Schumann Trio, USA, 2020

Tour Dates: 17th June - 29th June, 2020

Joined in a lively and colorful trio, the members of SCHUMANN TRIO (ENSEMBLE SCHUMANN) – Thomas Gallant, Oboe, Steve Larson, Viola, and Sally Pinkas, Piano...

Tour Dates
  • 17th June - 29th June, 2020

Thomas Gallant, Oboist
Steve Larson , Violist
Sally Pinkas, Pianist

SCHUMANN TRIO

Joined in a lively and colorful trio, the members of SCHUMANN TRIO (ENSEMBLE SCHUMANN) – Thomas Gallant, Oboe, Steve Larson, Viola, and Sally Pinkas, Piano, present works by their name-sake Robert Schumann, as well as by Brahms, Saint-Saëns, Loeffler, Poulenc, Shostakovich and others. Gallant, Larson and Pinkas have each performed at notable venues, including Lincoln Center, the Frick Collection and Carnegie Hall in New York City, Jordan Hall in Boston, Wigmore Hall in London, the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., and the festivals at Tanglewood, Ravinia, Lucerne, Spoleto and Mostly Mozart. Performing together since 2005, Ensemble Schumann has been featured at the prestigious Da Camera Series in Los Angeles, at the Clark Art Museum in Massachusetts and on Live From Fraser on WGBH- Radio in Boston.

The Trio's 2015-16 season included performances for the Stockton Friends of Music in California, Mount Vernon Museum of Art and Principia College in Illinois, Cornell College in Iowa, Auburn Chamber Music Society in Alabama, Washington University Chamber Series in St. Louis, Young Auditorium in Whitewater, Wisconsin, and Strathmore Hall in Maryland. Among this season's highlights are concerts at Big Arts on Sanibel Island, The Forum in St. Thomas, and appearances in Iowa, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas and Georgia.

The trio’s recent debut CD release, Romantic Trios for Oboe, Viola and Piano on the MSR Classics label, has been hailed as “...exquisite music, exquisitely played, and exquisitely recorded…” by Fanfare Magazine. Audiophile Audition praised their “... stunning performances and amazingly radiant tonal qualities ...”. Ensemble Schumann's following CD, an all-Mozart program (with the Adaskin String Trio) was released in 2017.

Thomas Gallant, oboist

"Mr. Gallant was the superb soloist..."

- Cleveland Plain Dealer

Considered by many to be the most difficult of all the musical instruments, the oboe is often called the “ill wind that no one blows good.” Oboist Thomas Gallant is one of the world‘s few virtuoso solo and chamber music performers on this instrument and he has been praised by The New Yorker magazine as “a player who unites technical mastery with intentness, charm and wit.”

Thomas Gallant is a First Prize Winner of the Concert Artists Guild International New York Competition and one of very musicians ever to win this competition as an oboe soloist. His performances have taken him to Avery Fisher Hall, Weill Recital Hall and the Frick Collection in New York City, to Washington, DC, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, to the Spoleto Festival in Italy, and to the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center. He has appeared as guest soloist with the Kronos Quartet at the Ravinia Festival and has collaborated with flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal, with Cuarteto Casals, the Colorado, Calder and Lark Quartets, Cuarteto Latinoamericano and with the Adaskin String Trio. Recent and upcoming performances include a concert of solo and chamber music works for the oboe at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, and tours across the United States as soloist with Camerata Bariloche from Argentina and the String Orchestra of New York City performing concerti by J. S. Bach and Vaughan-Williams.

Thomas Gallant is dedicated to performing neglected and contemporary works for the oboe and has given the New York premieres of works for oboe and strings by Berio and Penderecki as well as the Washington, DC premiere of Elliott Carter’s Quartet for oboe and strings. He is a member of the trio Ensemble Schumann and he is the Artistic Director of the chamber music group Frisson.

Thomas Gallant was born into a large working class family to a Portuguese mother and French father outside of Boston. When he first brought home an oboe from the local band program his family was rather disappointed as they did not know what an oboe was and asked him to “go back to school and return it for an instrument like all the other kids play such as the trumpet or clarinet”. After initial successes at a young age he stopped performing for many years and only in recent years has he returned to performing “the ill wind that no one blows good”. Thomas Gallant lives in New York City.

Steve Larson, violist

Violist Steve Larson has performed as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the Americas, Europe, Japan, and China - his playing has been described as “riveting”(Gramophone Magazine) and “electrifying”(Journal of the American Viola Society). The Montreal Gazette has praised his "singing tone, eloquent phrasing, expressive dynamics and flawless intonation," and the Boston Globe called his performing "supercharged, clear-headed, yet soulful." He is a Senior Artist Teacher at The Hartt School of the University of Hartford, where he has taught since 1998 and has served both as Chair for Strings and Chair of Chamber Music. He is Principal Viola of the Wintergreen Festival Orchestra and Chair of Viola Studies for the intensive string chamber music program at the Wintergreen Summer Music Academy in Virginia. He has given masterclasses and performances at conservatories, universities and schools throughout the United States and Canada, and at numerous summer festivals including the Ottawa Chamberfest (Ontario), the Orford Festival (Quebec), Domaine Forget International Music Academy (Quebec), the Stamford International Music Festival (UK), the Chamber Music Conference and Composer‘s Forum of the East (Vermont), and Music Mountain (Connecticut).

