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Raleigh Chamber Music Guild presents: THE EROICA TRIO | Oct 11

Sunday, October 11, 2009 at 3:00pm

Fletcher Theater, Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts
Raleigh NC

Program:
Beethoven: Piano Trio in C minor, Op. 1, No. 3
Joan Tower: Trio, for Daniel
Brahms: Trio in B Major, Op. 8

Tickets and Info:
www.rcmg.org; (919) 821-2030
$25; $10, students

Click here to see Eroica Trio at Lincoln Center (Quicktime Stream)

THE EROICA TRIO, photo: Nina Choi

THE EROICA TRIO, photo: Nina Choi

The most sought-after trio in the world, the Grammy®-nominated Eroica Trio thrills audiences with flawless technical virtuosity, irresistible enthusiasm and sensual elegance.  Whether playing the great standards of the piano trio repertoire or daring contemporary works, the three young women who make up this celebrated ensemble electrify the concert stage with their performances of depth and precision.  The Trio won the prestigious 1991 Naumburg Award, resulting in a highly successful Lincoln Center debut and has since toured the United States, Europe, and Asia.  While maintaining their demanding concert schedule, the Eroica Trio has released seven critically lauded recordings for Angel/EMI Classics Records, garnering multiple Grammy® nominations.  This season, the Trio plans to record its eighth CD for EMI, an all-American album.

The Eroica Trio performs the Beethoven Triple Concerto more frequently than any other trio in the world, having appeared with renowned symphonies such as Chicago, St. Louis, San Francisco, Mostly Mozart Orchestra, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Houston and Seattle.  In addition, The Trio has performed the work abroad with Orquesta Sinfonica de Euskadi in Spain, Haydn Orchestra in Italy, Budapest Symphony in Germany, and on tour in the United States with the Prague Chamber Orchestra, culminating in a Lincoln Center performance.  The Trio appeared on the German television program “Klassich!” performing the Beethoven Triple Concerto with the Munich Symphony, which was aired throughout Europe.

The Eroica Trio is on the vanguard of a new generation of artists who are changing the face of classical music.  One of the first all-female chamber ensembles to reach the top echelon of its field, the Eroica Trio is helping to break an age-old gender barrier.  As the Chicago Sun Times remarked, “Our image of the piano trio is largely formed by groups like the celebrated [original] Beaux Arts, three middle-aged gentlemen who apply their wisdom and artistry to their chosen repertory.  That image is about to change.”  The Trio took its name from Beethoven’s passionate Third Symphony.  Italian for “heroic,” eroica is a word that aptly reflects the ensemble’s approach to music.  As critics have noted, “It’s been decades since this country has produced a chamber music organization with this much passion.” (The San Francisco Examiner)

The Trio has established a unique identity by creating innovative programs that span 300 years of music.  A typical Eroica Trio concert might include the Baroque symmetries of Vivaldi, the passion of Brahms, and Paul Schoenfield’s contemporary Café Music with its echoes of jazz, spiritual and theatre music.  The Eroica Trio is a strong champion of new composers; each season includes an American or world premiere of a new work.  Most recently, the Trio presented the world premiere of Poets and Prophets, a piece composed for the Trio by Mark O’Connor and commissioned by Katherine Gould  for the Montalvo Center for the Performing Arts in Saratoga, CA.

eroicaTrio_05As the 1997 official representative for New York’s Carnegie Hall, the Eroica Trio opened the sold-out “Distinctive Debuts” series at Weill Recital Hall.  This touring series, created to showcase rising stars of classical music, was internationally sponsored by a consortium of European halls and included performances at Konzerthaus in Vienna, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Philharmonie in Cologne, Alte Oper in Frankfurt, Symphony Hall at ICC in Birmingham, and Konserthus in Stockholm.  The Eroica’s performances were received with rave reviews.  “The Trio plays with technical flair, raw, driven energy and high spirits.  The ensemble also has plenty of charm and stage presence.  It was obvious that all three musicians were having as much fun as the [Carnegie Hall] audience.” (The Wall Street Journal)

