Acknowledged as one of the finest piano trios in the world, the Trio con Brio Copenhagen is about to enter their 23rd season. Founded at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna in 1999, the trio is now based in Copenhagen and tours extensively worldwide.
The Trio was born out of an idea of the coming together of ‘musical pairs’ – of the two Korean-born sisters, Soo-Kyung Hong (cello) and Soo-Jin Hong (violin), with Soo-Kyung and her husband, Danish pianist Jens Elvekjaer. They quickly gained a reputation for their fresh and contemporary approach to the core repertoire. “Works by Beethoven, Schubert and Brahms are transformed in their hands into the alive-and-kicking music of today” said Danish Broadcasting’s Esben Tange. Winning almost all of the major competitions for piano trio – including the ARD (Munich), Vittorio Gui (Florence), Trondheim Competition (Norway), Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson (USA), Allianz Prize (Germany) and the prestigious “P2 Artists Prize” and “Carl Nielsen and Anne Marie Carl-Nielsen’s Honorary Award” (Denmark) – they are regularly heard at the world’s leading venues and concert series. Among these, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Wigmore Hall, Berlin Pierre Boulez-Saal, Concertgebouw, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Seoul Arts Centre, Théâtre de la Ville Paris and of course their beloved “home venues”, the Royal Library, DR Koncerthuset and the Tivoli Concert Hall, in Copenhagen.
Trio con Brio Copenhagen plays a central role in Scandinavia’s vibrant contemporary music scene. Leading composers have dedicated works to the Trio. They were enormously honoured that Per Nørgård dedicated to them a new piece celebrating his 80th birthday in 2012. In January 2016 the trio presented the world premiere of Bent Sørensen’s Triple Concerto with the Danish National Orchestra, a work that won the prestigious Grawemeyer Award. Furthermore they premiered Sven-David Sandström’s Triple Concerto, a work that marks his 70th birthday.
Reviews are fulsome. “One of the greatest performances of chamber music I’ve ever encountered,” praised American Record Guide. Gramophone wrote, “Superb…Any group would be hard-pressed to imitate this blend of verve and poise…” Their Mendelssohn album was chosen by the UK’s Classic FM as the Best Chamber Music Disc of the year: “Every phrase soars and pulsates with the excitement of a fresh discovery as the Copenhagen players go the full distance with playing of skin-rippling sensitivity… sensational playing…”. Their Tchaikovsky and Smetana recording was hailed by The Guardian, “… Trio con Brio Copenhagen scale Tchaikovsky’s heights with the verve their name suggests …” The trio’s most recent recordings of the complete Beethoven piano trios were received with the highest critical acclaim, with comments such as “… I was struck… by the feeling of improvisation; of three players moving forward together into a strange and wonderful new world…” (Gramophone).
The Trio are artistic directors of the Copenhagen Chamber Music Festival, the Chamber Music at Lundsgaard in Kerteminde and the Hellerup Chamber Music Society in Copenhagen. Soo-Jin plays an Andrea Guarneri violin, Soo-Kyung plays a Grancino cello, and Jens is Denmark’s first Steinway Artist. Both string players are endorsed by Jargar Strings and Thomastik-Infeld Vienna.
All three members of the trio knew right from the start that they would find their musical identities as a piano trio: “There is something about the configuration of a trio, about that triangle, that somehow focuses and amplifies the special understanding that we all have as people and as musicians. It is both a freedom and a fulfillment.”
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