MIDDLEBURY, Vt. ? One of England's brightest stars on the chamber music scene, the Florestan Trio, returns to Middlebury for a performance of selections by Haydn, Schubert and Dvorák at 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 20, in the Middlebury College Center for the Arts Concert Hall.
The Florestan Trio
Performing together since 1995, violinist Anthony Marwood, cellist Richard Lester and pianist Susan Tomes have dazzled audiences worldwide with both their live concerts and their impressive list of recordings. In 2000, the ensemble was the first piano trio to win Britain's Royal Philharmonic Society Award for chamber music. A reviewer for The Times of London has written that their performance of Schubert's B-Flat Trio was "marvelously alive, played with palpable joy and an unerring sense of ensemble."
Their recordings on the Hyperion label have received numerous nominations for Gramophone awards as well as the 1999 Gramophone chamber music award for a recording of trios by Schumann. Subsequent recordings have been welcomed with high praise. The Florestan's most recent work in the recording studio is a collection of all of the Beethoven piano trios for Hyperion. A reviewer for The Strad, a magazine for string instrument players, had this to say about Volume 1: "The Florestan have made some truly remarkable records, but this may be their finest yet."
The trio is a regular guest at the United Kingdom's chamber festivals and performs regularly at London's principal concert halls and around Europe. Recent tours have taken the group to South America, Israel, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. They debuted in the United States in 2002 with the Grand Rapids Symphony and make their return this year. In 2004, their first major tour of the U.S. included a Carnegie Hall debut, followed by a broader U.S. tour in 2005. This appearance is their second in Middlebury, where they performed in 2004.
The trio founded a charitable company, The Florestan Trust, to develop public awareness and appreciation of music through concerts, educational projects, and the commissioning of new works. The Florestan Trust runs its own chamber music festival at Peasmarsh in East Sussex which was started in 1998 and is now an annual event in June.
Each of the Florestan artists has a busy schedule apart from the trio, appearing as soloists and guest recitalists with other chamber ensembles and orchestras as well as participating in British and international festivals. Lester is the principal cellist with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. Violinist Marwood has made more than 20 recordings outside of the Florestan Trio.
Pianist Tomes is particularly prolific in her craft, having recorded more than 40 CDs of solo, duo and chamber music. She performs and records with the Gaudier Ensemble and plays duos with numerous distinguished artists, such as Stephen Isserlis and Thomas Riebl. The first woman to study music at King's College in Cambridge, Tomes was a founder of the award-winning ensemble Domus, which toured worldwide and recorded much of the chamber music repertoire for piano quartet. Lester was also part of that group, whose disbanding in 1995 led to the creation of the Florestan Trio. Its name, according to the group, is borrowed from one of Schumann's imaginary alter egos; in his diaries, the composer referred to himself in an optimistic mood as "Florestan."
The performance is sponsored by the Middlebury College Performing Arts Series.
Reserved seating tickets are $15 for general admission and $12 for seniors. A pre-performance dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. at Rehearsals Cafe in the Center for the Arts on South Main Street (Route 30). Reservations are required. For information, tickets or dinner reservations, contact the Middlebury College Box Office at 802-443-6433, or visit the Web site at www.middlebury.edu/arts