As Duo Axis, flutist Zach Sheets and pianist Wei-Han Wu present vibrant performances that champion the thrilling potential of authentic duo playing and the unbridled possibilities of flute and piano collaboration. We frame our work as an open-ended question of how a troupe of two—trained as flutist and pianist—can make vivid and three-dimensional performances that emerge from conventional musical practice and go beyond it. Duo Axis frequently works closely with composers to create new works and foster a spirit of innovation and reciprocity. We establish long-term partnerships to create vivid and unique works well-tailored to our artistic vision, while contributing meaningfully to our field’s ever-expanding body of exceptional repertoire.
Sheets and Wu began collaborating in 2014: Duo Axis’ first major project took place in 2016, touring the Midwest and East Coast in a series of concerts featuring new works and premieres, with the generous support of a New Music USA Grant. They have collaborated closely with many important early-career composers, including Tonia Ko (Guggenheim Fellow, 2018); Katherine Balch (Composer-in-residence, Young Concert Artists and California Symphony); Anthony Vine (1st Prize, Gaudeamus Competition, 2016); Gabriel Bolaños, Clay Mettens, Ashkan Behzadi, and more. Their projects have since been supported by the Ditson Fund, Copland Fund, Barlow Endowment, and more.
Engagements in the lead-up to COVID closure included teaching and performing at University of Chicago, Augustana University, Avaloch Farm Music Institute, and University at Buffalo. Through the Creative Arts Initiative (CAI) in November 2018, Sheets and Wu explored the most ambitious project yet: Woven, an hour-long concert experience with choreography, lighting design, electronics, and interaction with the performing space.
Sought after for recitals and residencies, Duo Axis has been featured by a wide range of presenters, including the Knutson Masters Series (Sioux Falls, SD), EQ Concerts (Boston, MA), Æpex Contemporary Performance (Ann Arbor, MI), Houston Flute Club (Houston, TX), nth degree chamber series (Cape Cod, MA), Valencia International Performance Academy (Spain), and more.