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Communique: Parisian "Trio Karenine" Performs At Beckwith In First U.S. Tour

Trio Karenine
Trio Karenine

Chamber Music Wilmington's tagline this year is "Our Season Will Blow You Away." Unfortunately, Hurricane Florence did postpone of the season ... but the concerts are back on track with Trio Karenine this Sunday, 11/4 at 7:30. This parisian group performs Schumann's Piano Trio #2, Trio #1 by Shostakovich, and Ravel's Piano Trio. 

We spoke with Barbara McKenzie from Chamber Music Wilmington; listen above and find our extended conversation below. Tickets and season memberships are available onlineand at the Beckwith Recital Hall Box Office beginning an hour prior to showtime. 

Listen to music by Trio Karenine here.

Gina: Barbara McKenzie, you are the artistic director of Chamber Music Wilmington.

Barbara: Right. And cofounder.

Gina: And cofounder.

Barbara: We go back now. We're in our 24th season.

Gina: 24th season. Next year is 25!

Barbara: Yes. Next year is the 25th season. Our tagline this year is, "Our Season Will Blow You Away." We didn't mean to tempt mother nature with that, but as you know, we're opening later than we had intended. We're actually opening with a wonderful Trio from Paris, the Trio Karenin in a name for Anna Karenina from Tolstoy's famous romantic novel and they were scheduled as our second concert of the season, but they have become our first concert of the season, but we will return to the original program in March with Caroline Shaw and the Jasper string quartet.

Gina: I saw that that had been rescheduled, which is great because I know how excited you and everyone else was about that.

Barbara: Just thrilled. And you know, the North Carolina Arts Council as well. And we dedicated that particular concert to their 50th anniversary, so the Arts Council's having special events all over the state to commemorate their 50 years and we had dedicated our opening concert with Caroline Shaw and Jasper Quartet. So we're looking forward to recapturing that enthusiasm in March.

Gina: Well, let's talk about the Trio Karenin from Paris. And they, this group, this. Let me see. What can I say about this group? This group is from Paris...

Barbara: and they're playing Ravel!

Gina: and they're playing Ravel.

Barbara: Right.

Gina: And I even noticed they spelled Chostakovich with a C.

Barbara: Yes. We're really excited to have them. They are just one of the top piano Trios in the world right now. There are young Trio. They came to prominence and fame when they won the big Munich competition that some people call it the ARD, but it's the big Munich competition that is for chamber music and soloists and it's the biggest competition in Germany and this sort of launched their career in 2013. And this is their performance here in North Carolina for us in the American music festival is their first American tour, so we're happy to present them in their American debut and they've just won, released a beautiful album of Schumann, for which they've received rave reviews all over Europe, especially 5 Diapasons in awards from the German music critics society and in Australia also just incredible accolades, which is important if you're playing German music and you're French and you're still winning amazing awards from German critics and reviewers, but you know, they're, so they're really making a name for themselves in that they play with such a fine aesthetic, which, you know, French music is very fine. And we've talked, you and I've talked about that before, you know, the color and just the creation of atmosphere with sound and apparently they just do it really, really well. So we're very excited about having them.

Gina: I'm particularly interested in how they play the Ravel piece that they will be performing [Ravel’s “Piano Trio”].

Barbara: Me Too. I've played that piece and it’s one of the most demanding pieces for the pianist in chamber music repertoire. And I'm very excited to hear a French piano trio do that. Well, you know, most of us are very familiar with the Beaux Arts Trio and their performance of Ravel and it's been on the, you know, the top 10, I guess chamber music recordings for a long time. But it's wonderful to hear these new and fresh interpretations of music that we enjoy.

Gina: And this trio, a trio means they have what instruments?

Barbara: The piano trio is, it's a traditional formation just like the string quartet is, you know, two violins, viola and cello. And that's a standard formation for a string quartet. The piano trio is piano, violin, and cello. And I'm glad you asked that because sometimes people ask me if that means three pianos. [laughs] That would really be hard to tour with, three pianos.

Gina: Unless you could find a space that has three pianos everywhere.

Barbara: Right? Which is really difficult, to find even one good piano. But yeah, they'll be here performing at Beckwith recital hall on Sunday, November 4th at 7:30. And tickets are still available by calling Kenan box office.

Gina: Because this is the first concert of your season, does that mean people can still buy subscriptions for the year?

Barbara: Absolutely. And, that's a good, good question. We will honor new people who come and are just checking out our programming and have only bought a single ticket, they may turn it in for a season subscription and people who are just now learning about Chamber Music Wilmington, a professional chamber music series, can buy a membership. We do four concerts a year and as I said, we're picking up the original opening concert that was scheduled for September and that will be in March. And everything is at Beckwith Recital Hall, which you know is like one of the, really, gems in our town, especially for fine music and we're really happy to be there again this year.