XaSonaiP is a piano and saxophone duo. Founded in 2005 by the saxophonist Hélder Alves and the pianist Cândido Fernandes, it has developed a unique professional path, outstanding for the originality of the repertoire presented in its concerts.
The musicians of this formation studied in Conservatório de Música do Porto, under Francisco Ferreira and Manuela Costa and in Escola Superior de Música de Lisboa, under José Massarrão and Jorge Moyano.
A new way of making and thinking about music has framed the activity of Duo XaSonaiP since its creation. Hélder Alves and Cândido Fernandes have been honored with numerous awards for their interpretations including 1st prize, level A at the International Competition “Vitor Santos” (saxophone), the 2nd prize ex-aequo at Estoril Interpretation Competition (saxophone) and the 3rd prize at both Fundão International Competition and at Ourém National Competition (piano). Recently, Duo XaSonaiP won 1st prize at “Prémio Jovens Músicos” in the category of Chamber Music - Superior Level.
Due both to the success of its concert performances and to extremely positive reviews, many composers, including Sérgio Azevedo, Tiago Derriça, Benjamin Boone, Gonçalo Gato, Carlos Filipe Cruz and Daniel Moreira, have offered and dedicated compositions to the Duo XaSonaiP.
The duo has given several concerts in Portugal, such as in Casa da Música (Porto) and participated in Festival do Estoril and in Festival da Póvoa de Varzim. They work regularly with Professor José Massarrão.
“On the penultimate night of NEU/NOW 2009, the Portuguese duo, a pianist and a saxophonist, over the duration of an hour careen from smooth and sultry to wild bursts of saxophone. With his flamboyant trills and flourishes, the sax seems to be the extrovert of the two, while the piano is mostly the underlying foundation over which the sax dances and prances. Urgent at times, like a running galloping race to the finish, the finale was filled with drama, as the saxophone screeched and swooned to its close. Jazz musicians do not have the stiff composure of classical musicians, they move with the music and seem to be genuinely enjoying themselves. In the grand surroundings of the Lithuania Music and Theatre Academy, from the window Vilnius’ “Manhattan” skyline, as Floris put it, is visible, with the twinkling lights of the Holiday Inn across the river, in a historic building of old Vilnius looking across to modernity, it’s a fitting finale to my festival experience.”