Piano, cello and violin: great musical talent combined captivating performance
On May 7, 2012, El Paseo Arts Foundation plays host to three musicians, remarkable for both their musical virtuosity and their engaging and entertaining performance style. For The Manhattan Piano Trio, the concert on the 7th will be an encore performance. They thrilled the local audience with their first concert at the Convention Center five years ago, and El Paseo Arts decided it was time to bring them back for another audience to enjoy. The concert on the 7th begins at 7:30 p.m. at the SPI Convention Center. Tickets for the concert are $25 per person/$20 for members, and tickets are available for purchase at the SPI Visitors Center, Paragraphs Book Store, Designer Consigner, and online at www.elpaseoarts.org.
Hailed by critics as "a grand departure from the usual" (News Herald), the Manhattan Piano Trio has quickly become one of the most creative, exciting, and dynamic young ensembles in the United States. With more than 300 concerts in its first five seasons alone, MPT is one of the most active groups in the classical music scene, welcomed by enthusiastic audiences in over 30 states, Australia, South Africa and Italy, and in venues such as Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Hall, and the Ravinia Festival. The Washington Post described the Trio as "impressive" and "outstanding", while the Sarasota Herald Tribune said "one seldom is privileged to enjoy music of such a wide range of styles performed with self-effacing skill and relaxed assurance." Their third album, a disc of Schumann and Chopin trios in honor of the composers bicentennials, was successfully released last year on the Marquis Classics label.
The Manhattan Piano Trio has been recognized for its electrifying performances in international competitions. Since its inception in 2004, the Trio has captured grand prizes at the Plowman Competition and at the Yellow Springs Competition; runner-up at the Chesapeake Competition; and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Listeners Choice Award in Melbourne.
In the 2011-2012 season, MPT embarked on another set of exciting tours at home and overseas, returning to Music for a Great Space in Greensboro, the Warner Robins Community Concert Association, Virginia Wesleyan College, as well as making debuts at Sweet Briar College, Stephen Austin University, the Gettysburg Community Concert Association, Abilene Christian University, Falany Performing Arts, St. Johns College in Santa Fe, Chamber Music Society of Bethlehem, Limestone College, and Musica Insieme in Bologna, Italy.
Since its formation, MPT has carved out a unique niche for itself by performing concerts in a much wider range of settings from major concert halls around the country to venues in smaller towns. The Trio has performed in prestigious venues such as the Kravis Performing Arts Center, the Clark Memorial Library at UCLA, Chamber Music Sedona and Pro Musica Detroit; alongside these engagements, MPT has maintained its goal of establishing and encouraging new concert series to grow in small towns often bypassed by other major classical groups.
Past seasons have brought the group to virtually every part of the country. Highlights include performances and return engagements at the Franciscan University, William and Mary College, Shenandoah University, Fairmont Chamber Music Society, Young Harris Methodist College, St. Simons Island Concert Association, St. Vincent College, Oxford College of Emory University and Lakes Chamber Music Festival in Minnesota. The Trio has also toured South Africa, performing in Pretoria, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth and Durban.
Strongly committed to educating new generations of musicians and music lovers, the Manhattan Piano Trio enjoys communicating with their audiences through both music and commentary. The Trio also presents master classes and outreach programs to preparatory schools, colleges, and communities wherever it goes. As part of the community rebuilding effort in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, they were one of the first musical groups to perform in the city and were honored to give a benefit concert at the University of New Orleans.
The Manhattan Piano Trio is an ensemble that embodies, in the deepest sense, the borough that provides its namesake: these three musicians represent starkly different backgrounds, and yet connect on a fundamental level to enjoy making music together. Wayne Lee, violinist, is originally from San Francisco; the groups cellist, Dmitry Kouzov, grew up in St. Petersburg, Russia; and Milana Strezeva, pianist, is a native of Chisinau, Moldova and a naturalized American. Dmitry and Milana are founding members of the group; Wayne, who joined in 2008, is the most recent addition to the ensemble.
In addition to their rigorous concert schedule, the members of MPT are soloists and recitalists who have performed internationally. They are also devoted teachers; Milana and Wayne maintain private studios in New York and Miami, and Dmitry is professor of cello at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The performers all completed graduate degrees at the Juilliard School, and the group still enjoys an active presence in Manhattan. To learn more about the trio or to be added to their mailing list, please visit www.manhattanpianotrio.com.