Duo Gelland - violinists Cecilia and Martin Gelland

reinventing violin duo since 1994

This eminent European ensemble turned an 18th century concept into the driving force of contemporary exploration. Their passionate, profound and playful interpretations earned them the Annual German Record Critics' Award 2008, Swedish Nutida Sound 2011, Fanfare Yearbook 2001. They revive forgotten gems with historically inspired insight, and in close collaboration with composers they bring new scores to life - so far nearly 200. Duo Gelland premiered and performed duos and double concerti in Berliner Philharmonie both halls, Konzertverein Wien, Grünewaldsalen Stockholm, Tonhalle Zürich.

Swedish Allan Pettersson's fearless hour long cycle for two violins from 1951 has a strong position in the Gelland's repertory. Their recording of the cycle for BIS in 1999 launched their international career and still inspires many composers to dedicate works to them. They also keep coming back to Luigi Nono's late philosophical duo, Giorgio Netti's inoltre for prepared violins, James Dillon's Traumwerk as well as Birgitte Alsted's Zweigeigen, premiered in Berlin.

Since the beginnings they seek the mutually stimulating, artistic dialogue with children. Many new duos were first performed in a classroom. For almost 10 years they were artists in residence in Strömsund, a vast, sparsely populated municipal in northern Sweden. During Duo Gelland's yearly residencies at University of Minnesota, Minneapolis and Duluth their work with kids in inner city schools is subject to documentation and research. They are guest lecturers at Musikhochschule Leipzig.


Under Hans Christoph Rademann they premiered a handfull works for violin duo and choir, some of them with RIAS Kammerchor in Berliner Philharmonie and some on tour with Dresdner Kammerchor. With RilkeEnsemblen under Gunnar Eriksson, they gave the first performances of Contemporary Mass in Global Crisis including texts by poets from Sapmi and Gotland. Håkan Larsson's (1959-2012) Angesicht in Angesicht for violin duo and orchestra, commissioned by Rikskonserter, was premiered in Berliner Philharmonie as a tribute to film maker Ingmar Bergman. Olov Franzén's double concerto was premiered with NorrlandsOperan's Symphony Orchestra in Umeå Spring 2014, while the city was European Capital of Culture. Alexander Keuk's double concerto was premiered and performed 2013 with Mittelsächsische Philharmonie under Jan Michael Horstmann.


Duo Gelland are deeply grateful to all those living composers of diverse ages, paths and nationalities dedicating works to them thus contributing to the repertoire of the violin duo making it richer and more heterogeneous for every new year.
Naming a few but remembering all: Giorgio Netti (Italy), Bernd Franke (Leipzig), Sanna Ahvenjärvi (Finland), Ingvar Karkoff (Stockholm), Hans-Joachim Hespos (Bremen), Rolf Martinsson (Malmö), Nikolaus Brass (München), Madeleine Isaksson (Paris), Ole Lützow-Holm (Gothenburg), Marie Samuelsson (Stockholm), Samuel Adler (NYC), Sunleif Rasmussen (Faroe Islands), Carin Bartosch Edström (Stockholm), Fredrik Hagsted (Gothenburg), Victoria Bond (NYC), Adam Zahller (Lincoln, Nebraska), Gunnar Bucht (Stockholm).


Duo Gelland keeps experimenting with the synthesis of sound, motion and word in a context of meaning and emotional structure. They presented an experimental violin duo theatre at the Kalv Festival and International Venue for New Music. Here they had worked closely together with Birgitte Alsted, composer and Britta Hanssen, choreographer. The surrealistic text by Albanian author Kasëm Trebeshina added to the many layered texture, evoking strong political and existential reflections with a presence of wit. At Göteborgs Stadsteater in 30 performances of Dante's Divine Comedy stage director Etienne Glaser invited them to play, act, dance. During Stockholm New Music the physically demanding EPIDEMIC was premiered, a collaboration with composer Ole Lützow-Holm, stage director Jon Tombre, electronic noise artist Lasse Marhaug and video artist Gisle Frøysland.

Open score

The chance and challenge of the open score was affectionately pursued in the decade long experiments with Ole Lützow-Holm's Terra - first performed in Berliner Philharmonie, later within Epidemic and summer 2012 recorded in an eight channel version inviting the listener to interaction at the switchboard. They found great fascination with Bruno Maderna's open score Serenata per un satellite, which they also recorded summer 2012.

Historic violin duo

As long as there were violins, there have been violin duos, and this constellation was quite popular by the end of the 18th century. String duos were printed more often than any other genre, and the largest portion of them were for two violins. Duo Gelland received a national grant for the purpose of searching in archives and libraries throughout Europe for forgotten violin duos.

