A good guitarist should be a good critic towards himself in order to better him/herself everyday

In 2011, Raphael Bereau and Tizoc Romero joined forces in 2011 to create the “R2T2” guitar duo. Currently based in Paris, the R2T2 guitar duo has performed in North America, and across Europe including Paris, Vienna, Alcobaca, Ontinyent, Barcelona, Gorizia .They have been featured musicians at the International Guitar Festival of Paris in 2014 and the International Guitar Festival of Elx in Spain 2015.In November 2014, R2T2 published their first CD with Baros Records. Recently they performed at the “Monsoon Music Festival” which was organized by The Calcutta Classical Guitar Society and the Indian Guitar Federation.

What led to the formation of R2T2 guitar duo? How did the name come about?

We met for the first time at the age of 11 and 15 years old (Raphaël is 4 years older than me) we were in a guitar camp with same teacher and have kept in touch since then. After a few years we both went to Study with the same teacher Alvaro Pierri in Montreal, it is there that we started to play together and started the "R2T2 guitar duo" in June 2011. We created a large repertory with composers of the Baroque period as well as composers still alive. The name R2T2 guitar duo came out after we had a course with our teacher, he once told us (after we had played for him and we didn’t play so well) : Guys you sound like the robot "R2D2" !" After that we came out with the name R2T2 (replacing the "D" by "T" for Tizoc, the number 2 for the duo and "R" for Raphaël) therefore the name "R2T2 guitar duo" was created. 

Could you tell us a little bit about your influences?

Our influences were made by several duos around the world such as the Melis duo, Gruber Maklar, and many more; however we tried to find our own way of playing in order to perform the pieces of our repertoire in a more personal manner. However our musical influences are not limited to the guitar world but to the music in general, for Raphaël composers such as Steve Reich, Stravinsky and minimalist music in general, for myself having started music with my father who is a traditional mariachi Mexican musician, I was influenced by traditional mariachi Mexican music which had a big influence on my game today. This is also why we made several transcriptions from Spanish music such as Albeniz, Granados and more. 

Do you think it’s possible to talk about improvisation for classical music or we have to turn to other repertories like jazz, contemporary music, etc.? 

Improvisation may be more adapted for Jazz however in classical music during the Baroque period, improvising was also used but in a different way with composers such as Rameau, Bach or Couperin who used ornamentation to improvise. Also in music some interprets tend to take "musical" tubes in order to then improvise on them. In way through musical history improvisation has taken many forms.

What are some elements that you think make a good classical guitarist?

To say that someone is a good guitarist is to say that he does not only stay in the guitar world, many guitarist make the mistake to stay in their own guitar world without opening enough to other types of repertoire of instruments. Also a good guitarist should be a good critic towards himself in order to better him/herself everyday. He should not only focus on the technical aspect of the music but also on the musical part, the technique should only be a tool to serve the music. He should also be open to any type of music in order to get positive influences from different types of music around the world.  

You have performed in several cities around Europe and North America. What are some of the differences you  notice between the American and European audiences?

Concerning the different audience, every audience reacts different to classical guitar, it all depends how much the audience is open to discover classical guitar repertoire, however we tend to see that the north of Europe tends to be less warm than south European countries however in general we had good experiences with all the audiences regardless of where they were from including North America. 

Pic courtesy - The Calcutta Classical Guitar Society
How important are guitar festivals according to you?

Guitar festivals are important for student musicians because they are a mixture of concerts, masterclass, and help the students to help motivate each other during the working process, it is like a guitar camp that allows students to develop themselves at the best that they can.    

What are your favorite scores?

For myself my favorite music scores are more oriented towards south American music, which can be learned by ear than by reading music scores, however some composition from traditional south American composers or Debussy, Mahler, Rachmaninov speak a lot to me. For Raphaël he was since very young attracted to composers such as Steve Reich, and minimalistic music in general as well as contemporary music in general. 

How much do you think it’s important for a modern musician to know marketing? How much is crucial to be good promoters of themselves and their works in the world music of today?

Marketing is a very important for a musician and even an essential part.You can play extremely well but if you are unable to sell yourself not much people will pay attention yo your music. Sadly these days many times a good looking but average artist will be more exposed if he can sell himself well than an artist who is not as good looking, lacks charisma but plays very well. Also finding an agent can be very useful because you don't have to care then about the logistics and you can focus on your music. This also allows you in many cases to live from your passion.   

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