Our June 2024 issue spotlights piano trios who are making waves in the classical music scene today. Charlotte Gardner takes a closer look at the Trio Orelon


Trio Orelon © Sergio Bertani

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This is an excerpt from The Strad June 2024 feature Three’s company: the rise of piano trios. Read the full article here

Violinist Judith Stapf, cellist Arnau Rovira i Bascompte and pianist Marco Sanna formed Trio Orelon in 2019 at the music universities of Cologne and Berlin, thanks to Stapf and Rovira i Bascompte already playing in duos with Sanna, who had dropped soloist activities in favour of chamber playing and saw the piano trio as ‘the pinnacle of what the world of chamber music offers’.

The group’s awards in 2023 included first and audience prizes at the ARD International Music Competition and first prize and trio commission prize at the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition. In 2022 it also won two awards, including the first prize, in the Franz Schubert und die Musik der Moderne chamber music competition, Graz. That same year saw the release of a CD of Beach trios on the Da Vinci label. A second release, featuring more female composers, comes out later this year. Signed to an agent and operating full-time, the trio has a packed schedule, including forthcoming debuts at Vienna Musikverein and Berlin Boulezsaal.

As for how all this has been possible, the two keywords are Covid and competitions. ‘All our generation’s trios experienced the pandemic in their earliest time together,’ says Sanna. ‘For us, this was a positive thing because it gave us what musicians don’t usually have: time – to rehearse, work on our sound, enjoy being in each other’s company.’ Competitions then gave them visibility, concerts and a degree of financial help, ‘even if they’re not the best paid in comparison with the solo ones’, adds Stapf. ‘It was also through the intensity of this competition period that we figured out that being together 24/7 was something we wanted.’

As for the future, they’re both hopeful and pragmatic. ‘We know that ten years ago young trios could not be full-time,’ says Rovira i Bascompte. ‘Our goal over the next few years will be to enjoy this time and to use the concerts we have – both the more and the less important ones – to build a network. Then we will see.’

This is an excerpt from The Strad June 2024 feature Three’s company: the rise of piano trios. Read the full article here

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