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Harriet Mackenzie and Philippa Mo, violins

Philippa and Harriet met at the Royal Academy of Music, London and discovered a shared passion for contemporary music as well as the wealth of rarely heard repertoire for two violins. Since they started performing together they have given recitals at the Barbican Centre as part of the Park Lane Young Artists Series in the Mostly Mozart Festival, LSO St Luke’s, Jersey Liberation Music Festival, Goldsmith’s Centre for Russian Music, Bedford Park Festival, West Road Concert Hall in Cambridge, and the 2D2N International Festival of Contemporary Music in Odessa, Ukraine where Retorica performed seven new commissions by leading British composers.

In 2011, Retorica completed a successful tour of China giving concerts in five cities including recitals at the major concert halls in Beijing (NCPA) and Shanghai (SHAOC) supported by the couture designer Hiroko Koshino and the Tillett Trust. Retorica were also Artists in Residence at the Presteigne Festival 2012 both in recital and concerto performances, which included a performance of Paul Patterson’s double violin concerto and a new commission by Cecilia McDowall. Composers who have written and dedicated music to the duo include Dmitri Smirnov, Sadie Harrison, Robert Fokkens and Ben Ellin.

In 2012, Retorica recorded John McCabe’s double concerto Les Martinets Noirs with Orchestra Nova, conducted by George Vass, for the Dutton label.

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Ben McMillan