In November of 1975, the newly-formed Raphael Trio made "a most auspicious debut" (The New York Times) at Carnegie Hall as winners of the Concert Artists Guild Award. They have since been presented regularly in the leading concert halls of the United States and Europe, appearing in London, Geneva, Paris, Frankfurt, Vienna, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Denver, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Chicago, Boston, and New York. In celebration of their 25th Anniversary, they performed the complete Beethoven trios in cycles in Washington, D.C. (Phillips Collection), where they present an annual cycle (this season Brahms); Vermont (Marlboro College); and in gala appearances in New York at the Kosciusko Foundation. These performances were broadcast by WNYC and Performance Today, NPR's live broadcast concert series. In addition to their commitment to presenting the standard repertoire as well as the lesser-known works by the great composers, the Raphael Trio maintain an active role in commissioning, performing, and recording works written for them by contemporary composers.
Daniel Epstein, piano
Andy Simonescu, violin
Susan Salm, violoncello
Dina Koston was an extraordinary pianist as well as composer and the creator of the Theater Chamber Players, a Washington, D.C.-based ensemble specializing in chamber music concerts that combined established repertoire with contemporary works, and performed regularly at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Sadly, Ms. Koston passed away last April.
Piccolo Trio was commissioned by the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts for the Raphael Trio and was first played by them at Wolf Trap in March 2002. The trio is in a single movement. The "piano trio" is a two-plus-one grouping: two melodic instruments and one that is many-voiced. Here all three instruments begin in the same range; the violin and the piano murmuring, the cello entering with a more insistent message. The violin and piano expand the range and the dynamics of the conversation; the cello has a last, low, introspective thought. The tiny coda-for piano-is a distant memory, with fewer and fewer notes, joined at the end by a single cello harmonic.
Composer Marjorie Merryman has been commissioned and performed throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. Her catalogue includes orchestral, choral, vocal, and chamber music, as well as an opera and two oratorios. She has been the recipient of numerous awards including prizes from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Walter Hinrichsen Award, the League of Composers/International Society for Contemporary Music, the WBZ Fund for the Arts, and Composers-Inc (Lee Ettelson Award). Ms. Merryman teaches composition at Manhattan School of Music, where she also serves as Dean of Faculty for Academics and for Vocal Performance. Previously she has taught at Harvard, MIT, Macalester College and the New England Conservatory, and for many years chaired the theory and composition department at Boston University School of Music.
Echo is a commissioned piece, written for the Raphael Trio to perform at Symphony Space, and marks the first time one of her pieces has been performed at Symphony Space. She enjoyed the challenge of using the full abilities of these performers in a contemporary language and in modern formal shapes while retaining the classical emphasis on dialogue among the parts, while using some less traditional sonorities and a less regular, more jagged sense of rhythm.