Performance Tuesday, November 29, 2011 | 7:30 PM

Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio

Zankel Hall
Since making their debut as a group at the 1977 presidential inauguration, these three stellar musicians have astounded audiences around the world with trio repertoire both familiar and new. On this program, they perform Beethoven and Tchaikovsky, and give the New York premiere of a Carnegie Hall co-commission by Ellen Taaffe Zwilich with guest artists.


  • Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio
    ·· Joseph Kalichstein, Piano
    ·· Jaime Laredo, Violin
    ·· Sharon Robinson, Cello
  • Michael Tree, Viola
  • Harold Robinson, Double Bass


  • BEETHOVEN Piano Trio in B-flat Major, Op. 11
  • ELLEN TAAFFE ZWILICH Quintet for Violin, Viola, Cello, Contrabass and Piano (NY Premiere, co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall)
  • TCHAIKOVSKY Piano Trio in A Minor, Op. 50


  • Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio

    Joseph Kalichstein
    Jaime Laredo
    Sharon Robinson

    After 35 years of success the world over, including many award-winning recordings and newly commissioned works, the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio continues to dazzle audiences and critics alike with its performances. Since making their debut at the White House for President Carter's inauguration in January 1977, pianist Joseph Kalichstein, violinist Jaime Laredo, and cellist Sharon Robinson have set the standard for performances of the piano-trio literature. As one of the only chamber ensembles with all its original members, the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio balances the careers of three internationally acclaimed soloists, while making annual appearances at many of the world's major concert halls, commissioning spectacular new works, and maintaining an active recording agenda.

    In the 2011-2012 season, the trio celebrates its three-and-a-half decades together by debuting new commissions, touring extensively, and releasing the complete Schubert trios on Bridge Records. A four-disc complete cycle of the Brahms trios was released on Koch/E1 in fall 2009. A disc of works by Arensky and Tchaikovsky was released in October 2006 to great acclaim. Koch also re-released many of the trio's hallmark recordings, including chamber works of Ravel; A Child's Reliquary (piano trio) and In the Arms of the Beloved (double concerto) by Richard Danielpour; the complete sonatas and trios of Shostakovich; trios by Arvo Pärt, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, Kirchner, and Silverman written especially for the group; and the complete Beethoven trios. Other highlights of their vast discography include a critically acclaimed all-Haydn CD (Dorian), recordings of the complete Mendelssohn and Brahms trios (Vox Cum Laude), as well as Beethoven's Triple Concerto with the English Chamber Orchestra (Chandos).

    Highlights of recent seasons include tours of Japan, New Zealand, and Australia; a series of Brahms's complete works for piano and strings with the Guarneri Quartet; a Beethoven cycle on Lincoln Center's Great Performers series (the first time the complete Beethoven piano trios have been performed at Lincoln Center); premieres of Richard Danielpour's piano quartet, Book of Hours;performances throughout the US and Europe of new concertos written exclusively for the trio by David Ott and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich; and engagements in Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco, Detroit, Dallas, Cincinnati, Portland, and the Tanglewood Music Festival.

    In Europe, the trio has performed in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Brussels, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Lisbon, London, Vienna, and Paris, as well as at major international music festivals in Aldeburgh, Edinburgh, Granada, Helsinki, Highlands, South Bank, Stresa, and Tivoli. It has toured the British Isles with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in performances of solo, double, and triple concertos.

    Musical America named the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio its Ensemble of the Year in 2002. The trio has served as chamber ensemble in residence at the Kennedy Center since the 2003-2004 season. Other honors include the first annual Samuel Sanders Collaborative Artists Award by the Foundation for Recorded Music.

    Jaime Laredo and Sharon Robinson currently teach at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, and in fall 2012 they join the faculty of the Cleveland Institute of Music. Joseph Kalichstein is a longtime teacher at The Juilliard School.

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  • Michael Tree

    Michael Tree was born in Newark, New Jersey, and received his first violin instruction from his father. He later studied at the Curtis Institute of Music with Efrem Zimbalist, Lea Luboshutz, and Veda Reynolds. Mr. Tree has appeared as both violin and viola soloist with The Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Baltimore and New Jersey symphony orchestras, among others. He has also participated in leading festivals, including Marlboro, Casals, Spoleto, Israel, Taos, Aspen, and Santa Fe. Since 1964, as a founding member of the Guarneri Quartet, he has played in major cities throughout the world. Mr. Tree has recorded more than 95 chamber-music works, including 10 piano quartets and quintets with Artur Rubinstein and two complete Beethoven quartet cycles. His television credits include repeated appearances on the Today Show and the first telecast of Chamber Music Live from Lincoln Center. He serves on the faculties of the Curtis Institute of Music, The Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, and the University of Maryland. He plays violas made by Domenicus Busan (Venice, 1750) and Hiroshi Iizuka (Philadelphia, 1996).

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  • Harold Robinson

    Born in Texas into a family of musicians, Harold Robinson studied at Northwestern University and at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. From 1975 to 1977, he held the position of principal bass in what was then the Albuquerque Symphony (now the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra). He was appointed assistant principal bass with the Houston Symphony in 1977, simultaneously serving on the faculty of the University of Houston. Mr. Robinson was a prizewinner in the 1982 Isle of Man Solo Competition. In 1985, Mstislav Rostropovich selected Mr. Robinson for the position of principal bass in the National Symphony Orchestra, where he served until 1995, when he joined The Philadelphia Orchestra as principal bass. The Concerto for Bass, Harp, and Strings by composer and fellow bassist Dave Anderson was written specifically for Mr. Robinson and given its premiere by Robinson and the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1997. Mr. Robinson has appeared as soloist with the American Chamber Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Houston Symphony, and the National Symphony Orchestras, among others. In addition, he has presented recitals and master classes throughout the US. Mr. Robinson is a member of the faculty at the Curtis Institute of Music.

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Tchaikovsky Trio in A minor, for Piano, Violin and Cello, Op. 50: Variazione 1. (Cantabile)
Joseph Kalichstein, Piano; Jaime Laredo, Violin; Sharon Robinson, Cello
Koch International Classics

At a Glance

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN  Piano Trio in B-flat Major, Op. 11

A keyboard virtuoso with few rivals, Beethoven had the Viennese public eating out of his hand in 1797 when he wrote this delightful work, scored for piano, cello, and clarinet or violin. Like Beethoven’s three Op. 1 Piano Trios, completed two years earlier, the Op. 11 Trio is chockfull of crowd-pleasing tunes and bravura instrumental passagework. It climaxes in a zesty, lighthearted finale, a set of variations based on a popular operatic aria of the day.

ELLEN TAAFFE ZWILICH  Quintet for Violin, Viola, Cello, Contrabass, and Piano

Zwilich’s listen-friendly but unmistakably contemporary style has made her one of the busiest composers around, with no fewer than three major premieres scheduled this season alone. If the unusual instrumentation of her newest chamber work sounds familiar, it should: The Quintet harks back to Schubert’s similarly bottom-heavy “Trout” Quintet. Zwilich’s middle movement is a bluesy takeoff on Schubert’s famous tune.

PYOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY  Piano Trio in A Minor, Op. 50

Despite his proven ability to write effectively for both piano and string instruments, Tchaikovsky had misgivings about combining them in a chamber ensemble. “The warm and singing tone of the violin and the cello sounds limited beside that king of instruments, the pianoforte, while the latter strives in vain to prove that it can sing like its rivals,” he observed. Fortunately, he set his reservations aside in composing in the A-Minor Piano Trio. All three instruments preserve their distinctive personalities, while blending their voices in a passionately lyrical utterance.

Program Notes