Raphael Trio to Perform at Middlebury College on Oct. 21

Program Includes Premiere of Collaboration Between Vermont Author Jamaica Kincaid and Middlebury College Associate Professor of Music Su Lian Tan

MIDDLEBURY, Vt.-The Raphael Trio will premiere “Jamaica’s Songs,” a collaboration between award-winning author and Vermont resident Jamaica Kincaid and Middlebury Associate Professor of Music Su Lian Tan at an 8 p.m. concert Saturday, Oct. 21, in the Concert Hall of the College’s Center for the Arts on Route 30. The premiere is taking place as part of Middlebury College’s Bicentennial celebration.

“Jamaica’s Songs,” the centerpiece of the trio’s performance, is an eight-song collection with music composed by Tan incorporating song text penned by Kincaid, who was awarded an honorary degree from Middlebury College in 1998. Mezzo-soprano Désireé Halac will be the featured vocalist for Kincaid’s song cycle. Halac is a graduate of New York University’s Mannes College of Music and has performed at venues around the country, including the Virginia Opera and the Aspen Opera Festival.

The Raphael Trio also will perform several Beethoven pieces, opening with the master’s “Piano Trio in B-flat.” The work is an often overlooked movement with a tender history that many a beginner piano student would covet. Beethoven wrote it in 1812 for Maximiliane Brentano, the 10-year-old daughter of close friends. The family kept the manuscript on which the composer wrote: “For my little friend Maxe Brentano, to encourage her in playing the piano.”

The ensemble later will perform Beethoven’s “Archduke Trio, Opus 97.” It is the sixth and final composition he wrote for violin, cello, and piano and he dedicated it to his student, the Archduke Rudolph of Austria, son of Emperor Leopold II.

The Raphael Trio has been playing to critical acclaim for nearly 25 years and still features founding members Daniel Epstein on piano and cellist Susan Salm. Together the pair directs the Raphael Trio Chamber Music Workshop every summer in Adamant, Vt. Epstein’s career has taken him throughout the United States and across Europe and Asia performing solo recitals,

orchestral appearances, and chamber music. His work has garnered him numerous honors,

including the Kosciuszko Chopin Award, the Prix Alex DeVries in Paris, and the Concert Artists Guild Award, which resulted in his Carnegie Recital Hall debut. Epstein teaches at the Manhattan School of Music and Vermont’s Bennington College.

In addition to her work with the Raphael Trio, Salm appears in recital, performs as a guest soloist with orchestras across the U.S. and Europe, and participates in a variety of musical festivals at home and abroad.

The ensemble’s newest addition, violinist Irina Muresanu, has won accolades as an outstanding young musician since her debut recital at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall. Her participation last year in an emerging-artist series in Boston won praise from The Boston Globe as one of the best performances of 1999. The Romanian-born musician holds faculty positions at the Preparatory School of the New England Conservatory and M.I.T.’s music department.

Reserved-seating tickets for the performance are $10 for general admission, and $8 for senior citizens. Reservations are required for a pre-performance dinner at 6:30 p.m. at Rehearsals Cafe. To order tickets or make dinner reservations, call the box office 802-443-6433.

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