Since 1994 Larson has been the violist of the Adaskin String Trio. Their landmark recording of the complete String Trios of Beethoven for Musica Omnia was hailed by Gramophone as “riveting” and “intoxicating”, while their MSR Classics release of the two piano quartets by Gabriel Faure with pianist Sally Pinkas was enthusiastically welcomed by critics as “splendid,” “worth celebrating” and “ferociously gorgeous”. With Pinkas and oboist Thomas Gallant he is a member of Ensemble Schumann, whose unique instrumentation and playing has been described by Fanfare Magazine as making “some of the most blissful sounds this side of nirvana. Truly, this is exquisite music, exquisitely played.” He also performs and records in duo with his wife, violinist Annie Trépanier and throughout the Americas and Europe with their acclaimed chamber groups, Avery Ensemble and Cuatro Puntos. Both groups also present their own Hartford, Connecticut concert series, including numerous world premieres and cross-cultural collaborations in programs specially crafted to give the music a meaningful context.

Larson has performed as a guest with groups such as the Emerson Quartet and the Lions Gate Trio as well as with orchestras such as the Montreal Symphony and National Arts Center Orchestra. He is a former member of the Alcan String Quartet, Musica Camerata Montreal, and l‘Ensemble contemporain de Montréal. Originally from Regina, Saskatchewan (Canada), Larson holds degrees from McGill University, l’Université de Montréal and The Hartt School. At the 1997 Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition in the United Kingdom he won second prize and received the special award for his performance of the commissioned work. He studied violin with Ernest Kassian, Elman Lowe, Howard Leyton-Brown, and Mauricio Fuks, viola with Jutta Puchhammer and Steve Tenenbom, and chamber music with members of the Emerson and Orford String Quartets. He plays an exceptional 17-3/8 inch viola made by Helmuth Keller in 1981.

“It has been an inspiring privilege to teach at The Hartt School for more than twenty years and at the Wintergreen Summer Music Academy since 2007. Being part of these two exceptional communities, working alongside amazing colleagues, and getting the opportunity to teach students at a wide range of experience levels has been thrilling and has helped me to grow both as a musician and as a teacher. Whether teaching Twinkle to an elementary-aged beginner with a parent at their side, preparing a highschool or college senior for an important audition, or working on late Beethoven with a graduate level quartet, teaching demands first and foremost a focus on who is being taught. I must continuously strive to understand each student, building relationships that allow for interest, joy and passion to grow and for challenges to be overcome.

My approach must remain flexible, nurturing creativity and confidence through respect and patience as well as by carefully balancing lightheartedness and more intense focus. In addition to trying to increase students’ understanding of technique, musicianship and performance artistry, one of my main teaching goals is to help students develop disciplined work habits and problem solving skills. At all ages and levels, I seek to increase the students’ understanding of how the different elements of their musical pursuits work independently and collectively so that they can eventually guide their own development.”

Sally Pinkas, pianist

Since her London debut at Wigmore Hall, Israeli-born pianist Sally Pinkas has been heard as soloist and chamber musician throughout the world. Among her career highlights are performances with the Boston Pops, the Aspen Philharmonia and New York's Jupiter Symphony, and appearances at the festivals of Marlboro, Tanglewood, Aspen and Rockport, as well as Kfar Blum in Israel, Officina Scotese in Italy, and Masters de Pontlevoy in France. Committed to working with young artists, she has presented Masterclasses at Oxford and Harvard Universities, the Conservatorio Di Musica S. Cecilia in Rome, the China Conservatory in Xian and the Ho Chi Minh City Conservatory, to name a few.

Praised for her radiant tone and driving energy, Pinkas commands a wide range of repertoire. In 2015 she made her debut in the Philippines, performing and recording rarely-heard Filipino Salon Music for the University of the Philippines’ Centennial. With her husband Evan Hirsch (The Hirsch-Pinkas Piano Duo) she has toured widely, and has premiered and recorded works by Rochberg, Pinkham, Peter Child, Kui Dong and Thomas Oboe Lee. She is a member of Ensemble Schumann, an Oboe-Viola-Piano Trio, and collaborates frequently with the Adaskin String Trio, the Apple Hill String Quartet and the UK-based Villiers Quartet.

Pinkas' extensive discography includes solo works by Schumann, Debussy, Rochberg, Ileana Perez-Velazquez and Christian Wolff for the MSR, Centaur, Naxos, Albany and Mode labels. Long drawn to the music of Gabriel Fauré, she followed her critically-acclaimed release of Fauré's 13 Nocturnes (on Musica Omnia) with a recording of Fauré’s Piano Quartets and his 13 Barcarolles, earning the title “A Fauré Master Returns” on an enthusiastic review by Classics Today. The Wall Street Journal noted her “exquisite performance” in her “superlatively well-played” recording of Harold Shapero’s Piano Music, released on the UK label Toccata Classics.

Pinkas holds performance degrees from Indiana University and the New England Conservatory of Music, and a Ph.D. in Composition from Brandeis University. Her principal teachers were Russell Sherman, George Sebok, Luise Vosgerchian and Genia Bar-Niv (piano), Sergiu Natra (composition), and Robert Koff (chamber music). Pianist-in-residence at the Hopkins Center at Dartmouth College, she is Professor of Music at Dartmouth's Music Department.

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