Neil and Tamara Caulkins have been playing guitar together since they met during a guitar ensemble rehearsal many years ago. They went on to earn masters degrees in music at the University of North Carolina – Greensboro. They then studied for a year at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Madrid, Spain, with maestro Jose Luis Rodrigo. They received scholarships to study at the international Spanish music festival in Santiago de Compostela and the Manuel de Falla International music festival in Granada. Upon their return to the United States, the duo recorded a critically acclaimed CD – there are excerpts you can listen to here – and pursued a rigorous concert schedule, including performances in New York, Calgary, and throughout the southeast and pacific northwest.
The duo has commissioned several new works for two guitars including Three Cherokee Legends by Sarah Pierce, Kootenai East, Op. 56 by Michael E. Young, Pentamerisms by Michael Daugherty, and Water Leaves by Bruce Reiprich.
A forgotten manuscript of duets by Isidro de Laporta (fl. 1790-1820) on the shelves of the Royal Conservatory library in Madrid introduced Neil and Tamara to a wealth of early nineteenth century music for two guitars. They are currently bringing this repertoire to life through research in archival sources and a study of historically informed performance practices on early nineteenth century instruments.