium and the Maastricht Conservatory in the Netherlands, finishing both degrees with the highest distinction. She has won several prizes such as the Krzyzstof Penderecki International Contemporary Music Competition (Poland), Torneo Internazionale di Musica (Italy) and the first prize in Premio Valentino Bucchi International Viola Competition (Italy), where she obtained a Presidential Medal of Honour. Since 2010 she is guest professor at the Hogeschool Gent Conservatorium in Belgium.

As a chamber music ensemble, Duo MARES was prize winner at the Jur Naessens Music Award 2009 (The Netherlands) with their multidisciplinary project Volume Nuevo+.

The repertory of Duo MARES spans from transcriptions of the masterpieces from the past, up to original works of the present time. The duo is at the moment working intensively with today’s composers, in order to create new repertory for this unique combination. Over thirty compositions have been dedicated to the duo by composers such as Ivo Petric (SL), Chiel Meijering (NL), Bruno Strobl (A), Nico Huijbregts (NL), Gerard Beljon (NL), Sinta Wullur (NL), Matthias Grimminger (DE), Andreas Kunstein (DE), Yigit Kolat (TR), Gokce Altay (TR), Anne La Berge (USA) among many others, including the first composition for Viola, Accordion and Symphony Orchestra by Selim Dogru (TR). In 2013 they will premiere the new double concerto for viola and accordion by German composer Frank Zabel, a commission of Neue Philharmonie Westfalen.

Duo MARES has presented a great variety of concerts in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Turkey, Slovenia, Luxembourg and participated in festivals such as Internationaal Kamermuziek Festival Utrecht, Grachtenfestival, Kamermuziekfestival Hoorn in The Netherlands, Dutch German festival De Wohltemperierte Accordeon , Akkorde-On-Stage in Austria, International Ankara Music Festival, International Mersin Music Festival in Turkey , Ljubljana Festival in Slovenia and Dortmund Mommenta Festival and Mommenta Münsterland Festival in Germany.

Duo MARES also recorded for radio stations like TRT Turkey, RTV Slovenia and Concertzender Holland.

2010 the debut CD of Duo MARES – “VOLUME NUEVO” – was released at the label classic-clips. This premiere recording includes a selection of the compositions dedicated to Duo MARES between 2006 and 2009.

In 2012 Cagsav Müzik released the album “Richness of the Tones” of Duo MARES – its program consists mainly of original compositions written for the duo by turkish composers, amongst others it also contains the world premiere recording of Selim Dogru’s double concerto “Devil’s Diary” for viola, accordion and symphony orchestra.

Besides the Duo MARES may also be heard on various composers’ portrait CDs – Nico Huijbregts “Falsche Tango” (2010) and Roderik de Man’s “Past & Present Tracks” (2011).

Sound examples of Duo MARES: AUDIO/VIDEO and CDs.

For the full repertory and further information about Duo MARES please take a look at their website