Widely regarded as the premier piano trio of its generation, the Claremont Trio is sought after for its thrillingly virtuosic and richly communicative performances. First winners of the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson International Trio Award and the only piano trio ever to win the Young Concert Artists International Auditions, the Claremonts are consistently lauded for their “aesthetic maturity, interpretive depth, and exuberance” (Palm Beach Daily News). To celebrate their 10th anniversary season, the trio returns to New York’s Carnegie Hall and Washington D.C’s Kennedy Center, and appears in more than 60 halls throughout the country.
Equally passionate about the standard repertoire and the music of our time, the Claremonts launch the 2008-2009 season with the release of two CDs, spanning music from Beethoven to Mason Bates. “American Trios” on Tria Records will be the first disc to present both of Leon Kirchner’s piano trios and will honor his 90th birthday this year. The disc also features Paul Schoenfield’s “Café Music”, Ellen Zwilich’s “Trio”, and Mason Bates’ “String Band” (written for the Claremont Trio in 2002). The group’s second 2008 CD, to be released by Ongaku Records, is a collaborative project with clarinetist Jonathan Cohler including works by Beethoven, Brahms, and Dohnanyi.
The Trio maintains a strong New York presence this season, performing at Carnegie Hall, Symphony Space, Merkin Hall, and Miller Theatre. Their extensive countrywide tour encompasses major venues in Washington D. C., Boston, Seattle, Phoenix, Anchorage, Syracuse, Columbus, and Puerto Rico as well as universities including Duke, Kansas State and SUNY Purchase. Deeply committed to expanding the trio repertoire, the Trio will present the world premiere performance of a work by Nico Muhly at Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center and will also premiere a new piece written for them by Howard Frazin. They will perform Mason Bates’ new work, “Red River” (2007) for piano trio, clarinet, and electronics and perform in special concerts celebrating Leon Kirchner’s 90th and Elliott Carter’s 100th birthdays.
Believing that education on all levels is essential to the future of classical music, the Claremont Trio is extensively involved in teaching the next generation of musicians and music lovers. Sought after for their effectiveness in the classroom as well as on the concert stage, the Trio will conduct educational outreach activities and master classes in more than ten states this season, including a mini-residency at the Peabody Conservatory’s Preparatory Division and master classes at the University of Washington. In recent years, the Claremonts have led master classes at the Eastman School of Music, Boston Conservatory, Purchase College at SUNY, Middlebury College, University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh, Longy School of Music, and Gettysburg College’s Sunderman Conservatory.
Highlights of the Trio’s 2007-08 season included a complete cycle of Brahms and Schumann trios at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and summer appearances at the Saratoga, Mostly Mozart, Bard, Rockport, and Hamptons festivals. During the main season, they performed under the auspices of New York’s Peggy Rockefeller concerts, the Rhode Island Chamber Music Concerts, Memphis’ Concerts International, St. Paul’s Music in the Park, University of Kansas’ Lied Center, Middlebury College, and the chamber music societies of Honolulu, Buffalo, Tulsa, and Williamsburg.
In recent seasons, the Trio has toured throughout the United States in its major concert halls and on the series of prestigious chamber music societies. They have performed at Avery Fisher Hall and Alice Tully Hall in New York’s Lincoln Center; the UCLA Center for the Performing Arts; Stanford Lively Arts; the La Jolla Music Society; the Performing Arts Center at SUNY Purchase; the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts; and Wolf Trap. They have been featured guests of the chamber music societies of Detroit, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Louisville, and San Antonio. During summers, the Claremont Trio has appeared at the Caramoor, Ravinia, Norfolk, Moab, Cape Cod Chamber Music, and Great Lakes festivals. The Trio also has performed at the American Academy in Rome, and in 2002 they traveled to Bosnia, Serbia, and Slovenia as part of a stimulating cultural exchange co-sponsored by the U.S. State Department and Carnegie Hall.
The Claremont Trio frequently performs the Beethoven Triple Concerto with orchestras such as the Utah Symphony, Virginia Symphony, and Pacific Symphony. They have collaborated with Peter Martins, director of the New York City Ballet, on a ballet based on Paul Schoenfield’s “Cafe Music”. They have also been privileged to perform with many distinguished guest artists including Toby Appel, Joseph Kalichstein, Martha Katz, Jaime Laredo, Ida Kavafian, Nokuthula Ngwenyama, Sharon Robinson, and Richard Young. The Claremont Trio has commissioned new works for piano trio by Daniel Kellogg, Mason Bates, and Hillary Zipper, and this year they will embark on a project with the innovative composer and violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain.
The Claremont Trio’s debut CD of Mendelssohn trios was released on the Arabesque label in 2004 to overwhelming critical acclaim. Gramophone magazine praised the disc for giving “large-scale performances with a sweeping, romantic sense of space and strong dramatic contrasts,” while Strings celebrated the Trio’s ability to “find a cool equilibrium between industry and frivolity where an elegant, totally Mendelssohnian sexiness resides.” The group’s second disc of Shostakovich and Arensky trios was released on Tria Records in 2006 in honor of the 100th anniversary of Shostakovich’s birth.
The Claremont Trio has been featured on both Japanese and American television and is also heard frequently in interviews on radio stations throughout the U.S. and abroad, including Australia’s ABC, New York’s WQXR, Boston’s WGBH, Chicago’s WFMT, Salt Lake City’s KBYU, and Columbia University’s WKCR. In 2006, they added a new feature to their website – a blog describing their adventures on the road. Through this online tour diary the members of the trio reach out to friends and music lovers of all ages around the world, offering a window into their lives as traveling musicians.
Twin sisters Emily Bruskin (violin) and Julia Bruskin (cello) formed the Trio with Donna Kwong (piano) in 1999 at The Juilliard School. The Claremonts are based in New York City near their namesake: Claremont Avenue.