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Winners of the 11th International Chamber Music Competition for Flute & Guitar this year in Spain, Meraki Duo have spent the past decade performing extensively in the UK with programmes that offer a distinctively diverse pairing of flute and guitar. In 2020 at London's 1901 Arts Club, Meraki Duo premièred their first substantial commission: À Norte, Rio Preto by fast-rising Brazilian composer Rafael Marino Arcaro. In their recitals, Meera Maharaj extends the expressive range of the duo by featuring the alto flute in works such as Debussy’s Beau Soir, Takemitsu’s Toward The Sea and Miroslav Tadić’s 4 Macedonian Pieces. They incorporate James Girling's arrangements of music spanning as widely as Messiaen’s wordless songs, Bacharach, and Brazilian folk-jazz of Hermeto Pascoal.
Meera Maharaj and James Girling both studied at the Royal Northern College of Music, where they quickly connected through a shared passion for chamber music, jazz, Latin-American styles, and contemporary works. Formed in 2013, Meraki Duo have since performed year-round for recital series from Northumberland to Cornwall, at venues such as Wigmore Hall and Kings Place, and festivals including Buxton International Festival, Swaledale Festival and London Guitar Festival. Meraki Duo were selected onto the International Guitar Foundation’s Young Artist Platform for 2020. In 2019, they were finalists in the Royal Over-Seas League Competition (Mixed Ensembles) in London.
As Live Music Now artists since 2018, Meraki Duo also bring performances into the wider community across the country. They are specially trained to give interactive concerts in schools for children with special educational needs and disabilities, and in care homes.
Meera Maharaj is currently a Countess of Munster Recital Scheme artist alongside pianist Dominic Degavino. Competition successes include first prize in the Royal Academy of Music Flute Competition and Dutch International Flute Competition and 3rd prize in the British Flute Society Competition. She graduated with Distinction in her Masters, studying with Michael Cox at the Royal Academy of Music. In 2017, she graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music (first class honours), studying with Wissam Boustany and Laura Jellicoe. Meera has played at the Southbank Centre, Wigmore Hall, Kings Place and Royal Albert Hall at the BBC Proms. She is co-principal flute of Chineke! Orchestra.
James Girling is a versatile guitarist working internationally. He was tutored by Craig Ogden at the Royal Northern College of Music, where he is now an Associate Artist, and won RNCM’s Gold Medal award. James has headlined festivals, recorded, and been broadcast live on Radio 3, playing with the BBC Philharmonic, Hallé Orchestra, and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra’s Ensemble 10:10. As soloist, he made his Wigmore Hall debut in 2017 and has since performed Rodrigo’s guitar concertos alongside orchestras across England. Also strongly influenced by music traditions rooted in improvisation, he is a Jazz North alumnus, and tours and records across a range of styles including with Prohibition-era jazz septet The Easy Rollers and Afrobeat/Ethiojazz-inspired band Agbeko, who have headlined festivals across Europe.