Gould Piano Trio

Lucy Gould, Violin
Alice Neary, Cello
Benjamin Frith, Piano

From their early success at the Charles Hennen and the inaugural Melbourne Competitions through being selected as British “Rising Stars” in 1998, the Gould Piano Trio has emerged as one of the finest chamber ensembles, boasting an impressive discography, with festival appearances at Edinburgh, Cheltenham, City of London, Bath, Aldeburgh, Spoleto and the BBC Proms.

In their regular and extensive tours to the U.S.A. they have covered the major venues in New York including the Lincoln Center, Frick Collection and Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall. In Europe, highlights have included the Queens Hall - Edinburgh, Concertgebouw – Amsterdam and the Palais des Beaux Arts - Brussels, as well as recitals in Paris, Cologne, Athens and Vienna while regularly performing at London's Wigmore Hall.

But whether at home or in the Far East and New Zealand, the trio have constantly striven to engage new audiences through outreach programs, often working with school children - as filmed by the BBC during the 2006 Leeds International Piano Competition. A recent tour of North America’s West Coast saw them giving a presentation of James MacMillan’s trio, Fourteen Little Pictures, to students in the University of Southern Oregon; a piece they have championed since performing it at the BBC Symphony’s MacMillan Festival at the Barbican. For three years they were Artists-in-Residence at the Royal Northern College of Music and still maintain a close connection. This has given them the opportunity to build relationships with young ensembles, introducing them to a wider repertoire, probing deeper into the meaning of the scores and giving regular performances in Manchester's busy concert schedule.

Indeed, while playing most of the established master-works of the trio repertoire – their discography includes the complete trios of both Mendelssohn and Brahms – they have an artistic ambition to extend boundaries, challenging audiences (and themselves!) with contemporary works and commissioning such trios as Chapman’s Pool  by Judith Bingham. The 2007-8 season saw a new commission to celebrate the tenth annual Corbridge Chamber Music Festival, which the trio established with clarinetist Robert Plane, in Northumberland; Radical Light, a Clarinet Quartet (Clarinet and Piano Trio) by Benjamin Wallfisch.  The connection with Robert Plane has borne fruit in the trio’s Naxos project of recent years to record the late English Romantics, combining the Piano Trios of Stanford and Bax with their clarinet chamber music, short-listed for a Gramophone award. Naxos released their CD of the Piano Trios of John Ireland in 2009, while a disc of trios and a clarinet quintet by Cyril Scott follows this Spring on the Chandos label.

The Trio’s special affinity with the romantic composers is enhanced by the discovery of their lesser-known contemporaries such as Niels Gade (BBC Radio 3 from Glasgow) and Robert Fuchs (“Editor’s Choice” in Gramophone -Quartz label), viewing the more popular repertoire of composers such as Schumann and Dvorak in a new perspective.

The 2008-9 season saw two appearances at London’s Wigmore Hall celebrating the bi-centenary of Mendelssohn’s birth with his two trios and special concerts to mark the birth of Messiaen 100 years ago, performing his visionary Quatour pour la Fin du Temps, their latest recording with Robert Plane on Chandos. Winter 2009 saw the release by Quartz of a box set of their complete Brahms trio music and a disc on the Wigmore Hall's own label, Wigmore Live, featuring MacMillan and Schubert.

Just off of two successful tours with clarinetist Robert Plane to Florida, Winnipeg (Canada) and Oregon, projects for the forthcoming seasons include a series of concerts/live recordings of all the Beethoven Trios from St George’s Bristol for the Somm label and recordings of the complete Dvorak Trios for Champs Hill, culminating in their performances at Wigmore Hall in 2012.

Robert Plane, clarinet

Robert Plane won the Royal Overseas League competition in 1992. Principal Clarinet of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, he has appeared as soloist with the City of London Sinfonia, Northern Sinfonia, Ulster Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Sinfonietta, Scottish Ensemble, Zurich Chamber Orchestra and National Orchestra of Malta in major concert halls across Europe from the Zurich Tonhalle to Madrid’s Auditorio Nacional de Musica.

His repertoire encompassing both classic and contemporary works, he has given the world premiere of concertos by Diana Burrell, Piers Hellawell and Nicola LeFanu. As a chamber musician he performs and broadcasts with his duo partner Sophia Rahman, and as a member of the Plane Dukes Rahman Trio and the septet Mobius. He regularly collaborates with leading ensembles at the major UK recital halls and festivals and has played chamber music in the USA, South America, the Far East and much of continental Europe. He enjoys a particularly close relationship with the Gould Piano Trio, with which he directs his own annual chamber music festival in Corbridge, Northumberland.

Robert Plane is a successful recording artist whose interpretations of classical works as well as British works by Finzi, Bax, Stanford, Ireland and Howells for Naxos have been highly acclaimed, garnering a number of prestigious awards and nominations including a shortlisting for a Gramophone Award, two Editor’s Choice nominations and Classic CD ‘Best Concerto Recording’ Award 2000. His Finzi Clarinet Concerto performance was selected as Radio 3’s ‘Building a Library’ recommended recording.

(The Gould Piano Trio) met (Smetana's Trio in G Major's) emotional demands with the highest committment and deepest artistic insight, seemlessly moving through its shifting, conflicting states of feeling while revealing their complexities and nuances.

Los Angeles Times

© 2005