The Magma Duo is named after the piece ‘In de Magmakamer’ (‘In the Magma Chamber’) by Reza Namavar, which was a work commissioned for the National Oskar Back Violin Competition 2011, the most important violin competition in the Netherlands for violinists aged 17-26. During this edition of the competition, Emmy Storms (violin) and Cynthia Liem (piano) received the award for the best rendition of this compulsory piece, after which they decided on continuing as a regular ensemble called the ‘Magma Duo’. Emmy and Cynthia have known each other since the start of their music degree studies at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague. They immediately had a lot of fun together, and quickly converged into the same musical direction.
Recently, the Magma Duo auditioned for the Dutch Classical Talent Tour and Award, a prestigious national concert tour and career development program for recently graduated musicians, and was chosen as one of the four laureates for the 2014-2015 concert season. Because of this, in November and December 2014 the duo will undertake a concert tour past all major chamber music stages in The Netherlands, with lots of special publicity by Radio 4, the national classical music radio station.
In 2014, the Magma Duo won the first prize in the senior category of the ‘A Feast of Duos!’ international competition for violin-piano duos in Sion, Switzerland. Besides, the duo received two more special prizes: the ‘Konzerthaus Prize’ and the ‘Käch Artists Prize’, which will lead to a concert engagement in the Viennese Konzerthaus, and a concert engagement organized by Käch Artists Management. Thanks to their participation in this competition and sponsoring of the Dutch Classical Talent Tour and Award, the Magma Duo also got the chance to work with Aleksey Igudesman and Hyung-ki Joo, who are among the duo’s greatest musical idols.
According to the judges of the Dutch Classical Talent Tour and Award auditions, the Magma Duo convinces through its ‘energetic playing which evokes reactions’. Indeed, the duo has a fiery, passionate stage presence, while also taking the joy that both Emmy and Cynthia have in performing together to the stage. During duo rehearsals, the duo always leaves room for experiments, humor and spontaneity, which often leads to surprising, fresh insights. Always looking for challenges, the duo enjoys going off the beaten path in terms of programming, with special interest in contemporary, Dutch and lesser-known repertoire. In all this, the mission of the duo always remains to be as convincing as possible in interpreting the message of a composer, and to be as accessible as possible in communicating this to the audience.