Immediately following its acclaimed Carnegie Hall debut in 1997, the Eroica Trio was offered an exclusive five-record contract by Angel/EMI Classics Records, which was extended in 2002 to include three additional recordings.  The Trio’s self-titled debut CD, which features works by Ravel, Benjamin Godard, a commissioned arrangement of the Gershwin Preludes, and Paul Schoenfield’s Café Music, was awarded NPR Performance Today’s “Debut Recording of the Year” and featured in Time Out New York’s “Top Ten Recordings” of 1997.  The ensemble’s second disc, “Dvorak/Shostakovich/Rachmaninoff” released in the fall of 1998, concentrates on the works of those composers, as well as the Trio’s own arrangement of Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise, and was nominated for two Grammy® Awards.  The New York Times noted:  “Eroica’s musicians have the muscle to be purely dramatic and emotional, but here they stand out for subtler reasons: all three players are soloists who have a lot to say, and every note, no matter how light, has some significance.”  The Eroica Trio’s critically acclaimed third recording, “Baroque” was released in November 1999 and spent the next nine months in the top 20 on Billboard’s charts.  “Baroque” includes works by Bach, Vivaldi and the Eroica Trio’s own arrangement of Albinoni’s Adagio.  The ensemble’s next album, “Pasión” was released in October 2000 and features Argentinean, Brazilian and Spanish composers, including Piazzolla, Villa-Lobos and Turina.  The Trio’s fifth album for Angel/EMI Classics Records, “Brahms Trios Nos. 1 & 2” was released in January 2002 to great critical acclaim.  This disc features the composer’s lullaby arranged for piano trio by Sara Sant’Ambrogio.  The Trio’s sixth recording for Angel/EMI, “Beethoven’s Triple Concerto Op. 56 and Piano Trio Op. 11” was recorded with the Prague Chamber Orchestra and released in October 2003.  The release came just prior to a four-week coast-to-coast tour of the United States with that celebrated ensemble, catapulting this particular piece into Billboard’s Top 20 for the first time in recording history.

In addition to its demanding concert and recording schedule, the Eroica Trio is committed to music education, giving concerts, master classes and special children’s shows at schools and colleges throughout the country.  Each summer, the Trio performs at music festivals throughout the world, including the Hollywood Bowl, Aspen, Mostly Mozart, Ravinia, and Spoleto, Italy.

The Eroica Trio has appeared on numerous television programs, including ABC’s The View, CNN’s Showbiz Today, CBS and ABC News, the CBS Morning Show and Saturday Morning, A&E’s Breakfast with the Arts, The Isaac Mizrahi Show, Pure Oxygen, Bloomberg TV and Fox’s The Crier Report.  In addition, the ladies will be featured in the international broadcast of The Artists’ Way At Work, an in-depth exploration of artistic creativity.  Eroica!, a special documentary about the Trio and its commissioning of a new triple concerto by Kevin Kaska, premiered on the PBS series Independent Lens in December 2003.

The group has been featured in such magazines as Elle, Glamour, Vanity Fair, Detour, Marie Claire, Gotham, Entrée, Bon Appétit, Time Out New York, Gramophone, Piano, Vivace, Auditorium, and Chamber Music.  In addition, the ladies have graced the covers of magazines as diverse as Fanfare, Cigar, Strings, Tall, and Strad.  Grand Marnier® created a new cocktail dubbed “The Eroica” which was unveiled for the release of the “Pasión” recording.  Chateau Sainte Michelle, a vineyard in Seattle, also named one of their vintage Rieslings in honor of the Trio.

In September 2006, the Eroica Trio announced with great excitement that Susie Park will permanently replace Adela Peña as the Trio’s violinist.  Park began playing with the group unofficially during the summer of 2006 while Peña was struggling with a fatigue-related injury to her hand.  Hailed as “prodigiously talented” by The Washington Post, Park is widely known for her emotive range and dynamic stage presence.

