February 15, 2001

"… a remarkable unanimity of sound and purpose"
---The New York Times

Vibrant German trio to visit Middlebury College March 2

MIDDLEBURY, Vt.―Concert goers will enjoy an energetic evening of trios by Beethoven, Leonard Bernstein, and Felix Mendelssohn when Germany’s acclaimed Trio Fontenay visits Middlebury College Friday, March 2, at 8 p.m. in the Concert Hall in the Center for the Arts on South Main Street (Route 30).

Pianist Wolf Harden, violinist Michael Mücke, and cellist Jens Peter Maintz routinely play across Europe, North and South America, Asia, and Australia to lavish reviews. Their concert performances draw praise for technical skill, collaborative precision, power, and discipline.

The Daily Record in Wooster, Ohio, was direct in its review last spring: "It was high wire, take it to the edge playing." On the same tour, the ensemble made a similar impression on the Edmonton Journal, which referred to "plenty of moments of rapture and fire." The Houston Chronicle called Fontenay’s performance "just magical." A critic at the Albany Times-Union agreed: "These three musicians brought Tchaikovsky up to full-throttle burn. The audience loved the razzle-dazzle."

While Trio Fontenay often receives praise for its coherence and energy, it also is credited for an exemplary level of respect for its material. A "selfless reverence for the music" is how the Kansas City Star described it after a 1998 concert of "music-making on an almost superhuman level."

Formed in 1980, the trio named itself after the street near the Hamburg Conservatory where the group first met to practice. The word fontenay is old French for source and fantasy. The ensemble’s early days were spent in study with the Amadeus Quartet and the trio soon began winning awards and competitions across Europe. The group has been named trio-in-residence at Paris’ Théâtre Chatelet and makes regular appearances in London, Munich, Hamburg, Berlin, and Amsterdam. North American tours have brought the ensemble to Montreal, Toronto, Kansas City, Houston, Chicago, Berkeley, and Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall, among other locales.

In addition to concert dates, Trio Fontenay has an extensive list of recordings on a number of labels. The group’s members have recorded the complete piano trios by Brahms, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Schubert, and Dvorák. They recently signed a five-year exclusive contract with Teldec. Their Teldec recording of Beethoven’s Piano Trios won the 1994 German Record Critics Award.

Trio Fontenay’s performance is sponsored by the Middlebury College Concert Series. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $8 for senior citizens. A pre-performance dinner will be held at 6:30 p.m. at Rehearsals Cafe in the Center for the Arts. For tickets or dinner reservations, call the College box office at 802-443-6433.

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