Ferenc Snétberger, “a musical cosmopolitan” (Die Welt), hails from a musical family in Hungary. He played guitar at an early age learning from his father. Initially influenced by Brazilian music, jazz and Django Reinhardt, he studied classical guitar, later jazz guitar at the Béla Bartók conservatory, Budapest. Snétberger has become one of the few truly distinctive voices on contemporary guitar, a border-crossing virtuoso of a rare kind. He was appointed freeman of his birth town in 2002 and received the Hungarian Order of Merit two years later. In 2005 he was awarded the Liszt Ferenc Prize in Budapest.
Markus Stockhausen, “trumpeter supreme” (The Times), is one of the most versatile musicians of our time. He studied initially at the Cologne Musikhochschule and is as much at home in jazz as in contemporary and classical music. For about 25 years he collaborated closely with his father, the composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, who wrote many works for him. As soloist, improviser and composer Markus Stockhausen is in international demand and can be heard on more than 50 CDs, notably with his last releases on AKTIVRAUM presenting his own works as a composer/improviser. In 2005 Markus won the WDR Jazz prize as best improviser.
Collaborators since the late nineties, Snétberger and Stockhausen presented their first recorded duets on Ferenc’ album For My People. Since then they have further developed their very own way of duet improvisation — shining with melodic inventiveness, thrilling rhythms, classical discipline, technical risks and flashes of inspiration. Says Snétberger: “Markus triggers things in my playing that I normally would not play. This kind of immediate communication is something very unusual.” And Stockhausen adds: “This is the way we work: spontaneous ideas, puzzling over them, writing some of them down. And then we just play … A joint effort, a style of its own. We meet on the basis of our different biographies and preferences. And this works out in an outstanding way.”
Most of the pieces on their latest album Streams (enja records) are based on spontaneous ideas or older originals. “We just take the time to listen to one another. Both of us have our share of melancholy, so we feel similar in many respects,” Stockhausen explains. The result are ten miraculous pieces filled with beauty, joy and tears.