Duo Gelland feel, that working with historic music, its rich articulation and organic sense of time, enhances their understanding of contemporary music, while on the other hand, the work with contemporary music focusing on versatility of sounds and textures, opens their ears for aspects of the 18th and 19th century manuscripts. Duo Gelland's lively, articulate and improvisatory approach to the historic repertory owes its initial impulses to Roy Goodman.
Their recital programs often seek a dialogue between present and past.

The oldest counterparts of the Gellands may be the Sirmens - Maddalena Lombardini Sirmen and Lodovici Sirmen - an international violin duo couple in the mid 18th century. Other duos in the 19th century were the sisters Milanollo, the Swedish Berwald brothers and the English Holmes brothers, to whom Louis Spohr dedicated his last duos. Spohr himself went on tour with Franz Eck. One would be mistaken to think that the violin duo was a mere pedagogic device. Louis Spohr's violin school is Duo Gelland's guide to thought provoking inspiration in the work with his 13 large scale, remarkable violin duos. Gellands prefer to perform them on gut strings, presently searching for an authentic 19th century hall to record them in.


Maegan Sparks, Duo Gelland: Allan Pettersson, Masterpiecefinder.com, San Francisco 2017. link
"...eine ganz eigene Art von Schönheit", Duo Gelland im Gespräch mit Stefan Drees, Seiltanz 14, 2017. PDF
Das große Lexikon der Violine, Stefan Drees (Hrsg.), Laaber 2015: Duo Gelland.
Stefan Drees, Experimentierfreude und Repertoireerkundung. Zur Arbeit des Duo Gelland, Die Tonkunst 4, 2008. PDF
Stefan Drees, until the singing of the spheres brings us together, Die Tonkunst 3, 2008.
Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart (MGG), Kassel 1994-2008: Duo Gelland.
Gunilla Petersén, Hyllad violinduo har fötterna i jämtlänsk jord, Kammarmusik-Nytt, 2009.
Anna Rudroff, Ästhetische Erfahrung als Ziel von Musikunterricht - Fragen an ein musikpädagogisches Praxiskonzept aus Schweden, Leipzig 2008.
Jonas Asplund, ...det rör om i hjärnan på något sätt: En beskrivning av en interpretationsprocess inom samtida konstmusik ur ett kommunikationsperspektiv, Örebro Universitet, Örebro 2007.
Stefan Drees, Engagement im Dienste einer vernachlässigten Gattung, Dissonanz 93, 2006.
Ylva Nyberg, Duo Gelland, Nutida Musik 47, 2004.
Gustaf Jilker, Kulturambassadörer, Samefolket 2002, No. 9.
Henrik Martén, Duo Gelland - en färgstark ensemble, Kammarmusik-Nytt 19, 2002.
Stefani Ragni, I violini del grande nord, Studi e documentazioni 20, 2001, No. 41.

Cecilia Gelland, Tystnaden är utrotningshotad, Coniunctio 2008.
Martin Gelland, Gehörtes re-formulieren – Sprechen über Musik als musikpädagogisches Konzept, Zeitschrift Ästhetische Bildung, Jg. 10 Nr. 1 (2018).
Martin Gelland, „... um etwas davon plötzlich aufleuchten zu lassen“, Darstellungsprobleme individuellen Erlebens, Zeitschrift Ästhetische Bildung, Jg. 6 Nr. 2 (2014).
Martin Gelland, Erzwungene Kunst: Schmerz und Freiheitserlebnis, Allan Pettersson und Jean-Paul Sartre im Wechselspiel, in: Musik-Konzepte Heft 162, July 2013.
Martin Gelland: Sprunghaftes im gelähmten Stillstand. Allan Pettersson (1911–1980) zum 100. Geburtstag, in: Die Tonkunst 4, 2011.
Martin Gelland, Louis Spohrs Violinschule: Vom richtigen zum schönen Vortrag. Ontologische Sinndeutung einer frühromantischen Vortragsweise, Symposium Kassel 2009.



I was so impressed by your grasp of Traumwerk in particular the fantasy of the work. It was chamber music playing as it should be, disciplined and spontaneous, intimate and yet generous. Your formal grasp of the work displayed an intricate sense of line and tone and an instinctive feeling for shape. James Dillon

For me, Cecilia and Martin Gelland belong to the most engaged and charismatic interpreters of contemporary music on the European arena. In common projects, their extremely professional attitude and their intelligent transformations of compositorial structures impressed me again and again. To this comes an unbelievable balance between clear analysis of the parameters at hand and an existentialistic power of interpretation which one very rarely experiences. Bernd Franke