After our successful trip to England this past month, we were approached by an energetic European manager. We have joined forces with Kelly Prauseová, and look forward to crossing the pond more often. Thank you, Kelly!
08.18.09Strings Magazine publishes article by Anthea
Anthea writes an article for Strings Magazine about her transcription for viola of the Chopin Piano Trio.
06.14.09St. Paul Sunday
Dispatches Intently Followed: Though formed just nine years ago, the Amelia Piano Trio has already won significant acclaim, not least for its adventurous collaboration with living composers. This week it brings one of the most beloved works in chamber music—Felix Mendelssohn's wondrous D minor piano trio, a work Robert Schumann hailed as "the master trio of the age"—and pairs it with a movement from a new work written especially with the Amelias in mind: "Short Stories" by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Harbison. The threesome leads off with a vivid Schubert scherzo.
03.04.09APT "Featured Artists" on NPR's Performance Today
APT was featured in music and conversation with Fred Child. Performing Shostakovich Trio #1 and Chopin Trio (Anthea playing the viola), they enjoyed visiting their old friends. Please go to http://performancetoday.publicradio.org/ to hear the show.
01.03.09Amelia Trio to perform at the Chamber Music America Conference
The Trio is happy to perform at the national conference of Chamber Music America. They will perform Beethoven Op. 1 #3, Bernstein Trio, and Chopin Piano Trio.
03.17.08Dumbarton Concert Review
By Stephen Brookes
"exceptional clarity and elegance"
The musical boundaries between East and West have been bashed away at for so long it's hard to tell where they are anymore. From the orientalisme of early-20th-century France to the postmodern work of composers like Tan Dun and Zhou Long, the border has long been a breeding ground for new ideas, and on Saturday evening the gifted young Amelia Piano Trio (as part of the Dumbarton Concerts series in Georgetown) presented a program called "East Meets West" that explored this music with passion and a playful sense of adventure.
Long thought to be lost, Debussy's early Piano Trio in G was recently reconstructed from fragments, and has emerged as an engaging if frustrating work. Beautifully played by the Amelia, it showed traces of Asia here and there, but never really approached the near-perfect orientalism of later works like "Pagodes."
The next work was more of a stretch. Mozart was all of 8 years old when he wrote his Sonata in F, K. 7, and it won't ever rank as one of mankind's most glorious achievements -- even when arranged for violin, cello and the two-stringed Chinese violin called the erhu. Wang Guowei turned in a flavorful account of this odd little curiosity. A more organic blending took place in the world premiere of "Scenes Through a Window" by the Chinese American composer Lu Pei. Written for piano trio, erhu and the traditional lute called the pipa, it's an extremely smart, colorful and kinetic piece that builds on traditional Chinese music without ever descending into sentimentality. Utterly graceful playing on the pipa by Yihan Chen made it even more delectable.
The evening closed with a sweeping reading of Maurice Ravel's Piano Trio in A Minor, an early transcultural masterpiece which draws on a popular Basque folk dance, Malaysian verse forms and styles from the baroque. The Amelia brought it off with exceptional clarity and elegance.
12.11.07Beethoven Cycle Mini-Festival in New Orleans
New Orleans Times-Picayune
New Orleans, Louisiana
By Chris Waddington
Plaster bust, exalted composer, box-office winner, romantic icon, virtuoso performer, and a test for generations of interpretive artists -- Beethoven means many things to many people, even to those who have already decided that a long-dead German musician holds no interest for them. He's as unavoidable as death and taxes.
For the rising stars of the Amelia Piano Trio -- violinist Anthea Kreston, cellist Jason Duckles and pianist Rieko Aizawa -- Beethoven looms especially large as they gird themselves for a pair of concerts at Tulane University's Dixon Hall. The group will traverse all six of Beethoven's piano trios -- three on Monday, three more on Tuesday -- in a mini-festival presented by New Orleans Friends of Music. The concerts are at 8 p.m.; tickets are $20 and available by calling (504) 895-0690..
"Playing the cycle is a way of telling the world that we are here to stay," Kreston said. "We've been together since 1999, playing a smattering of works by different composers -- Mendelssohn, Dvorak, Schubert, a little Beethoven, a lot of contemporary pieces. Learning every work of a major composer signals commitment -- and there's no composer more major than Beethoven."
