Marsyas Trio: Helen Vidovich – Flute | Val Welbanks – Cello | Olga Stezhko – Piano
“…these fine artists weaving some tremendous sounds around each other. They give this work a terrific performance finding out all of its depth and emotion.”Bruce Reader, The Classical Reviewer
The London-based Marsyas Trio, formed in 2009 by graduates of the Royal Academy of Music, is the UK’s leading flute, cello and piano ensemble. Showcasing a hugely diverse repertoire from the Classical and Romantic eras to the present day, the Marsyas Trio’s programming illuminates forgotten masterpieces, whilst inspiring a generation of new works through commissioning initiatives and recording projects.
For bookings, or to find out more information about the Marsyas Trio, please contact us here.
Audiences around the world have been captivated by compelling narratives within programmes, whose themes varied from historical women composers and Suffrage to the reimagining of the history of humankind in the cross-art project Shadows of Time. The Marsyas Trio’s CD A Triple Portrait (Meridian Records 2015), featured chamber works by the formerly blacklisted Russian émigré Elena Firsova, in celebration of her 25 years in the UK.
Watch live performances by the Marsyas Trio here.
“Premiere recordings of the captivating, profound music of Elena Firsova…performed with devoted insight and sensitivity by the Marsyas Trio. ”Julian Haylock, The Strad
Embracing the challenge that the pandemic presented for the music industry in 2020, the Marsyas Trio produced a 6-part digital season ‘At Home with the Marsyas’. The series were supported by the generous grant from Arts Council England and received over 5000 combined views.
View ‘At Home with the Marsyas’ here.
The season included three new commissions: ‘Wisdom’ by Michael Finnissy – a groundbreaking work for trio and mezzo-soprano, ‘Salutem’ by Julian Hand – a short experimental film to accompany Laura Bowler’s eponymous piece, and ‘Three Little Mammoths’ by author Eoin McLaughlin and composer Robin Haigh (partly supported by the Fidelio Charitable Trust) – a children’s music play narrated by the Scottish comedian Janey Godley and aimed to introduce chamber music to primary-age children.
In 2022 the Marsyas Trio will bring ‘Three Little Mammoths’ to concert halls and schools with the support of the Hope Scott Trust and the Marchus Trust. The Trio also look forward to teaching students at the University of Cambridge as part of their intercollegiate Instrumental Awards for Chamber Music Scheme.
To read more about the Marsyas Trio’s collaborations and cross-art projects, click here.
The Trio’s concert highlights include tours in Europe, China, the USA & Canada, in the West Country for Concerts in the West, and in rural Wales as part of Arts Council Wales’ Night Out scheme, which aims to bring outstanding chamber music to regional audiences. UK festivals’ highlights include the Cambridge Festival of Ideas, St David’s Cathedral Festival, Vale of Glamorgan, Three Choirs Festivals and Spitalfields Music in the City. The Marsyas Trio’s live performances were broadcast on Swiss Radio RTS Espace2, Classic FM Bulgaria and BBC Radio 3.
The Marsyas Trio’s latest CD In the Theatre of Air (NMC Recordings 2018), debuted at No. 7 on the classical charts. The disc was warmly reviewed in Gramophone, BBC Music Magazine (4-stars), Tempo and featured in the Sunday Times’ The Week’s Essential New Releases, with broadcasts including BBC Radio 3 and RTÉ Lyric FM.
To listen to In the Theatre of Air on Spotify, click here.
The ensemble has worked with Britain’s leading composers, both established and emerging, including Michael Finnissy, Judith Weir and Laura Bowler. The Marsyas Trio has received generous and repeated support from the RVW Trust, PRS Foundation, Hinrichsen Foundation, Ambache Charitable Trust, Fidelio Charitable Trust, Britten-Pears Foundation and Arts Council England. In 2019 they were awarded a touring grant to North America from HMUK’s Do IT Differently Fund.
The Trio takes its name from Greek mythology – inspired by the bold, spirited passion of Marsyas, the celebrated pipe-playing satyr who dared to challenge and defeat Apollo in a musical contest.
For bookings or further information, please contact us here.
Marsyas Trio – Sample programmes
Why No Women Mozarts?
