What: Trio Con Brio Copenhagen in Patten Performance
When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 19
Where: UTC Fine Arts Center, 752 Vine St.
Each member of Trio Con Brio Copenhagen plays a world-class instrument. Soo-Jin Hong plays a violin built by Andrea Guarneri from the 17th century. Soo-Kyung Hong plays a Testore cello from 1731. Jens Elvekjaer is the first Steinway Artist from Denmark.
Working with family can be tricky. Working with a spouse even trickier. Pianist Jens Elvekjaer does both and has said in past interviews that it works just fine for the members of Trio Con Brio Copenhagen. The chamber musicians are the next world-class act in the Patten Performances series at UTC on Tuesday, March 19.
Elvekjaer is married to cellist Soo-Kyung Hong. The third member of the trio is her sister, Soo-Jin Hong, who plays violin.
The group was formed in Vienna in 1999 with the idea that two plus two equals three. The sisters had been playing together since childhood, and Elvekjaer and Soo-Kyung Hong had played as a piano and cello duo for years when the idea of combining the two pairs came up.
"We always have felt that this 'two and two equals three' dynamic provides a uniqueness and intensity to all of our performances," he says in the group's online biography.
"The strong personal bonds among the three of us greatly affect the way we conceive music together. We can be 100 percent honest with each other in rehearsal and performance, and our different cultural backgrounds have provided an unusual perspective that shapes all that we do. It is a process of thinking without boundaries, cultural or otherwise, while staying within the great traditions that the music needs."
The group creates each program to include well-known pieces as well as contemporary compositions from Scandinavia. They also commission pieces to keep things evolving and fresh.
They were a hit with fans and critics from the start. The American Record Guide wrote of them: "One of the greatest performances of chamber music I've ever encountered ... What stands out from this ensemble is the range of tone and sound ... They command an amazing range of timbres. Melodies sing with an aching sweetness or seduce with wild eroticism or haunt with impenetrable mystery."
Gramophone magazine wrote: "It's easy to see what so impressed the judges ... [the] performances can compete with the best available ... airtight ensemble ... a superb, greatly gifted chamber group."