The musicians first played the Beethoven cycle in 2006 and were quickly asked to broadcast the pieces live on a Chicago radio station. In those programs, they paired Beethoven trios with compositions created for them by living composers, including John Harbison and Augusta Read Thomas. "Those pairings were a way of saying that Beethoven is our contemporary," Kreston said. "We perform his music on modern instruments. We've listened to all the famous recordings of these trios. And we add something that's not printed in the score -- all our very different experiences as individuals and musicians."
Now in their early 30s, the Amelia players can boast amazing musical experiences. Kreston and Duckles toured the world and recorded with Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Project. Rieko has performed as a guest with the Guarneri String Quartet. As a trio, they were plucked from obscurity by violinist Isaac Stern, who heard them at a Carnegie Hall Chamber Music Workshop. They went on to become the ensemble in residence for National Public Radio in 2003. They also forged an ongoing collaborative relationship with star choreographer Sean Curran.
"I used to think my responsibility as a performer was to hit every note," Kreston said. "That's what we were taught at a school -- and it made me nervous. But we've gone beyond that with the trio. Now our responsibility is to entertain people for two hours without using words." To prepare the Beethoven cycle, the trio asked a non-musician, the stepfather of one of the players, to listen to rehearsals and raise his hand whenever he got bored. "It doesn't take musical training to sense when a performance isn't working," Kreston said. "To succeed you need to take risks and get physical. And you need to keep asking 'why?' when you see all those notes on a score. This music traces the arc of Beethoven's life from his first published piece as a 21-year-old piano virtuoso to late music written when he had become deaf. It's a drastic evolution, one that makes a musician think in the broadest, most dramatic terms."
11.15.07Triple Concerto featured in the Chicago Tribune
Youths rise as trio shines
By John von Rhein | Tribune music critic
November 13, 2007
Precious few world premieres originate with youth orchestras. The Amelia Piano Trio has done something important to reverse that unhappy trend in classical music.
To create a symphonic work that would be both exciting and challenging for young orchestral players was the objective behind the trio's commissioning Daron Hagen to compose his "Orpheus and Eurydice" -- subtitled Triple Concerto for violin, cello, piano and orchestra -- for the ensemble.
Hagen, the prolific Milwaukee-born composer-in-residence this semester at Roosevelt University's College of Performing Arts, has realized that objective exceedingly well. His accessible, 25-minute score received its premiere performance Sunday at Symphony Center by the Amelia Trio with the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra conducted by music director Allen Tinkham.
The triple concerto has four movements loosely based on the Orpheus legend. Although the roles are interchangeable, most often it is the violin (Anthea Kreston) and cello (Jason Duckles) that portray Eurydice in intertwined lyrical flights over dramatic, cascading chords in the piano (Rieko Aizawa), representing the lyre-playing Orpheus. The solo parts require true virtuosity, whereas the orchestral writing is tailored to the abilities of an above-average youth orchestra.
Chicago audiences have not heard much of Hagen's music since 1997, when his Frank Lloyd Wright opera, "Shining Brow," was staged by Chicago Opera Theater. We have been missing a lot. His Triple Concerto is music that's easy to appreciate at first hearing, but not because its tonal grammar talks down to the listener. Like his teacher Ned Rorem (to whose elegant craftsmanship Hagen's music owes a clear debt), the latter reimagines traditional melodic and harmonic contexts in all sorts of fresh, charming and even surprising ways.
"Orpheus and Eurydice" is one piece listeners who have turned off to the dreary dissonances the modernist "serial killers" (as Rorem calls them) have been cranking out for decades should welcome with open ears. It's good news that the Amelia Trio will take the concerto to other youth and college-level orchestras.
Kreston, Duckles and Aizawa make a superb team, and together they dug into the piece with a gusto and polish that did the piece proud. I cannot imagine any adult orchestra doing a more thorough job than Tinkham's fine group of preprofessional, college-bound players
09.25.07New Recordings in the works for the Amelia Trio
The Amelia Trio is thrilled to announce two new recording projects this season, for the Naxos and IsoMike labels. Our second recording for Naxos will feature the two trios by Richard Strauss as well as his Piano Quartet. For IsoMike, the trio will be recording the Rachmaninioff trios #1 and #2.
