First performing together in 2008, Michael Duke and David Howie have made the impetus for their duo the presentation of exciting and innovative chamber music. Of particular interest and drive for the duo has been their close collaboration with some of Australia’s most prominent and respected composers commissioning, recording and performing these new works written specifically for them. Leading composers that have written for HD Duo include Anne Boyd, Michael Smetanin, Matthew Hindson, Mark Zadro, Andrew Batterham, Brenton Broadstock, Miriama Young, Catherine Likhuta, and Paul Sarcich.
Meeting as colleagues at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, the HD Duo is frequently featured on the conservatorium’s concert series. As well as performing regularly across the major cities of Australia, HD Duo has also appeared in concert throughout the world in countries such as Thailand, USA, England, Scotland, Mexico, France and French Polynesia New Caledonia. Some highlights include performances at multiple World Saxophone Congresses (2009, 2012, 2015); being featured artists at the North American Saxophone Alliance conference in Indianola, Iowa (2011); their UK debut in concert at “Australia House” in London (2012); the Australasian Saxophone and Clarinet Conference (2013); and recital concerts at the Festival de Mexico in Mexico City (2014).
As seasoned educators HD Duo has relished the opportunity to work with students presenting master classes and workshops at institutions that include the University of Minnesota, California State University Long Beach, Indiana University Bloomington, University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh, Edith Cowen University, Charles Darwin Univeristy, and the University of Queensland. In 2014 their second recording “Incandescence: Music for saxophone and piano by female composers” was released on the Saxophone Classics Label (UK).
In 2015 they were recipients of a COALAR (Council on Australia Latin America Relations) grant that enabled them to commission new works by Mexican and Australian composers for their third CD. They travelled to Mexico City, where they workshopped the new Mexican pieces with the composers, performing the works along with the new Australian compositions in concerts and a live broadcast at Opus FM. They also gave masterclasses at NICO and the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, and over the rest of 2015 they toured the new works throughout the major cities in Australia.
Born in Melbourne, Australia, Michael Duke completed his Bachelor of Music degree with honors at Melbourne University’s Victorian College of the Arts under the instruction of saxophonist Graeme Shilton. He received both Master’s and Doctorate Degrees in Music Performance from Indiana University studying under the tutelage of renowned classical saxophonists Eugene Rousseau, Thomas Walsh, Jean-Yves Fourmeau and Arno Bornkamp. While pursuing jazz studies at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, Duke studied with Shannon LeClaire, Jim Odgren and George Garzone and performed in the ensembles of Phil Wilson, Greg Hopkins, Victor Mendoza, and Joe Lovano.
Throughout Australia and abroad, Duke has engaged in an extensive performance career. He has performed with many of Australia’s premiere orchestras including the Melbourne Symphony, Sydney Symphony, Orchestra Victoria, the Australian Philharmonic and Pops Orchestra, and the Australian Chamber Orchestra. In the United States he has performed with the Owensboro Symphony Orchestra (Kentucky), the Camerata Symphony Orchestra (Indiana), the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic, and the Cedar Rapids Symphony (Iowa). In the spring of 2002 Duke won the Indiana University Woodwind Concerto Competition for his performance of Jacques Ibert’s Concertino da camera for alto saxophone and orchestra. On the national and world stages he has been invited to perform at numerous North American Saxophone Alliance National conferences, three World Saxophone Congresses, and has lectured at the Australian National Band and Orchestra Clinic. In 2010 Duke was a featured artist at the prestigious International Society for Contemporary Music World New Music Days conference in Sydney, Australia where he presented two concerts of new music for saxophone. In 2014 he performed as a recitalist at the 30th Annual Festival de Mexico, Mexico City.
As a freelance musician in the Boston area, Duke has backed such varied artists as Gloria Estefan, The Four Tops, Bill Cosby and Gary Burton. He has also performed with the Danilo Perez Big Band, the Jim Widner Big Band, and the Greg Hopkins Big Band.
In addition to being active as a clinician and tutor, Duke has taught on the faculty of Simpson College in Iowa (2002-2005), Eastern Nazarene College in Massachusetts (2007-2008), and as an Associate Instructor at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana (1998-2000). Beginning in July 2008, Duke commenced his appointment as the first ever full-time classical saxophone lecturer in Australia at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Sydney University. Has served as Associate Dean of Learning and Teaching (2009) and as Chair of the Woodwind Unit (2010-2013).
Duke has three solo recordings on the Cala (“Australian Portrait”) and Saxophone Classics (“Duo Sax” and “Incandescence”) labels. Duke is a Yamaha Australia Performing Artist.
David Howie studied piano under Sonya Hanke and Gordon Watson as an undergraduate and then specialised in accompaniment, studying with David Miller at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and Paul Hamburger in London at the Royal Academy of Music.
David was head of keyboard studies at Kings College in Somerset, England, for four years before returning to Australia where he has lectured in accompaniment as a member of the Sydney Conservatorium Ensemble Unit since 1992.
He has performed throughout England, Europe, America and Australia, has given numerous live broadcasts and studio recordings for the BBC, Radio Luxembourg, ABC television and radio and 2MBS FM.
Claude Delangle, Stanley Drucker, Kyle Horsch, Gordon Hunt, Peter Jenkins, Annalisa Kerrigan, Nick Parnell, Kamahl, Lawrence Dobell, Christina Leonard, James Nightingale, Dominica Matthews, Otis Murphy, Richard Sherman, David Wakeham, Marcel Luxon, Mark Walton and Asmira Woodward-Page are some of the many wonderful artists he has had the pleasure to perform with over the years, both in Australia and internationally.
Recently, he teamed up with the current head of woodwind at the Sydney Conservatorium, saxophonist Michael Duke, to form HD Duo, an exciting new duo pioneering new Australian music for saxophone and piano. Their first CD, Australian Portrait, was released in 2012, and their second CD titled The Fairer Sax features music written entirely by female composers. David and Michael have performed as a duo in Australia, Thailand, America, England and Scotland.
David leads a hectic but enjoyable life, teaching at the Conservatorium and performing widely as an associate artist and chamber musician. He loves cooking, sailing, playing and coaching soccer, and his most treasured time is that spent with his wife and three boys. And their dog!