Amy Beach (1867-1944): Pastorale & Caprice “The Water Sprites”, Op. 90 (1921) 6’
Thea Musgrave (b. 1928): Canta Canta for alto flute, cello and piano (1997) 5’
Louise Farrenc (1804-1875): Flute, Cello and Piano Trio in E minor, Op. 45 (1856) 25’
Hilary Tann(b. 1947): In the Theatre of Air (2017 Marsyas Trio commission) 17’
Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel (1805-1847): Piano Trio in d minor, Op. 11 (1846) 25’
Imagine the richness of repertoire we would hold today if the prodigiously talented sisters and wives of the likes of Mozart, Mendelssohn and Schumann had been encouraged or even permitted careers equal to those of their male contemporaries; who – had they been living today, may well have enjoyed glittering compositional careers. A letter from Abraham Mendelssohn to his daughter lays bare 19th-century social expectations: “Perhaps for Felix music will become a profession, while for you it will always remain but an ornament; never can and should it become the foundation of your existence.”
The concert features the title track from the Marsyas Trio’s latest CD, In the Theatre of Air (NMC Recordings 2018), conceived in celebration of the Suffrage centenary in Britain. Alongside are works by eminent women figures, who fought social and cultural conventions in order to compose and have a public musical life.
Invention & Revolution
Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809): Trio No.29 in G major, Hob.XV:15 (1790) 18’
Jacques Ibert (1890-1962): Pièce for Solo Flute (1936) 5’
Bohuslav Martinu (1890-1959): Trio for Flute, Cello and Piano (1944) 18’
Claude Debussy (1862-1918): Sonate pour violoncello et piano (1915) 11’
Carl Maria von Weber (1786-1826): Trio in G minor, Op. 63 (1820) 24’
Spanning three centuries of social unrest in continental Europe, we feature composers who were forward-thinking in their day. Haydn’s Trio No.29 in G major, Hob.XV:15 was written during the French Revolution. Composed by the inventor of the string quartet, the work transports us into the royal salons of the Esterhazy family, whose very ideals were being challenged by revolutionaries.
Ibert’s intimate soliloquy follows, written to be played by Marcel Moyse, founder of the modern flute school, at a party celebrating the premiere performance of Ibert’s Flute Concerto. Martinu wrote his Trio during the Second World War. Transcending the fears of wartime life, Martinu’s music is uplifting with quirky, mechanical rhythms and modern bright harmonic language.
Debussy’s musical innovations need no introduction. His much-loved cello sonata must have astonished his audience in 1915, pushing harmonic and timbral boundaries of cello playing at the time. The programme concludes with Weber’s popular Trio in G minor, an iconic work in the flute-cello-piano trio’s repertoire. Weber infuses the music with many features of his own operatic style, which forged new paths for the Romantic opera.
Travelling the british Isles
Muzio Clementi (1752-1832): Sonata for Pianoforte with flute and cello in C major, Op. 21, No. 3 (1788) 10’
Eugene Goossens (1893–1962): Five Impressions of a Holiday, Op. 7 (1916) 15’
Hilary Tann (b. 1947): In the Theatre of Air for flute, cello & piano (2017 Marsays Trio commission) 17’
Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847): Trio No.1 in D minor, Op. 49 for flute, cello & piano (1839) 30’
The vibrant cultural life of Britain influenced the careers of many continental composers – each work within this programme has a strong connection to the British Isles. Regarded among Mendelssohn’s greatest works, his D minor piano trio owes the existence of its edition for the flute to the Ewer publishing company in London. Mendelssohn’s enthusiasm in reworking the parts is reflected in a letter to his former teacher, Moscheles, where Mendelssohn remarks how well the flute suited the work.
Italian-born Clementi lived in England from the age of fourteen, sponsored by a wealthy aristocrat who used his influence to promote the young musician’s talents. Clementi’s resting place at Westminster Abbey is a testament to his preeminent position in British musical life. Goossens, of Belgian descent, was born in London and received a knighthood from the Queen for his contribution to music. His five musical montages portray countryside memories in sensuous Debussy-like colours.
Finally, the programme connects with modern Britain through Welsh composer Hilary Tann, whose work depicting poetry by Mary Oliver was premiered at the Vale of Glamorgan Festival in 2017, and generously funded by the Fidelio and RVW Trusts.
For more information, or to book the Marsyas Trio, please contact us.