Lincoln Trio

Desirée Ruhstrat, violin

David Cunliffe, cello

Marta Aznavoorian, piano

December 2, 2020

Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts

David Schwan, host


Joacquín Turina – Círculo, Fantasía para piano, violín y cello, Op. 91 (11′)

I. Amanecer (Dawn)

II. Mediodía (Noon)

III. Crepúsculo (Twilight)

Stephanie Ann Boyd – Lullaby for Sophie (4′)

Gabriel Fauré – Piano Trio in D minor, Op. 120 (20′)

I. Allegro, ma non troppo

II. Andantino

III. Allegro vivo

Described by The Strad as “sensational” and “bewitching” and as “models of vibrancy and control” by Gramophone, the GRAMMY-nominated, Chicago-based Lincoln Trio —Desirée Ruhstrat, violin; David Cunliffe, cello; and Marta Aznavoorian, piano — takes its name from its home, the heartland of the United States, the land of Lincoln. Formed in 2003, the trio has been praised for its polished presentations of well-known chamber works and its ability to forge new paths with contemporary repertoire. The group’s reputation as a first-rate ensemble draws an eclectic audience of sophisticated music lovers, young admirers of contemporary programs, and students discovering chamber music for the first time.

Bringing together performing experiences spanning the globe, each member is an artist of international renown. Violinist Desirée Ruhstrat has performed throughout the U.S. and Europe, appearing at the White House and performing on a live radio broadcast heard around the world with the Berlin Radio Orchestra; cellist David Cunliffe has performed with the BBC and Royal Scottish orchestras and toured as a member of the Balanescu Quartet; pianist Marta Aznavoorian has garnered critical acclaim for her engagements with orchestras and in concert halls worldwide including at Chicago’s Symphony Center, Washington’s John F. Kennedy Center, and the Sydney Opera House.

The trio has performed throughout the United States, including appearances at Carnegie’s Weill Hall, Alice Tully Hall, the Bryant Park Festival, Ravinia Festival, Green Center, Barge Music, Le Poisson Rouge, the Indianapolis Symphony Beethoven Chamber Music Series, University of Chicago, Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series, and in Springfield, Illinois, where the trio was chosen to celebrate the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial with President Barack Obama. International engagements include performances throughout Europe, Asia, and South America.

Champions of new music, the Lincoln Trio has performed numerous compositions written especially for them, including premieres of seven trios by members of the Chicago Composers Consortium, an award winning work dedicated to the trio by young ASCAP winner Conrad Tao, a Chamber Music America Award commission with composer Laura Elise Schwendinger, and works by Stacy Garrop, Mischa Zupko, Janice Misurell-Mitchell, Ravinia-commissioned works for the Lincoln Bicentennial by James Crowley, Eric Sawyer, and Lawrence Dillon, and, most recently, a commission from Colombia, South America, for a Trio by renowned composer Juan-Antonio Cuellar.

Winners of the 2008 Master Players International Competition in Venice, Italy and recipients of the 2011 prestigious Young Performers Career Advancement Award, the trio’s 2016–2017 season includes performances throughout the US and Canada, with travels to Germany and South America, where they will tour throughout Colombia and Ecuador performing Beethoven’s Triple Concerto.

Joaquín Turina (1882-1949)

Círculo, Op. 91 (1972) 

Joacquín Turina was born in Seville in 1882 where he began his musical studies. He was a child prodigy on the piano and moved to Madrid at the age of 20 to continue his musical studies. Only three years later in 1905, Turina moved to Paris with some of his classmates and enrolled in the Schola Cantorum where he became a student of Cesar Franck. It was here in Paris that Turina met fellow spanish composers, Manuel de Falla and Isaac Albéniz, inspiring and influencing Turina to incorporate the sounds and rhythms of his native land back into his music.

Though written in 1936, Círculo, Op. 91 wasn’t premiered until 1942 because of the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. Círculo means Circle and here depicts the circular cycle of a day. The first movement, Amanecer or Dawn, begins softly, depicting a quiet first dawn before progressing to a full daybreak, followed by pizzicato strings starting off the second movement Mediodía or Noon. The finale Crepúscolo or Twilight, then ends the same way the Amanecer started, softly and serenely.

Stephanie Ann Boyd (b. 1990)

Lullaby for Sophie (2017) 

Michigan-born American composer Stephanie Ann Boyd (b. 1990) writes melodic music about women’s memoirs and the natural world for symphonic and chamber ensembles. Her work has been performed in nearly all 50 states and has been commissioned by musicians and organizations in 37 countries.

Program Notes from the composer:

When Igor Yuzefovich, Concertmaster of the BBC Symphony, asked me to write an encore for an upcoming performance of the Beethoven Triple Concerto with the Singapore Symphony, I asked him whether he preferred a fast or a slow encore. “Fast, fast!” he said. “Hold on”, I replied. “I have it on good authority that your wife is about to have your first child, so you’re getting a lullaby. A nice, schmaltzy, haunting lullaby.” And he agreed and so it was written. Sophie was just two weeks old at the premiere, but she slept through the run-through at the dress rehearsal, so this lullaby has been successfully road-tested. Sophie and her lullaby were well-received by the public and the press, and she’s since grown into one of the most beautifully wide-eyed and expressive children I’ve ever known.

Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924)

Piano Trio in D minor,

Op. 120 (1923) 

Gabriel Fauré was born into a minor aristocratic family in southern France and was then sent to a boarding school in Paris that specialized in the training of organists and choirmasters at the age of 9. Though his music training would include the compositions of Schumann, Liszt and more, the school foremost gave him the foundation of renaissance church music which would remain present in his compositions throughout his life.

You can hear these modal harmonies of early music in Fauré’s Piano Trio, Op. 120 written during the last 2 years of his life. Initially written for clarinet, cello and piano, Fauré had intended for the violin to be an alternative option to the clarinet, but he would decide against the clarinet by the time it was set to be published. The first movement is rather shorter but still full of singing lyrical melodies, elegant and simple in their construction. The second movement gives the same dedication to lyrical melodies while also pushing the cello to it’s upper limits, putting it close in registers to the violin. The finale shows no sign of his old age, instead being a celebration of life and joy.

Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts are made possible through the generosity of the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Illinois Arts Council and the Union League Club of Chicago.
Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts are presented in partnership with the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and 98.7 WFMT

Don’t miss Joshua Brown and Milana Pavchinskaya

next week on the

Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts!

Wednesday December 9, 12:15pm

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