To play great work that thrills the audience — that’s always the goal for Trio Voce, a spectacular piano trio.
All three members, pianist Patricia Tao, violinist Jasmine Lin and cellist Marina Hoover are established performers who have studied with the great masters and played in world-class concert halls such as Carnegie and Kennedy Center. For their upcoming engagement in Convocation Hall, Trio Voce at the Pinnacle, this Friday, January 29, the group has set their sights on delivering a peak performance of works by Haydn, Arensky and Mendelssohn at the height of their creative output.
“We were looking to perform something together that we haven’t done before,” says University of Alberta associate professor Patricia Tao, pointing to Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No. 2 in C minor and Haydn’s Piano Trio No. 43 in C major.
Mendelssohn has two trios, and while his first one in D minor is one of the most popular and beloved piano trios around, you might call the C minor the unfortunate sister.
“It is a little bit neglected,” laughs Tao. “But in working on this piece, I have to say, I think it is equally — if not the better — piece. Everyone loves the D minor because it has these gorgeous melodies, but the C minor is a little bit different in how it opens with this whirling material.”
Mendelssohn was coming after Mozart and Beethoven and the key of C minor is usually a dark and tragic key. “I think Mendelssohn was influenced by that, I do think there is a lot of that in the tone of the piece,” says Tao, “but there are also great moments of beauty and openness throughout.”
What advice does Tao have for other artists aiming to reach their pinnacle?
“[For] anyone working as performer: it is a long journey. And it never ends. For myself, I still learn from students every day. And in my own rehearsals and performances, things I need to keep working on, things I need to improve.”
For those younger students who are feeling impatient, that are not yet where they want to be performance-wise, Tao says to never give up. “You have to be tenacious, dedicated, persistent.”
If your goal is to consistently give better performances, to be the best musician you can be, you have do the hard work to understand so many different languages.
“For pianists, we have to understand from before Bach until the present day, and each composer’s language along the way, is different. It is a huge amount of knowledge that one is continually striving to attain throughout a lifetime. I know my students are just starting to wade through it and beginning to understand those languages. It is like trying to learn a whole bunch of foreign languages and it just doesn’t happen all at once.”
Life can be lonely as a solo pianist, so the chance to make music with her friends in Trio Voce, to discuss the work together openly, and push each other to reach new creative heights, that collaboration is another thing Tao treasures.
Pianist Patricia Tao’s three keys to reaching your peak:
1. Consistent work ethic
3. Staying open to knowledge
Presenters: University of Alberta Department of Music
Event Title: Trio Voce at the Pinnacle
Performed by: Patricia Tao (piano), Jasmine Lin (violin), Marina Hoover (cello)
Date: Friday, January 29 at 8 p.m.
Venue: Convocation Hall, University of Alberta
Tickets: $10 student, $20 adult, $15 senior. Available at the door or in advance from Yeglive
For more details, see show page: https://uofa.ualberta.ca/events/trio-voce