The Dryads Duo was formed in 2010 by violinist Carla Santos (Master in Performance and Artist Diploma from the Royal College of Music in London) and pianist Saul Picado (Master in Performance from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London).
Aiming to give voice to the not so often played violin and piano repertoire, they entered the 25th edition of the “Prémio Jovens Músicos” Competition in Portugal (2011) and were awarded the First Prize – Chamber Music Category.
Since then the Dryads Duo have appeared in the most important concert venues across Portugal, including Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Centro Cultural de Belém, Casa da Música, Teatro Nacional de São Carlos, Museu da Música Portuguesa – Casa Verdades de Faria, Cineteatro Eduardo Brazão, Cineteatro Avenida – Castelo Branco and Palácio Foz. The Dryads Duo also performed at the International Music Festival “Primavera Musical” in Castelo Branco, Estoril’s Music Festival and “Festivais de Outono” in Aveiro.
As a result of winning the “Prémio Jovens Músicos” Competition, they presented their first CD with works by Janáček, Ravel and Enescu at Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, in 2012. This CD was funded by Fundação GDA (Musical Managements Copyrights).
Always keen to develop and expand their musical knowledge and playing, they have been working with Professors Radu Blidar, Peter Bithell, Pascal Nemirovski, Gerardo Ribeiro and Liviu Prunaru.
Based in London since 2010, the Duo performs regularly in the UK, namely in Aylesbury, Brighton and London (Victoria & Albert Museum, St. James’s Piccadilly, St. Martin in the Fields and Conway Hall).
They performed in France for the first time at the Grand Thêátre Opéra de Bordeaux, in 2015, and in March 2016 at the Landesgalerie in Linz, Austria.
The Dryads Duo seeks to explore and bring to the public lesser performed, but not less worthy of being presented, repertoire from the late 19th century to the present day. In their recitals, the Dryads Duo aims to create a coherent combination between the less known and the standard repertoire providing the public with the sense of ownership and freshness, always conveying their engaging sensibility through the pieces performed.
“… three sonatas by Janáček, Ravel and Enescu, played with an engaging sensibility, inherent of two artists of whom we will certainly hear about in a close future.” Rui Branco in Jornal de Notícias, January 2013
“The Dryads Duo perform beautifully together, featuring a fine balance between instruments and great expression in each work; Carla Santos displays a clear intonation and fluid technique, with harmonics of almost bell-like clarity in the Enescu second movement, while Saul Picado has a great left & right hand balance and offers a beautiful foundation to each piece. The self-titles debut CD from Dryads Duo is a great new release featuring innovative programming and great performances from a vibrant new voice in classical music.” Nick Peros, Phoenix Classical
“Santos and Picado may just have emerged from their years in the conservatory, but this program shows how great a maturity they’ve attained; it can stand on its own merits, without exculpatory references to their youth. Strongly recommended” – Robert Maxham, Fanfare Magazine.
Carla Santos and Saul Picado have such a complicity in playing that one could say that their understanding is almost telepathic. In their performances one can sense the spontaneous dialogue happening between each other, leading to an outstanding ensemble consistency and balance. The purpose of combining repertoire that is not so often performed along with the standard repertoire brings to their recitals a sense of freshness and risk, always prized and appreciated by the public. One of the most distinctive qualities of Dryads Duo’s way of playing is the wide spectrum of colours they are able to create, leading to quite exquisite atmospheres. Their passionate performances transpire how deeply connected they are with the repertoire, which allied with a constant search for detail and sensitive playing brings out the possibility of a strong and inspiring connection with the audience.