Sergio and Odair Assad

Con-Duo_Assad_150When brothers Sergio and Odair Assad began playing the guitar, they were children with promising talent; but the skill they developed led them into a musical partnership which has lasted more than fifty years. Today, Sergio and Odair Assad dazzle their audiences with perfectly synchronized style and nearly telepathic musical rapport.

The Assads were born in São Paolo, Brazil to a musical family of Lebanese immigrants. The inquisitive boys began playing the guitar almost simultaneously, and their father, who played the mandolin, gave them their first music lessons. Perhaps most importantly, he taught them to appreciate the folk music of their native country.Later the talented twosome studied with guitarist Monina Tavora, a protogée of legendary guitarist Andres Segovia. Then, Sergio and Odair’s international career began with a major prize at the 1979 Young Artists Competition in Bratislava, Slovakia.

Each of the Assad Brother’s concerts is compelling. Their repertoire includes original music composed by Sergio, the older of the two brothers, in addition to adaptations of folk, jazz, Latin music, and standard guitar classics. In addition to their live performances, the Assads also collaborate with other renouned composers and artists, including Astor Piazzola, master of modern tango, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Nadja Solerno-Sonnenberg, and clarinetist Paquito D’Rivera.

Sergio and Odair have won several Latin Grammys for their recordings. The brothers received their first award in 2002 for Sergio and Odair Assad Play Piazzolla. Three years later Sergio earned a second Latin Grammy for his work with Yo-Yo Ma on Obrigado Brazil.

Even with success and critical acclaim, something was still missing from the Assad Brother’s musical soul. “Our roots in Arab music were lost with migration and assimilation,” Sergio said. So the talented brothers began to investigate the unfamiliar world of Arab music hoping for a musical reconnection with their Lebanese heritage.“With our music we are merging two cultures,” he explained.

Their exploration was successful when the brothers produced their seventh CD Jardim Abandonado. In 2008 it was nominated for Best Classical Album, and Sergio received another Latin Grammy for Tahhiyya Li Ossoulina, an electrifying composition on the album which pays tribute to his Lebanese ancestry.

Currently, Odair Assad lives in Brussels where he teaches at the École Supérieur des Arts, and Sergio resides in San Francisco where he is on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.