Balancing school, music simple for teen trio

Sirena Huang is a busy teenager.

Like most teens, Huang goes to class, does her homework and relaxes. But unlike most teenagers much of her down time is spent practicing violin and performing in a chamber music trio.

Huang, 17, is a member of the Trio H2N along with two fellow high school seniors – 18-year-old pianist Nansong Huang (no relation) and cellist Taeguk Mun, who is 17. All three are students in the Juilliard School’s precollege program in New York City.

The trio came together in 2009, soon after each had performed in their respective instrument divisions of the sixth International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians held in South Korea.

Since their formation, the ensemble has given a couple of concerts at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center. In all, it has given about 40 performances, all in New York City. Until now.

The trio will be giving a Jan. 29 concert at Simms Performing Arts Center at Albuquerque Academy.

The program includes Franz Joseph Haydn’s Piano Trio in C major, No. 27, Antonin Dvorák’s Piano Trio No. 4 in E minor (“Dumky”) and Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky’s Piano Trio in A minor.

Sirena Huang said the ensemble chose these works because they were composed in different periods. The Haydn was the earliest.

“It’s very playful but has a noble aspect to it. The Dvorák has a lot of imagination in it. It’s very dream. And the Tchaikovsky is very romantic, very dramatic, Huang said.

“We want to bring out all the characteristics of each of the pieces. But I think the Haydn is the hardest for us to play. It’s very simple but it has to be very refined, like a Mozart or a Bach (work).”

In addition, the trio has never performed the Haydn, unlike the other two pieces.

Huang said the trio has developed a good chemistry.

“Somehow we really learn from each other. During rehearsal we all contribute our own ideas. I think when we perform it is like one, instead of us being three separate musicians,” she said.

Huang is uncertain if the three of them will be able to continue performing as a trio. That will depend on where each will be attending college and their ability to fit trio rehearsals and concerts in their academic schedules.