Birgit Schwab and Daniel Ahlert are performing together since 1992 and in the meantime they have been playing hundreds of recitals in Europe and the US. Already in their very first year they won 1st prize at the international chamber music competition in Soumagne/Belgium. Critics and audiences have been admiring their unique sound cosmos, brilliant technique and rhythmical fire.
They are considered Europe's most prominent mandolin and guitar duo.
Duo Ahlert & Schwab are equally comfortable in both historically informed performance and interpretation of contemporary music. Their repertoire contains music for mandolin and lute or guitar from the 18th and 19th century presented on original historic instruments and copies. Moreover, Birgit Schwab and Daniel Ahlert work with contemporary composers, thus widening the repertoire for modern mandolin and guitar.
Duo Ahlert & Schwab have been awarded many prizes at home and abroad and they have performed at numerous festivals and important venues such as Festival der Laute in Füssen (Germany), Orgel Festival in Laubach (Germany), Preston Bradley Hall (Chicago), the international festival for plucked instruments in Beer-Sheva (Israel), Europäisches Zupfmusikfestival in Bamberg (Germany), Sundin Music Hall (Minnesota), Festival Internazionale della Chitarra in Lagonegro (Italy), La Guitarra California, Internationales Bodenseefestival, Guitarfestival Speyer, Festival Orgel Plus, Bachfestival Arnstadt and Bachfest Leipzig. Otto Schily, then Germany's minister of the interior, personally gave his thanks to Duo Ahlert & Schwab after their concert on Mainau Island. In 2003 they very successfully debuted in the US. In 2004 Duo Ahlert & Schwab were invited to New York by WNYC radio, who labeled them "Lord of the Strings". On the opening day of Projekt Kulturhauptstadt 2010 Duo Ahlert & Schwab performed a programme of all Danish music for mandolin and guitar.
Seven CD recordings (Antes, Naxos, Claudio Records) and TV and radio broadcast transmissions in many countries prove Duo Ahlert & Schwab's high quality.
In addition to their chamber music programmes they also perform with orchestra. Today, the duo are regarded as specialists for concertos for mandolin, guitar and orchestra. They have performed and usually even premiered almost all compositions written for this combination.
Duo Ahlert & Schwab have premiered more than 100 compositions - almost all of which have been dedicated to them. Among the composers are Yehezkel Braun (Israel), Ernesto Cordero (Puerto Rico), John Duarte (England), Claude Engel (France), Angelo Gilardino (Italy), Jeffrey Harrington (USA), Thomas Schmidt-Kowalski (Germany) and Jaime M. Zenamon (Brazil).
Since 2017 Léon Berben (harpsichord, organ, square piano) is joining Duo Ahlert & Schwab for selected concerts.
Birgit Schwab studied guitar and lute at Musikhochschule Köln/Wuppertal with Prof. Dieter Kreidler and Prof. Hans-Michael Koch.
Daniel Ahlert studied mandolin and and baroque mandolin at Musikhochschule Köln/Wuppertal with Prof. Marga Wilden-Hüsgen.
1989 - National 2nd prize at Jugend musiziert (Ahlert)
1990 - 1st prize at Intern. Musikfestwochen in Nordrhein-Westfälischen Burgen und Schlössern (Schwab)
1991 - 1st prize at Internationaler Mozartwettbewerb Bad Oeynhausen (Schwab)
1991 - National 1st prize at Jugend musiziert (Schwab)
1992 - 1st prize at "Concours international des Duos" in Belgium
1993 - National 1st prize at Jugend musiziert (Ahlert)
1996 - 1st prize at "13. Concours national Luxembourgeois pour jeunes Solistes" (Ahlert)
1998 - winners at Wuppertaler Barmenia Wettbewerb
1998-2001 - scholars of Friedrich-Jürgen-Sellheim-Gesellschaft
1999 - scholars of "Stiftung Kunst und Kultur des Landes NRW"
2000 - scholars of VEW Energie
2000-2012 - scholars of Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Westfälischen Kulturarbeit e.V.
2001-2003 - scholars of Werner Richard-Dr. Carl Dörken Stiftung
2005-2006 - supported by "American Composers Forum" in the "Encore" programme
WDR, SWR, Bayerischer Rundfunk, Radio 100,7 (Luxembourg), WFMT (Chicago), WNYC (New York)
Austria,, Belgium, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, Slovakia, USA
Duo Ahlert & Schwab GbR
Fon: +49 (0)2307 4381635
e-mail: duo (at) ahlert-schwab.de