Phenomenal artistry...Brimming with style and panache’.
The Daily Telegraph
This duo’s wonderful rapport, both with each other and with their audiences, together with their extraordinary versatility, virtuosity and physical prowess, adds up to a visual and artistic feast that is exhilarating and utterly irresistible.
Oxford Mail Jacqueline du Pré Music Building May 2010
‘Brilliant….one of the Fringe’s small gems
***** The Herald
Startling…cheeky, but enchanting’.
**** The Scotsman
In live concerts, part of the fun of watching Owen Gunnell and Oliver Cox – the pair who make up the percussion ensemble O Duo – is that they are such nifty movers. The footwork is as spry as Fred Astaire's, the choreography as fluent as in any ballet. They dart from instrument to instrument in their arsenal of things to hit and slap, changing places with split-second timing. They have got the visual athleticism of their performances down to a fine art.
If that element is absent from this purely audio disc, you can certainly appreciate O Duo's virtuosity, their exploratory range of works and their willingness to give us some show-stopping arrangements in among modern pieces written specifically for percussion. So, alongside Minoru Miki's mesmerising Marimba Spiritual and Stephen McNeff's witty study of professional coffee-making in Baristas, there is a brilliant transcription of Chopin's Fantaisie-Impromptu in C sharp minor, as well as versions of Mendelssohn, Poulenc and Bach preludes and fugues.
So stylish are O Duo's performances, so kaleidoscopic the colours and so invigorating the rhythms, you feel that any of these composers would happily have scored their pieces for percussion if only there had been an ensemble of O Duo's calibre around to play them.
The Daily Telegraph Sony BMG 88697027202 February 2007
‘Bounding on to the platform at the start of this programme, Oliver Cox and Owen Gunnell launched headlong into a short, snappy rhythmic extravaganza called Bongo Fury, a rousing curtain-raiser that they wrote last year. O Duo has been the toast of recent Edinburgh Festivals, and it is easy to see why. The style is infectious, and the pair can paper over protracted platform changes with perky patter. But there is phenomenal artistry underneath it all’.
The Daily Telegraph Wigmore Hall February 2006
‘Oliver Cox and Owen Gunnell, O Duo percussion, gave a superb lunchtime recital. If there had been an interval I would have been tempted to go out into the streets of Newbury to persuade perfect strangers to come in to hear them. They played an impressive range of instruments in a variety of styles and kept the audience enthralled, primarily with their brilliant playing but also with the informative and friendly introductions to the pieces’.
Newbury Weekly News Newbury Spring Festival May 2006
‘This was a stunning performance [Bartok Sonata], thrilling and moving in the extreme’.
Musical Opinion Park Lane Group Purcell Room January 2006
‘O Duo – percussionists Oliver Cox & Owen Gunnell – produced a short set that would go down a storm at the Royal Variety Performance….Hugely entertaining and very enjoyably musical’.
Classical Source QEH support act to JobyTalbot July 2005
‘Michael Zev Gordon, enjoyed a subtle performance of his Resolution 2004 for two percussion: the sticks, hammers and violin bows of O Duo’s Oliver Cox and Owen Gunnell created slow-motion choreography as they conjured cycles of agitation and calm from two vibraphones, gongs and cymbals….Three classics of the piano/percussion repertoire provided welcome ballast: the premiere of O Duo’s own entirely magical arrangement of three of Ligeti’s piano sketches; a virtuoso performance of Berio’s hauntingly eloquent 1973 ballet score, Linea; and a performance of Bartok’s 1934 Sonata for two pianos and percussion’.
The Times PLG Young Artists Purcell Room January 2006