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The Sensational Musical Maestros: An Interview with the Sitkovetsky Trio



On 15 September Tianjin’s Concert Hall, Xiao Bai Lou, will host one of the world’s most incredible musical talents. The Sitkovetsky Trio are one of the most exciting and highly acclaimed chamber music groups in the world. The band, which consists of violinist Alexander Sitkovetsky, pianist Wu Qian and cellist Leonard Elschenbroich, has won a number of prestigious awards including the International Commerzbank Chamber Music Award 2008 and the Nordmetal Chamber Music Award in 2009. They will be bringing a fantastic repertoire to our doorstep so get your tickets ordered now and enjoy the sounds of this wonderfully talented trio. Tianjin Plus caught up with them during their tour of China.

Please tell us about the story behind the Sitkovetsky Trio. How did you meet and come to found it? What were your expectations?

We have all known each other for many years as we went to the same music school, the famous Yehudi Menuhin School in England. However, the decision to form the trio came much later when we were already finishing our studies at our Conservatoires. Qian and Alexander were finishing their degrees at the Royal Academy of Music in London and Leonard was finishing his studies at the Hochschule in Cologne, Germany. A project in London brought us together and we enjoyed making music with one another so much and had so much fun that we thought it would be fantastic to continue playing together. We immediately entered some small competitions in the UK and we were lucky to win them all and this led to our first concerts. We quickly realised that we had a really great combination of musical personalities in our trio. We all approach music with our own ideas and it is very exciting to work together and find the best interpretation as a group. Although all three of us are very busy as soloists, the trio is very important to all of us and nothing feels better than making music with close friends.

What has been you best concert, and why?    

We have had many memorable experiences performing in different cities and concert halls. We will never forget when we performed for her majesty Queen Elizabeth II in London. It was an incredible honour to be chosen for this special occasion so that has been a wonderful memory for us. Some of our best performances have been at the famous Wigmore Hall in London, where we have performed many times. It has one of the best acoustics in Europe and is regarded as a very important hall for chamber music in the world.

China should bring back memories for one of your members. What kinds of memories will they be? 

(Answered by Wu Qian) This tour will be my first time returning to China to perform since I left Shanghai at the age of 13 in 1997, so it is obviously a very important occasion for me and I am very excited to perform for the Chinese audience, to show them what I have learnt and gained as a musician from Europe.

What are you hoping for the Tianjin concert this month? 

It is our first time coming to Tianjin to perform, so we are very excited. We have heard from our musical friends who have performed in Tianjin already that the concert hall is absolutely amazing. The program we are bringing to the city has a wonderful variety of classical and romantic repertoire with masterpieces from Haydn, Brahms and Dvorak. We are also performing, for the first time, Opera arias by Handel and Puccini, especially arranged for us, so there is really something for every listener who loves classical music. Chamber music is a very intimate way to make music, the composers wrote these works to be performed together with friends in their homes. We look forward to recreating that atmosphere in Tianjin’s beautiful Concert hall.

You are a young group that has won a lot of international prizes; what do you hope the future holds for the Sitkovetsky Trio?

Prizes are just a way of saying that we are on the right track but we see them as only part of our development as musicians. We have many interesting plans coming up, including making our first CD next year and going to many new places to perform such as the USA and Australia. We very much hope to come back to China again soon and perform a new program for your audience.

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