03.13.07Amelias are featured Artists of the Week on Naxos
The Amelia Trio is featured Artists of the Week at Naxos. Their new CD of chamber and solo works of John Harbison includes guests Ida Kavafian, Steven Tenenbom, and John Harbison.
12.14.06Wall Street Journal, New Kale Recipe
Here we are - December - and lovely weather in the NE, thanks to global warming. Trio has been busy, with the usual - concerts, planning for next season, whatnot. On December 3rd, we played a concert on the Schneider Series at New School. We played a new piece by Paul Moravec - called "Tempest Fantasy" - with guest Richard Stoltzman. That was very fun. The piece is crazy and dense and beautiful. What a ride! Richard Stoltzman was a dream.
We had the chance to rehearse at his home outside of Boston - staying with him for three days. What a lovely and caring man. Turns out, not only is he a super wiz at the old tooter, he is a magician in the kitchen. We were privy to wonderful meals, and our collective socks were removed with a bit of "slight of kale" with a kale/raisin/garlic side-dish.
We were fortunate to have a mention in the Wall Street Journal. Here it is - -
The Wall Street Journal
December 9-10, 2006
Leisure & Arts
“The Musician Next Door: How to make youngsters care about artistic pursuits”
By Terry Teachout
Last Sunday I went to a concert by the Amelia Trio, an exciting young chamber-music group whose fresh-faced members teamed up with the great clarinetist Richard Stoltzman to perform “Tempest Fantasy”, a piece by Paul Moravec that won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for music. Mr. Moravec, who lives in New York City, was there as well, and he talked to the audience about his piece, explaining in a clear, no-nonsense way how its various themes were musical portraits of the characters in Shakespeare’s play. As Mr. Moravec spoke, the musicians played the themes associated with Ariel, Prospero, and Caliban. Then they played the whole piece from start to finish, and when they were done, “Tempest Fantasy” received the kind of standing ovation that any composer of modern music would die for.
It occurred to me as I listened that what Mr. Moravec had to say about “Tempest Fantasy,” illuminating as it was, was no important than the mere fact that he was willing to get up on stage and talk about his work in so plain-spoken and unassuming a manner. Most concertgoers, after all, have never met a major classical composer, much less heard him tell a self-deprecating joke.
All at once I remembered another Sunday afternoon years ago when I tuned in one of Leonard Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts. The topic was American music, and at the end of the program Bernstein introduced an ordinary-looking man in a business suit who proceeded to conduct the finale of a symphony he’d written. The man, Bernstein explained, was Aaron Copland, and the piece was his Third Symphony, one of the permanent masterpieces of American art. Young as I was, I got the message loud and clear: Art doesn’t just drop from the skies. It’s a normal human activity, something that people do for a living, the same way they paint houses or cut hair. It is a message that every artist in America should be sending as clearly – and frequently – as possible
08.29.06"Orpheus and Euridice" Triple Concerto being written by Daron Hagen for the Amelia Trio
The Amelias are pleased to announce their commission of a new Triple Concerto by American composer Daron Hagen, based on the Orpheus and Eurydice myth. This exciting new project of the Amelia Piano Trio aims to fulfill two major goals: first, to address the current dearth of concertos for multiple instruments in the orchestral literature by bringing to life an important new triple concerto. Secondly, the project seeks to advance the cause of new music by inspiring and educating some of the top level talent of the emerging generation through using as a launching pad for the new work a group of America’s top pre-professional orchestras. These orchestras share a common goal of exposing their talented young members to high quality music by living composers during a critical period in their development. They know firsthand the pivotal effect that can result from working with living composers on a work created especially for them.
08.20.06Beethoven Cycle Live on WFMT
The Amelas are getting ready for their Live Beethoven Cycle on Chicago's WFMT. Performing the Beethoven Cycle is a kind of "right of passage" for any trio. The full cycle takes three concerts to perform, and is a great way to get to know Beethoven - as a performer as well as a listener. From his first published work (Op. 1 #1) to his wonderful "Archduke" piano trio, the cycle is a true tour de force. The Amelias played their first cycle last seaon in New Jersey to much success, and have several planned for this season, including the Vermont Mozart Festival and live on WFMT. Three shows ion WFMT in October will also include one work from a living composer, as well as an interview with that composer on the topic of Beethoven. Composers include John Harbison and Augusta Read Thomas, who have both written trios for the Amelias. Please click on the website to listen to a live stream of the concert.