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A marriage of music plays in Columbia

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Chamber music players typically spend so much time together that it can seem like a professional marriage. In the case of Duo Amaral, it's an actual marriage. These husband and wife guitarists perform for the Sundays at Three series on May 19 at Christ Episcopal Church in Columbia.

Mia Pomerantz-Amaral and her husband, Jorge Amaral, started their guitar duo in Baltimore in 2008. Mia is from Israel, Jorge is from Mexico, and they separately were drawn to this city by the Peabody Institute's highly regarded guitar program. Indeed, both of them have earned graduate-level degrees at Peabody, where they studied with world-famous guitarists Manual Barrueco and Julian Gray.

"Peabody has some of the best teachers in the world and has a large program," Mia says from their home in the Baltimore City neighborhood of Federal Hill.

"All the guitarists are friends (at Peabody), so we knew each other and started dating and that's the end of that," Mia adds with a laugh.

Although this guitar duo only performed a few concerts a year in its early years, last year it did 20 concerts both locally and internationally.

The upcoming concert is the first time Mia and Jorge have performed in the Sundays at Three series, but they've previously performed for such Baltimore-area presenters as the Baltimore Classical Guitar Society and the music store An Die Musik.

The Sundays at Three concert will begin with baroque music in the first half and then move into music from the 19th and 20th centuries in the second half. Most of the pieces on the program are part of the standard guitar repertoire, but Mia and Jorge have transcribed several classical pieces originally written for other instruments so that they can be played by a guitar duo. "We try to find pieces that are not necessarily for guitar and do our own arrangements," she explains.

On the Sundays at Three program are Domenico Scarlatti's Sonata in A minor, K. 175; Giovanni Battista Sammartini's Sonata in G Major; George Frideric Handel's Chaconne (with 21 variations); Antonio Vivaldi's L'estro Harmonico Concerto No. 9; Cesar Franck's Prelude, Fugue and Variation, Op. 18; and Joaquin Rodrigo's Tonadilla.

Mia and Jorge are very active on the guitar scene, with awards, teaching, touring and recording to keep them busy.

She is a prize winner in the Guitar Gems Competition in Netanya, Israel, and also the Fernando Sor Guitar Competition in Rome.

He currently teaches at the Conservatory of Baldwin Wallace University in Ohio. In fact, they both do a lot of teaching. Between his Ohio position, the Levine School of Music in Washington, D.C., and their own private teaching, Mia says that they have around 100 students combined.

Their debut album in 2011 includes a composition written by Jorge's father.

And the international touring includes concerts in Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, Panama, Cyprus, Poland and, of course, Israel and Mexico. Now they can add Howard County to the list.

Duo Amaral performs Sunday, May 19, at 3 p.m. at Christ Episcopal Church, 6800 Oakland Mills Road in Columbia. Tickets are $15; 17 and under are free when accompanied by a paying adult. Call 443-288-3179 or go to http://www.SundaysAtThree.org.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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