Unique in the classical music world due to its dedication to works for violin and cello ensemble, Duo-B is quickly earning praise for their passionate musical commitment, creative style, and original programming. The ensemble began in 2009 with the chance meeting of a Japanese violinist (Hirono Sugimoto) and an American cellist (Philip Borter) in Germany, at the Hochschule für Musik-Freiburg. Their fascination with travel, innovative styles of music-making, and each other soon led them down creative and unexpected paths that later resulted in the forming of Duo-B, while still graduate students at the Eastman School of Music. Early on, a diversion from their classical training has led them to explore music from a variety of genres and cultures, including folk traditions of Europe, Appalachia, and Japan. In addition to performing rarely heard classical masterpieces alongside lesser-known works, a great emphasis is placed on the communicative power and remarkable intimacy found in the string duo. The couple have since dedicated much of their performing careers to promoting the wealth of music for violin and cello duo.
As winners of numerous awards, they have performed across three continents including landmark performances in Kodak Hall at the Eastman Theater, the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., the Universität der Künste in Berlin, and Minatomirai Hall in Yokohama, Japan. Most recently they were welcomed as featured guest artists at the 2017 Iowa Composer's Forum and serve as string faculty at the Dorian Summer Music Camp. Other performance projects include a recently released album of Tangos by Astor Piazzolla and concert tours in Italy, Japan, the Midwest, and the Southeastern United States.
While dedicating their musical lives to the string duo, Philip & Hirono cherish being full-time parents and sharing as many musical adventures as possible with three off-the-wall sons: Jude, Joseph, and Matthew.