The Beethoven Project Trio
Founded in 2008, the Beethoven Project Trio – with pianist George Lepauw, violinist Sang Mee Lee and cellist Wendy Warner – has already made a mark as one of the most interesting and dynamic chamber groups launched in the last few years. The ensemble has been featured in newspapers and magazines, on television and radio, and on countless Internet sites. Coverage seen by millions of people around the world has included stories in the New York Times, Rheinische Merkur, Atlantic Times, Chicago Tribune, Asia Times, Associated Press, and Newsweek Korea; broadcasts from CBS Evening News and CNN to American Public Media’s Performance Today, Chicago’s WFMT Radio and New York City’s WQXR radio; Internet coverage on Yahoo!News and AOL; and recognition through many other outlets. On the occasion of the World Premiere performance of Beethoven’s Piano Trio Hess 47, on March 1, 2009 in Chicago, Veteran Chicago Tribune music critic John von Rhein declared, “pianist George Lepauw, violinist Sang Mee Lee and cellist Wendy Warner made a splendid ensemble, playing with finely judged balance, evenness of sound and unanimity of style,” adding in another review that “vigor, commitment, and spontaneity marked everything this ‘stellar Chicago trio’ played.”
In its very first week, the Chicago-based Beethoven Project Trio’s historic debut CD, The Beethoven Project Trio, rose to #24 on the Classical Billboard Charts, competing internationally against the greatest luminaries in the classical music firmament. Just days before the global release of the CD on May 25. 2010 by Cedille Records, the Beethoven Project Trio gave their historic debut and successful New York and East Coast premieres of these Beethoven works at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. The New York Times wrote that “the works, which the ensemble recently recorded for the Cedille label, proved worthy examples of Beethoven as lighthearted Classicist,” and that “the three musicians gave committed performances throughout the evening. Mr. Lepauw played with sparkling clarity on the bright-toned Fazioli piano in elegant partnership with Ms. Lee and Ms. Warner.”
The goals of the Beethoven Project Trio are to bring a new vitality to the performance of Beethoven’s trios, to shed new light on the piano trio as a musical form by commissioning new works, and to excite and educate audiences in concert halls, schools, and places where great music is not always heard. The Beethoven Project Trio’s repertoire encompasses the complete piano trios of Beethoven, including the Triple Concerto, and keeps growing with the addition of new commissions as well as some of the trios by Haydn, Mozart, Schubert and Brahms, to provide historical context around Beethoven’s creative approach to trio writing.