Most of our greatest composers never composed expressly for the guitar, and it was the love for their music and a desire to play it which in the beginning of 1991 gave us the idea of transcribing orchestral works for two guitars.
To find out if there were any interest in our idea, we contacted some concert promotors in Sweden. The rumour spread, and in a few week’s time we were fully booked for the very next season. Now the only problem was the pieces we had promised to playsome on request and some by our own wishthey didn’t exist!
Well, they did exist in the form of orchestral scores, but not for two guitars. We were not even sure if they all were possible to arrange for our setting. And the truth issome of them were not! But to start a musical career by cancelling contracted performances isnt the most clever thing to do, so in order not to destroy our future as musicians we were bound to proceed.
Looking back, it is obvious to see that Progetto Avanti never would have left the ideas stage if it hadn’t been for these bookings, but at the time all we could think of was how stupid we were by promising the unfeasible!
The solution, of course, was to look outside the tradition and the common comprehension of guitar playing. Easy to say, not so easily done after some 10 years of conventional training
Still, after a Spring with daily rehearsals and nightly arranging and a lot of free association meetings often improved by quite a few beers, we really did make it. Our Swedish debut in June 1991 was a climax of performance anxiety after several months of nightmares, but it was a success. And we had learned a lesson:
The limitations are always in the mind, never in the fingers.
Some time after our national debut, the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs asked us to represent Sweden and the Swedish theme Light of Inspiration at the World Exhibition EXPO 92 in Seville, Spain. And if not before, it was at this international debut, in September 1992, that we finally realised we really had something interesting to offer. In spite of the competition from an average of some 300 cultural events a day, the two main newspapers sent their leading critics and the Swedish Pavilion was so crowded people had to be turned away at the door.
Therefore we decided to aim for an international careerbut first we wanted to stay put in Sweden for a few more years to refine our concept and come together as an ensemble enough to meet international standards. We did so by giving concerts. Between 19911995 we gave some 500 concerts in Sweden only!
On our way down to Seville, we were also invited by Maestro Joaquín Rodrigo to come visit him in his home in Madrid. We played our version of his famous "Concierto de Aranjuez' for him, and he was very encouraging. Then the fact that our project was believed in and backed up by a lot of Swedish Art Institutions as well, just gave us further stamina to go ahead.
In the end of 1994 we produced a demo record at dB Productions in Malmoe, Sweden, which we the year after mailed to the major record companies around the world. To our great joy, several became very interested in our new concept, and our final choice was Finlandia Recordsthe Scandinavian production unit of Warner Classics International. (They also have the labels Erato, Nonesuch and Teldec Records.)
Two years later, our debut album Orchestral Illusions was released, as a Warner First International Priority Release, in 32 countries. It became a great success, and our entry into the international arena was made. Then in 1999, our second album Baroque Illusions was released, and we had become quite established as international performers.
A few years into the new millennium a change of the company ownership led to a reorganization within the Warner Classics structure. The Finlandia label and production unit the smalles one was killed overnight, and we suddenly found ourself standing with a 5 CD contract worth absolutely nothing anymore…
We decided to take a break. Currently we are not touring regularly, although we do give occasional concerts and master classes.