Chamber Music Northwest Presents MARCH MINI FESTIVAL

This week-long musical journey will explore the genius of some of Beethoven's greatest chamber works.

By: Feb. 16, 2024
Chamber Music Northwest Presents MARCH MINI FESTIVAL
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Chamber Music Northwest (CMNW) welcomes the deeply virtuosic Chien-Kim-Watkins Trio to perform an impressive three-night Mini Festival that will encompass all nine of Beethoven's masterful Piano Trios.

This week-long musical journey will explore the genius of some of Beethoven's greatest chamber works. This luminary trio of musicians include CMNW's Artistic Directors, pianist Gloria Chien and violinist Soovin Kim, and cellist Paul Watkins of the Emerson Quartet. The festival week includes nightly pre-concert musical conversations hosted by Robert McBride, a free open rehearsal, and an in-home chamber party to benefit CMNW's Education and Community Engagement programs.

From CMNW Artistic Directors Gloria Chien and Soovin Kim: It will be our great joy to share all nine of Beethoven's groundbreaking piano trios over three concerts! We are looking forward to sharing the stage with the renowned Emerson Quartet cellist, our friend, Paul Watkins. We hope this is a beautiful amuse bouche to our The Beethoven Effect summer festival that inspires our audiences to plan on joining us!


Beethoven's Complete Piano Trios

The Old Church Concert Hall , 1422 SW 11th Ave, Portland, OR 97201

"Dawn of a New Age" | Sat., March 9 • 7:30 pm

"Breaking Boundaries" | Thu., March 14 • 7:30 pm

"Triumph & Transcendence" | Sat., March 16 • 7:30 pm


Musical Conversations | 6:30 pm prior to each concert, hosted by Robert McBride

Chamber Party | Sun., March 10 • 4 pm, hosted by Ravi Vedanayagam & Ursula Luckert

Open Rehearsal | Wed., March 13 • 12 pm in partnership with The Old Church's Lunchtime Concert Series               


"Dawn of a New Age"

Saturday, March 9 • 7:30 pm

This first concert in our Mini Festival highlights what a dramatic departure Beethoven's interpretation of the piano trio was from any of his predecessors. His first, full-fledged piano trio (Op. 1, No. 1) was composed in 1795, when the Viennese master Franz Joseph Haydn was still alive. While strongly influenced by Haydn's own trios, we begin to hear some of the younger composer's unique aesthetic. We'll contrast this with two of Beethoven's later trios (Op. 70) from 1808-09 that are Beethoven's fully mature and distinctive voice, including his hauntingly beautiful “Ghost” Trio.

BEETHOVEN Piano Trio in E-flat Major, Op. 1, No. 1 (1792)

BEETHOVEN Piano Trio in D Major, Op. 70, No. 1 (“Ghost”) (1808)

BEETHOVEN Piano Trio in E-flat Major, Op. 70, No. 2 (1808)

"Breaking Boundaries"

Thursday, March 14 • 7:30 pm

Perhaps more than any other composer in history, Beethoven charted a completely revolutionary course for what music could be. His boldly inventive and experimental dynamics, tonality, rhythms, and forms were unlike anything audiences had ever heard. This concert begins with his highly innovative Op. 44 variations from 1792, which some consider his first “piano trio”—even though it doesn't quite follow the multi-movement form pioneered by his mentor, Haydn. Just a few years later, his Op. 1, Nos. 2 and 3 so startled and astonished audiences that Haydn himself recommended that Beethoven not publish them, or risk ruining his career. Prepare to be equally amazed by the wildly original, emerging musical master of the 18th century.

BEETHOVEN Variations on an Original Theme in E-flat Major for Piano Trio, Op. 44 (1792)
BEETHOVEN Piano Trio in C Minor, Op. 1, No. 3 (1795)
BEETHOVEN Piano Trio in G Major, Op. 1, No. 2 (1795)

"Triumph & Transcendence"

Saturday, March 16 • 7:30 pm

The dawn of a new century saw the emergence of a new era of music driven by the sheer genius of Ludwig van Beethoven. We've captured all its glory in this final concert of our festival. Constantly revising both his Op. 11 Trio (1792) and Kakadu Variations (1795), Beethoven incorporated many new ideas as they came to him so these pieces certainly evolved over time. These two works didn't reach the final form that we will hear tonight until two decades after he first conceived them. They capture Beethoven's delightful invention, wit, and charm. For our Mini Festival finale, you will experience all the power, grandeur, and majesty of Beethoven's spectacular “Archduke” Trio—lauded and cherished by all as one of the greatest chamber works ever created!

BEETHOVEN Piano Trio in B-flat Major, Op. 11 (1798)

BEETHOVEN Piano Trio in G Major, Op. 121a, 10 Variations on Ich bin der Schneider Kakadu (1803, rev. 1816)

BEETHOVEN Piano Trio in B-flat Major, Op. 97 (“Archduke”) (1811)

Program Notes for each concert are available starting March 1 on each concert web page.