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Pianist, Variation Trio perform in SF

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Variation Trio and Avery Fisher Career Grant-winning pianist Benjamin Hochman are special guests of Santa Fe Pro Musica next Sunday afternoon in St. Francis Auditorium.

Pianist Benjamin Hochman joins The Variation Trio in a concert next Sunday in Santa Fe.

Pianist Benjamin Hochman joins The Variation Trio in a concert next Sunday in Santa Fe.

The four musicians have planned a program that celebrates two of the best traditional works in the chamber music repertoire and a contemporary piece composed by Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival’s artistic director Marc Neikrug.

“Antonin Dvorák’s Piano Quartet No. 2 in E-Flat Major is one of the great masterpieces in chamber music,” said Hochman in an email.

“It is by turns exuberant and tender, joyful and melancholy, rustic and sophisticated. To me, one of the amazing things about Dvorák is the way he takes folk materials (melodies, harmonies, rhythms, dances) and transforms them by clothing them in a new guise. Most importantly, his music always brings a smile to my face. I hope the audience enjoys this piece as much as I know The Variation Trio and I will when we play it in Santa Fe.”

Hochman also plays in “Green Torso,” a quartet for piano and strings that was composed by Neikrug in 2009.

“Inspired by a small bronze sculpture of a female torso, the piece has three movements,” Hochman explained. “The first movement was written as an independent work in 2007. The next two movements were completed two years later. I think this piece is very colorful and evocative, full of imagination. The interplay between piano and string trio is fascinating.”

Hochman, who made his New York recital debut at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is a native of Jerusalem. He has performed as a soloist with many ensembles including the Chicago, San Francisco, Pittsburgh and Jerusalem symphony orchestras and the Prague and Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestras. As a recitalist he has appeared at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, l’Auditori de Barcelona, the Tel Aviv Museum, New York’s Weill Recital Hall, the Gardner Museum in Boston and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

A member of the piano faculty of the Longy School of Music of Bard College in New York, Hochman is a graduate of both the Curtis Institute of Music and Mannes College of Music.

The Variation Trio, comprised of Jennifer Koh, violist Hsin-Yun Huang and cellist Wilhelmina Smith, plays Ludwig van Beethoven’s Trio in G Major, Op. 9, No. 1, which is one of three trios for violin, viola and cello that Beethoven composed in 1798.

Koh, Huang and Smith founded the trio in 2005 and gave their first performance at Salt Bay Chamberfest in Maine. Since then, they have performed in chamber music series across the United States.

Each member of The Variation Trio is a noted soloist and chamber musician.