“-A look into the soul of three great composers –

[…] In no time the two of them were able to set the listeners in the mood of the Seven Variations on “Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen” from Mozart ́s “The Magic Flute”[…] The duo demonstrated a special ability to communicate great emotions which were reflected not only in facial expressions but also in agogic and made the joy of the audience with it[…]. It was soon impossible to be closer to something than Soraya Ansari to her cello, and at some point the two fused together during her performance of Franz Schubert’s world-famous, sonata for arpeggione and piano in A minor. The first bars of this piece are able to bring tears to the eyes. […] For Frédéric Chopin, Sonata for Violoncello and Piano in G minor, op. 65 ‘, the duo finally conjured up the opulent fullness of a whole symphony orchestra. […] The flawless intonation, the high level of artistic maturity, coupled with youthful energy, and the abundance of enthusiasm, which ultimately also witnessed the encore by Rachmaninoff, made the evening an unforgettable experience for all who were there.”

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Kölner Stadtanzeiger / Kölnische Rundschau

“[…] Musically outstanding and with interesting explanations about the composers and their works, the two musicians offered an entertaining evening. […] Apparently effortless but very concentrated, Ansari and Castellanos found a successful musical connection playing their instruments with great feeling. At the same time, this feeling was apparently also transferred to the audience, that thanked with great applause. […]”

Bonner LESE

“- Musical fireworks with the duo Aken2 –

They convinced the jury members of the ‘Werner Richard – Doctor Carl Dörken Foundation’ with their ‘electrifying lecture’ and ‘their unconditional, excessive expressiveness’ to be awarded with a scholarship. Today they confirmed completely that the verdict of the foundation was not exaggerated to the 130 listeners at the traditional New Year’s Concert of the Bonner Lese- und Erholungsgesellschaft 1787 in the Great Hall of the Protestant Church, as the musicians Soraya Ansari and Luis Castellanos gave a precise performance of works by Ludwig van Beethoven, Robert Schumann and Antonín Dvořák.

[…] Afterwards, the Duo Aken2 impressed the audience with a virtuoso and lively performance. They alternated to introduce lightly and humorous the individual works throughout the concert. […] The highlight of the concert was however the Sonata for Piano and Violoncello No. 3 in A major op. 69 by Ludwig van Beethoven. They burned here a musical firework. At the end the musicians were rewarded by the audience with an enthusiastic applause […]”

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Rheinische Post

“Schumann, Brahms, Chopin, a grand piano, a cello, a young duo – and almost two hours of outstanding music […], opening in standing ovations with four ‘curtains’ and one encore […]”

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Westfälische Nachrichten

“The duo AKEN 2 – Soraya Ansari and Luis Castellanos – captivated the audience on New Year’s Eve […] and inspired the audience with its perfect harmony.”

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