A new music work by the Israeli composer Shulamit Ran, titled "Soliloquy," will highlight a concert by the Peabody Trio, presented by the Chamber Music Society of Salt Lake City.
"The music in `Soliloquy' is taken from themes from an opera she wrote that was premiered last year by the Chicago Lyric Opera," according to Seth Knopp, pianist of the Peabody Trio. "The trio is a very peaceful and gentle work. The themes are presented in the violin and cello, while the piano part is mainly textural."We've known Shulamit since 1988 and she's a good friend of ours. We've done some of her other pieces, for example, her `Excursions' for piano trio, which is a monumental work and totally unlike `Soliloquy.' We're also planning a recording in the near future that'll be devoted exclusively to her music."
Also on the program are some well-known works for piano trio, such as Beethoven's Trio in E flat major, Op. 70, No. 2. The concert is tonight at 8 p.m. in the auditorium of the Museum of Fine Arts on the University of Utah campus.
The Peabody Trio, which includes violinist Violaine Melancon, who's married to Knopp; and cellist Thomas Kraines, who joined the group four years ago, has commissioned quite a few works for piano trio. They've performed or premiered works by Bright Sheng, Robert Sirota and Stephen Coxe.
Incidentally, they've also commissioned a trio from Zhou Long, who had a work performed in Salt Lake City last month when the Shanghai Quartet played his "Poems from Tang."
The reason the Peabody plays a lot of new music is twofold, Knopp explains. "We feel that we have an obligation to commission music, since it gives composers a chance to have their music heard. And it also helps us to grow as musicians. Every piece you get is a new language that must be learned. It's a very exciting part of our lives as musicians."
Before becoming a trio, Knopp and Melancon, who had met in Philadelphia in the early 1980s, formed a highly successful duo that performed and traveled extensively, eventually ending up in San Francisco as part of the chamber music society there.
While based in San Francisco Knopp admits. "We wanted to expand our repertoire by becoming a trio, even though there is a very large collection of works for piano and violin. But it's been great being a trio, especially since Thomas joined. He's an incredible cellist."
Knopp concedes that he and his wife miss doing duo work, although the two of them will be performing together a few times this summer. "Unfortunately, there just isn't enough time for everything."
In addition to their extensive performance schedule, the trio is also the resident faculty ensemble of Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, where Knopp is chairman of the chamber music faculty. He is also the newly appointed assistant director of a summer music festival in Vermont called "Yellow Barn."
With such a busy career Knopp laments the fact that he and his wife can't spend as much time together with their 4-year-old son as they would like. However, they're taking him with them on their current tour, which besides Utah, includes two concerts in California.
And when those concerts are done, the next stop on their itinerary will be Disneyland.
Tickets for this evening's concert are available at the door and cost $15 for general admission and $5 for students.