Tower Duo is a flute and saxophone ensemble based in Columbus OH that specializes in creating engaging musical experiences with a particular interest in performing and premiering contemporary works by emerging composers. Tower Duo, whose members are flutist Erin Helgeson Torres and saxophonist Michael Rene Torres, has been performing together since 2007. The duo has since performed all across the United States at universities, conferences, and festivals.
Erin and Michael are also both educators: Erin is the Lecturer of Flute at Ohio Northern University and Muskingum University and Adjunct Instructor at Ashland University, while Michael is the Lecturer of Saxophone at The Ohio State University and Lecturer of Saxophone and Composition at Muskingum University. Through their work, they introduce performers to new music while also introducing listeners to the works of new composers.
Today, Erin and Michael are our featured artists in “The Inside Story,” a blog series exploring the inner workings and personalities of our artists. Read on to discover Michael’s guilty pleasure and the influential pop artist who had a profound effect on Erin’s artistry growing up…
Who was your first favorite artist growing up?
M: Beethoven. I wasn’t really listening to individual artists more than I was obsessed with composers, and I listened to Beethoven more than anything else as a kid.
E: This would have to be David Bowie. My parents are not avid classical music listeners, but instead, are musical students of the pop and rock eras. I grew up listening to all the best but the showmanship and personality of Bowie/Ziggy have stayed with me as an artist over the years.
When did you realize that you wanted to be an artist?
E: Ironically, I think I always knew I wanted to be an artist even if I couldn’t have articulated it as a young person. I was active as an actor in school plays; always landing the lead and even going to acting summer classes. I danced for many years and when the time came around to decide to pursue music, there was no hesitation. It wasn’t until halfway through college for pre-law though, that I knew I couldn’t live without this part of myself professionally.
M: I can’t think of a time I haven’t wanted to be a musician. I’ve been annoying people with non-stop humming and tapping for as long as anyone can remember.
What is your guilty pleasure?
M: I love chocolate and black and white photography and if you’re paying attention, you might catch me humming a random melody that I have stuck in my head into my phone’s voice recorder for later composing.
What was your favorite musical moment on the album?
E: The dialogue between the two of us on the track “Dew” is written so closely and recorded so tightly that I lose track of which of us is playing. I LOVE the idea of our musicianship being so synced that you lose yourself in it!
M: I loved that we were so personally connected to my composition on the album and that we had performed it so often that recording it felt completely organic and those were the fastest tracks that we were able to lay down. We were in the zone, artistically.
What does this album mean to you personally?
M: For me, the album represents years and years of creativity, friendship, passion, and fun, all preserved and ready to share.
E: This album means something quite fundamental for me…it effectively shows the personality of our music making but moreover stands as a testament to years of hard work and dedication to this ensemble.
Is there a specific feeling that you would like communicated to audiences in this work?
Energy and exhilaration! We hope that audiences love listening to it as much as we loved recording it!
CROSSWIND is now available through Ravello Records for streaming or purchase. Click here to explore this new album.