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Amelia Piano Trio

Amelia Piano Trio rehearse in NPR's Studio 4A
The Amelia Piano Trio
rehearses in Studio 4A
Credit: Nerissa Paglinauan, NPR Online

Called "remarkable" by Strings and "exemplary" by Strad, at its inception the Amelia Piano Trio immediately became one of the most sought after young piano trios. Highlights of the Trio's brief history include: Grand Prize winners of the Yellow Springs National Chamber Music Competition, Finalists at the prestigious Walter F. Naumberg Chamber Music Competition, winners of the CMA/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming; participation in Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Project; and participation in Isaac Stern's Chamber Music Workshops which led to a Weill Recital Hall debut at Carnegie Hall. The Amelia Trio members have quickly made their mark as performers and commissioners of new music. Notably, Pulitzer Prize composer John Harbison has written his first Piano Trio for the Amelias. This trio, available for performances in the 2004-05 season, is commissioned in part by the Caramoor International Music Festival and will receive its world premiere there. Other commissions for the Amelia include Augusta Read Thomas's A Circle Around the Sun; and Adam Silvermans "Sturm".

The trio has performed extensively in North America and abroad, including France, Italy, the Caribbean, and Panama. They have performed with guest artist Ida Kavafian, and are releasing CDs on the labels Koch, Cedille Records, and the world music label Global Crossings. This season, members of the trio have toured Central Asia with Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Project.

In previous seasons, the Trio premiered A Circle Around the Sun, written for them by Augusta Read Thomas, at the 92nd Street Y and again at Merkin Concert Hall in New York City. Isaac Stern invited the Amelia Piano Trio to make its Carnegie Hall debut at Weill Recital Hall, and also presented the ensemble at the Harvard Club of New York and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI.

The Amelia Piano Trio is actively involved in arts education and dedicates much time to educational projects, master classes, and coaching children and adults. Summer 2003 will mark the trio's fifth year at the Green Lake Chamber Music Camp, where they teach gifted high-school and college students the art of chamber music.

Rieko Aizawa RIEKO AIZAWA, piano

Japanese pianist Rieko Aizawa is known for her technical mastery and rare musical sensitivity, which have earned her the admiration of musicians and critics alike. A graduate of the Curtis Institute and the Juilliard School, where she studied with Mieczyslaw Horszowski and Peter Serkin, Ms. Aizawa performs throughout the U.S., Japan and Europe.

Recent appearances include her debut with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, concerts with the New Japan Philharmonic under Seiji Ozawa and the Japan Philharmonic under Jiri Belohlavek, and a performance at Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival. Chamber music collaborators have included the Guarneri, Orion and Shanghai Quartets, as well as Philomusica in New York City, and in the 2003-04 season she will become the new pianist of the Amelia Trio, with concerts throughout North America. Also in the coming season, Ms. Aizawa will present the first of her three-part "Prism" series in Japan, with tributes to Beethoven, Brahms and Schumann, and specially commissioned works for each program.

Ms. Aizawa resides in Philadelphia and is a Steinway Artist.

Anthea Kreston Anthea Kreston enjoys an exciting and varied career as a soloist and chamber musician. This season, Anthea performed with Yo-Yo Ma in concerts throughout the United States, as well as extensively in Central Asia. She made her solo debut at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and tours actively with her piano trio, The Amelia Piano Trio. Anthea Kreston has received numerous awards including honors at the Melbourne and Banff International Competitions, the Grand Prize at the Concert Artists Guild Competition, and Top Prize in the Munich ARD International Chamber Music Competition. Anthea has won awards from Chamber Music America for her groundbreaking work with abused children and AIDS patients in Hartford, CT.

The San Diego Reader said of Anthea "...Anthea is a soloist of the Heifetz- Shaham-Vengerov calibre, whose musical instincts could make even a mere bagatelle thrill the soul and stir the senses to a frenzy."

Anthea holds a B.A. in Women's Studies from Cleveland State University and a performance degree from the Curtis Institute of Music. She is a professor of violin at the Hartt School of Music. Anthea is actively involved with alternative music; she played in the Cleveland based rock band "Daria" for several years, and frequently performs with her violin and percussion duo, "ZuZu's Petals". Anthea can be heard on the labels New Tangent, Cedille Records, Channel Classics, Koch and Traditional Crossroads.

In addition to the Amelia Piano Trio, Anthea is founding member of the Milwaukee String Quartet with violinist Samantha George and violist Tatjana Mead-Chamis. She is also a founding member of Sleeping Giant, a quintet of strings, guitar, and charango which specializes in music from Latin countries, and East Meets West, a quintet which explores the cross-influences of Eastern and Western music.

Anthea enjoys spending time with her rabbit Chester, who is white and has black feet and ears. He is 12 years old, which is remarkable considering that the life expectancy of a rabbit is 6. He frequently bites into electrical cords, which causes severe burning of his whiskers, but in general, this does not seem to affect his mood. Chester is quite optimistic, and has a very dry sense of humor.

Jason Duckles JASON DUCKLES, cello

Jason Duckles has an active life as a soloist and chamber musician. This season, in addition to touring the United States as a member of the Amelia Piano Trio, Jason performed with Yo-Yo Ma in concerts throughout Central Asia. Jason has received numerous awards for his chamber collaboration, such as grand prize in the Concert Artists Guild Competition and top prize in the Munich ARD International Competition.

Jason is a founding member of the Amelia Piano Trio, the Milwaukee String Quartet, Sleeping Giant, and East Meets West, a quintet that explores the cross-influence of Asian and Western music. Jason has also been a member of the Avalon String Quartet, the first Quartet-in- Residence at the Caramoor International Music Festival. He was also a member of the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, the Caramoor Virtuosi, and has appeared frequently as the cellist for the Mark Morris Dance Group which tours throughout the United States and Europe.

Dedicated to music of our time, Jason has commissioned works from many composers, including Pulitzer Prize Winner John Harbison (for his first full-length Piano Trio) and Augusta Read Thomas. He has collaborated with artists such as Ida Kavafian, Lucy Shelton, Eugenia Zuckerman, Gilbert Kalish, and Phil Setzer, and can be heard on the labels New Tangent, Channel Classics, Koch, Traditional Crossroads, and Cedille Records.

Jason received his Bachelor's Degree from Northwestern University with Hans Jensen and his Masters and Doctorate at the State University of New York at Stony Brook with Timothy Eddy.

Jason enjoys living in Middletown, Connecticut, mostly because of the fantastic pub there, which offers as many as 75 beers on tap. The pub even lists the date of the opening of each keg, which Jason finds extremely relevant when choosing which brew to sample. Jason also enjoys the Oregon Coast, particularly the sand dunes outside of Florence, Oregon.