Artisan Piano Trio's Edinburgh concert targets post-work slot

Young, imaginative and ambitious trio present first season of concerts, Cascades

Bringing an exciting new dimension to Scottish chamber music, the Artisan Piano Trio are young, imaginative and ambitious. Formed by cellist Clea Friend, with SCO violinist Aisling O’Dea and much in demand freelance pianist Simon Smith, they are now midway through their first season of concerts – Cascades – since getting together a year and a half ago. ‘Aisling and I were already good friends,’ explains Friend, ‘and we desperately wanted to play in a piano trio. I came across Simon when I was organising a surprise concert for the 60th birthday of composer Nigel Osborne and thought “that’s the man” and, fortunately, Simon was game.’

Cascades, as the title implies, has a number of objectives, each of them cascading from the main aim of playing music scored for piano trio. ‘The idea started as wanting to promote composers who are working in Edinburgh at the moment,’ says Friend, ‘and then we started to look back to people who had composed here in the past. We also wanted to play Brahms, so Hans Gal, who taught in Edinburgh in the 1940s and was dotty about Brahms, was an obvious choice.’ Likewise, Kenneth Leighton and Nigel Osborne joined the roster of composers and in the next cascade, Artisan embraced current students of composition. Finally, the students take what they are learning to pupils in local schools.

Each of the five concerts in the series includes a piece by Brahms, with his horn and clarinet trios also part of the mix. The performances are at 6pm and only an hour in length, so ideal for after work. ‘We’ve had a fantastic response,’ says Friend, ‘and we’d love to take Cascades to different cities.’ With New York already on the wish-list, as Friend says, ‘We’ll think big and then see how far we can get.’

Artisan Piano Trio, St Andrew's & St George’s Church, Edinburgh, Tue 18 Jan

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