Prometheus Trio will play old classical to modern music

The Prometheus Trio, resident trio of the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, will open this season with a program of music by Haydn, Schumann and Esmail, from music from the early classical period to modern music.

The Trio was founded by Stefanie Jacob and Scott Tisdel over 20 years ago to celebrate the completion of the multi-million dollar renovation of the historic McIntosh/Goodrich Mansion, home of the Conservatory. Margot Schwartz, the OSM’s first violinist, joined them 8 years ago.

The Trio will open the concert with Hob, Haydn’s B-flat trio. XV:20, delightful composition in three movements. The first movement is an example of non-stop energy with wonderful piano music by Jacobs, the Trio’s pianist. The other two movements are “of a more classical character”.

Next comes the Schumann F Major Trio, Op. 80, where the outward movements are full of fire. The second movement is a soft nocturne, and you can almost hear Schumann sighing over Clara in the third movement.

Margot, the Trio’s violinist, “discovered” Esmail’s Trio and they performed it at their Zoom concert in May 2020. It’s a wonderful composition and they wanted to perform it in front of a live audience – we have luck. Reena Esmail Piano Trio (2019) is lyrical and lovely. The beginning of the first movement reminds me of falling rain, but rain that could hide a haunting story. You will have to decide for yourselves.

Esmail is a Native American composer who works “to bring communities together through the creation of equitable musical spaces”. She has degrees in composition from Julliard and the Yale School of Music and studied Hindustani music in India on a Fulbright-Nehru scholarship. She was featured in season 3 of PBS Great Performances in the series “Now Hear This”.


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She has an impressive list of compositions for soloists, chamber groups, orchestras and choirs in addition to compositions combining Hindustani and Western traditions. She was Composer-in-Residence with the Street Symphony (2016-18) and is currently Artistic Director of Shastra, a non-profit organization promoting cross-cultural music combining Indian and Western traditions.

The concert takes place in the Helen Bader Recital Hall, originally the mansion’s ballroom. It’s a small venue with a stage at one end for performers. The ceiling plasterwork and complementary decoration provide an exquisite venue for chamber concerts and the acoustics are superb. For those unfamiliar with chamber music, this is a unique opportunity to listen to an intimate form of music in a living room, as if you were a king living centuries ago with the Trio at your service.

The Packers are playing on Sunday so Scott, the Trio’s cellist, won’t need to announce the score after intermission. Free parking is available at Milwaukee Eye Care, 1684 N Prospect Ave, one block north of the Conservatory.

Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. concert on Monday, October 24 can be purchased on the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music website: www.wcmusic.org.

October 19, 2022

10:16 a.m.

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