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Posts Tagged ‘Beaux Arts Trio’

Menahem Pressler and Philip Thomson
Menahem Pressler (l), Philip Thomson (r)

The orchestras of Akron and Canton will kick off their 2009-10 classical series seasons with guest pianists performing concertos.

The Canton Symphony welcomes Menahem Pressler as part of their "American Living Legends" series. Pressler made over 50 recordings (most of them for Philips) as pianist for the Beaux Arts Trio, arguably the world’s best known piano trio. After over a half-century of acclaimed music making, Beaux Arts disbanded late last year (see Beaux Arts Trio Bows Out in WKSU Classical), and Pressler vowed to continue performing as a soloist. The Canton Symphony will accompany him in Mozart’s 17th piano concerto (K453).

Pressler hails from Bloomington, Indiana, but the Akron Symphony found their soloist right in their own back yard, so to speak: though Canadian-born, Philip Thomson is currently on the faculty of the University of Akron. Thomson is recognized for his interpretations of Liszt’s music and has recorded for Hungaroton, Naxos and Ivory Classics. He will join the orchestra for the Grieg concerto.

The Akron Symphony’s opening concert will be on Sunday, 13 September at E J Thomas Hall. Canton’s is set for Saturday, 10 October at Umstattd Hall. Tickets are available at their respective websites, or by phone at 330 535-8131 (Akron) and 330 452-2094 (Canton).

Further reading:

American Living Legends Concert at Canton Symphony

Northern Lights Concert at Akron Symphony

Menahem Pressler’s website

Philip Thomson’s biography (pdf) at University of Akron

Beaux Arts Trio
Beaux Arts Trio

Over a half-century on, the ensemble that was arguably the world’s most famous piano trio is no more. In August of 2008, when this article first appeared, they played their finale where they made their 1955 debut — the Tanglewood Festival.

It was a poignant moment for me, as a classical announcer and music director. "Beaux Arts" was one of the first names I learned to pronounce when I first started announcing classical music almost 35 years ago! But of course what I really remember them for is their unflagging musicianship. They brought Haydn’s trios to my attention, infused Schubert with an unmatched poetry, and captured the anguish and intensity of the Shostakovich e-minor trio like no one else ever has.

The Beaux Arts Trio I remember best is that group — Menahem Pressler, Isidore Cohen, and Bernard Greenhouse. They’ve been through several personnel changes since, most recently landing the promising young violinist Daniel Hope in 2002.

It was partly Hope’s career trajectory that helped to seal the trio’s fate. It certainly wasn’t Pressler’s. At 84, founding pianist Menahem Pressler is still going strong and is forging ahead with a full performance and teaching schedule. But Hope left to pursue his developing solo career. Pressler and cellist Antonio Meneses said they couldn’t face "breaking in" yet another violinist.

I’ll miss them, and I’m sure you will too. But every end has its concomitant beginning. With luck their departure will spur reissues of the trio’s voluminous older catalog on CD, or at least on downloads.

Further reading:

Beaux Arts Trio Bids Farewell at

A Trio Winds Down at the New York Times (registration may be required)

Listening with the Beaux Arts Trio:

Tanglewood Farewell Concert at NPR (includes downloadable music file)

Complete Haydn Trios at Arkivmusic

Schubert Trios at CD Universe

Shostakovich Trios at Amazon

Note: The vendor links above are provided solely for your information. WKSU doesn’t endorse these suppliers, nor does it receive any financial benefit from your use of the links.

This article was originally published on 22 August 2008.


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