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The Lincoln Trio

Lincoln TrioPraised for their "joy of sheer technical ability, unanimity of phrasing and beautiful blended tone" the Lincoln Trio has become Chicago’s most celebrated chamber ensemble. The Lincoln Trio - Desirée Ruhstrat, violin, David Cunliffe, cello and Marta Aznavoorian, piano - takes its name from their home, the heartland of the United States, the land of Lincoln. The Trio's polished presentations of well-known chamber works and their ability to forge new paths with contemporary repertoire has led to the group's reputation as a first rate ensemble, drawing an eclectic audience of sophisticated music lovers, young admirers of contemporary programs, and students discovering chamber music for the first time.

Bringing together performing experience spanning the globe, each member is an artist of international renown. Violinist Desirée Ruhstrat has performed throughout the US and Europe, appearing at the White House and performing on live radio broadcast heard around the world with the Berlin Radio Orchestra; cellist David Cunliffe has performed with the BBC and Royal Scottish orchestras as well as touring ad as a member of the Balanescu Quartet; pianist Marta Aznavoorian has appeared with the Chicago Symphony and has performed at the Kennedy Center and the Sydney Opera House.

Formed in 2003, the Trio has performed throughout the United States, including appearances on the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra’s Beethoven Chamber Music Series, Oakmont Chamber Music Series,the Lane Concert Series at the University of Vermont, Central Texas Orchestral Society, Columbus Chamber Music series, as well as their debut appearance at Ravinia in September of 2008 and a tour on behalf of the Ravinia Festival celebrating the Lincoln Bicentennial, where they kicked off their year in Springfield at the official Abraham Lincoln Birthday Celebration with President Obama. In Chicago they are frequent guests of classical radio station WFMT and have been featured LIVE on WFMT's Impromptu, NEIU's Jewel Box Series with guest violist Roger Chase, the Fazioli Concert Series, Music in the Loft, Unity Temple, and the 28th Anniversary of the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series.

Champions of new music, the Lincoln Trio has performed numerous compositions written especially for them, including premieres of seven works by members of the Chicago Composers Consortium and "Moon Jig", by composer Augusta Read Thomas during her tenure as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's composer-in-residence. Staunch proponents of music education as well, the Lincoln Trio is also an ensemble-in-residence at the acclaimed Music Institute of Chicago.

This spring, Cedille Records will release a CD featuring the works of poet Billy Collins, on which the Lincoln Trio performs the world premiere of a new work by Stacy Garrop. The Trio's performance of Pierre Jalbert's Piano Trio for the September 2007 "Composers in the Loft" CD, also on Cedille, was praised by The Strad magazine: "The playing is sensational ... Pierre Jalbert’s Piano Trio (in two parts 'Life Cycle' and 'Agnus Dei') full of Schnittke-like sidling semitones is bewitching, with wonderful sneerings from the cello against insistently jaunty violin and piano, as if yearning to recall some elusive past." The recording was also complimented by the online music magazine, Enjoy the Music: "[Pierre Jalbert's] piece works well as "pure" music, constantly inventive and splendidly played by the Lincoln Trio."

In September 2008 the Lincoln Trio received top prize in the Masterplayers International Music Competition, Venice Italy.

Lincoln Trio Website


About the Composer:

 Stacy Garrop

Stacy Garrop has received several awards and grants including the San Francisco Song Festival’s 2007 Phyllis C. Wattis Prize for Song Competition, 2006/2007 Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s Elaine Lebenbom Memorial Award, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble’s 2006/2007 Harvey Gaul Composition Competition, the 2005 Raymond and Beverly Sackler Music Composition Prize, 2005 and 2001 Barlow Endowment commissions, Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s 1999-2000 First Hearing Composition Competition, Omaha Symphony Guild’s 2000 International New Music Competition, and the New England Philharmonic’s 2000 Call for Scores Competition.  She was selected to participate in reading session programs sponsored by the American Composers Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra (the Composers Institute), and the Dale Warland Singers.   

Her works have been performed by the Albany Symphony Orchestra, Amarillo Symphony, Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Erato Chamber Orchestra, Grant Park Music Festival Orchestra, Illinois Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Minnesota Youth Orchestra, National Repertory Orchestra, New England Philharmonic, Omaha Symphony, Santa Cruz Symphony, and the Women’s Philharmonic; by the ensembles Ambassador Duo, Anaphora Ensemble, Artaria String Quartet, Biava Quartet, Callisto Ensemble, EARPLAY, Empyrean Ensemble, Enso Quartet, Helikon Ensemble, Indiana University’s New Music Ensemble, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Lincoln Trio, New EAR, Orion Ensemble, Pilgrim Chamber Players, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Seattle New Music Ensemble, Society for New Music, and Third Angle; and by Chicago A Cappella, C4, Murray State University Concert Choir, musica intima, Peninsula Women’s Chorus, Princeton Singers, Santa Cruz Chamber Singers, University of Michigan Chamber Choir, and Volti.  Her works have been choreographed by the a-ha! Dance Theatre of Kansas City, and conducted by Martín Benvenuto, Jerry Blackstone, Cliff Colnot, Karen Lynne Deal, Apo Hsu, Paul Hostetter, Peter Oundjian, Donald Portnoy, Jeffrey Renshaw, Steven Sametz, James Setapen, Stephen Squires, and Victor Yampolsky.

Dr. Garrop is in residence with the Albany Symphony Orchestra for the 2009/2010 season.  She was composer-in-residence of Chicago’s Music in the Loft chamber music series in 2004/05 and 2006/07.  She has attended residences at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, Aspen Music Festival, Banff Centre for the Arts, MacDowell Colony, Millay Colony, Oxford Summer Institute, Ragdale Colony, Round Top Music Festival, Wellesley Composers Conference, and Yaddo Colony. Theodore Presser Company and Hildegard Publishing Company publish several of her works.

Dr. Garrop was guest composer and speaker at the Texas Association for Symphony Orchestras conference in Amarillo, Texas in 2004.  She has guest lectured at Indiana University, University of Chicago, Northwestern University, University of Missouri at Kansas City, University of Idaho at Moscow, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, University of South Carolina at Columbia, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Amarillo College, Carleton College, and West Texas A&M University.  

She earned degrees in music composition at the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor (B.M.), the University of Chicago (M.A.), and Indiana University - Bloomington (D.M.).  Dr. Garrop is an Associate Professor in Composition at the Chicago College of Performing Arts of Roosevelt University.


Silver Dagger - Program Notes

In 1994, I heard for the first time an Appalachian folk song called Silver Dagger at a folk festival.

The simplicity of the melody joined with a cautionary love tale enthralled me, and I spent the next several years researching the song. What emerged from my research were dozens of variants of the song, both in terms of text as well as melody and title. The variants that I discovered could be grouped more or less under three different titles: Silver Dagger, Drowsy Sleeper, and Katie Dear.

All of these versions revolve around the same Romeo and Juliet premise: a boy asks a girl for her parents’ consent to marry. The story has various endings: the parents won’t give approval, so the girl and boy each end their lives with a silver dagger; the girl turns the boy down and sends him away to find another love; the girl forsakes her parents and runs away with the boy; and so on.

In my trio, I incorporate two complete versions of the folk song, one of Katie Dear and one of Silver Dagger, as well as motives from a variant of Drowsy Sleeper.

Stacy Garrop Website