The women who make up the Eroica Trio are all top-ranked, award-winning soloists and have performed on many of the world’s great stages.  Pianist Erika Nickrenz, who made her concerto debut at New York’s Town Hall at the age of 11, was a featured soloist on the PBS series Live from Lincoln Center.  A recipient of the Rockefeller Tanglewood Fellowship, she began her studies with German Diez and received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Juilliard School as a pupil of Abbey Simon.  Nickrenz was a soloist with the Jupiter Symphony in Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall and in the spring of 2003 gave a performance and rang the opening bell for New York Stock Exchange as part of Steinway’s 150th anniversary celebration.  She has recorded several CDs on the MusicMaster and ASV London labels and now records exclusively for Angel/EMI Classics A native of Sydney, Australia, Susie Park’s international lauds include top prizes in the Indianapolis, Menuhin and Wieniawski International Violin Competitions. Concertizing around the world, her major solo appearances include collaborations with the Indianapolis Symphony, Orchestra of St. Lukes in New York, Memphis Symphony, Australian orchestras including those of Sydney and Melbourne, Korea’s KBS orchestra, the Lille Orchestre National and in venues including Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the 92nd Street Y and Boston’s Gardner Museum. She made her solo debut at the age of five and holds her Bachelor of Music degree from the Curtis Institute of Music where she studied under Jaime Laredo and her Artist Diploma from the New England Conservatory where she studied with Donald Weilerstein.
.  Cellist Sara Sant’Ambrogio’s international successes include winning a medal at the prestigious International Tchaikovsky Violoncello Competition in Moscow, resulting in tours across North America, Europe, and the Middle East, culminating in a recital at Carnegie Hall which was broadcast on national television.  She has performed with the Boston, Atlanta, St. Louis and Dallas Symphonies among others.  Sant’Ambrogio has won a Grammy® Award for her recording of Leonard Bernstein’s “Arias and Barcaroles.”  In addition, she has enjoyed collaborating on rock, pop and jazz CDs and movie soundtracks.  Her solo CD, “Dreaming” was released on Sebastian Records in September 2004, and her latest CD of the Bach Solo Cello Suites will be released in 2007.

The ladies of the Eroica Trio share many personal and musical connections; indeed, Nickrenz, Park and Sant’Ambrogio’s paths have crossed at many artistic junctions.  When they were just 12 years old, Erika and Sara studied both piano and chamber music with Isabelle Sant’Ambrogio, Sara’s grandmother.  As teenagers, Erika and Sara coached chamber music with Sara’s father and first teacher, John Sant’Ambrogio, principal cellist of the St. Louis Symphony.  In the early years of the Eroica Trio, coaches included Mr. Sant’Ambrogio as well as Erika’s father, the noted violist Scott Nickrenz.  Since the Trio signed with Angel/EMI Classics Records, five of its CDs were produced by Erika’s mother, three-time Grammy® Award winner Joanna Nickrenz.  Park and Sant’Ambrogio both attended the Curtis Institute of Music, and all three women performed at the Marlboro Music Festival and toured nationally with Music from Marlboro.  Jaime Laredo, a teacher and mentor of Park’s, was instrumental in bringing Sara to Curtis and presented the Eroica Trio’s New York debut.  Many years ago, Park’s teacher, Donald Weilerstein, formed a piano quintet with Nickrenz’s mother (pianist Joanna Nickrenz) and father (violist Scott Nickrenz) and two others, the New Chamber Quintet.

During the 2008-2009 season, in addition to performing in traditional venues internationally, the Eroica Trio will be playing in nightclubs on a cross country tour, introducing their music to new audiences.  The first tour will coincide with the release of the Trio’s eighth CD for EMI featuring all-American music, “An American Journey”, with  new arrangements of music from Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess” and Bernstein’s “West Side Story” commissioned by the Eroica. Also on the CD will be Mark O’Connor’s “Poets and Prophets”, written for Eroica and inspired by the music of Johnny Cash. Their International tours include  Germany with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and 11 concerts in New Zealand. A highlight of the trio’s repertoire for the season will be a new trio commissioned for them by Kevin Puts, entitled “Trio Sinfonia”.