March 12, 2023 • 3:15 pm at Temple Beth-El
Hailing from opposite corners of the globe, Merz Trio’s members can only agree on two things: (1) how to pronounce the word ‘Merz’ in a faux German accent, and (2) that shopping for concert clothes should be classified as a form of torture.
“the trio’s playing is impeccably elegant, earmarked by unmannered musicianship and sui generis stylistic versatility.” — Rafael de Acha, All About the Arts
The Merz Trio met in the middle of a snowstorm in NYC in December 2016; hilariously – and gloriously – they now spend the majority of their lives together, rehearsing, traveling and arguing: usually over music and whether Australian English is better than American English. Together, they’ve walked onto stages around the world and have been recognized as Winners of the Naumburg, Concert Artists Guild, Fischoff, and Chesapeake Competitions.
But whether concerts or competitions, large or small, the most thrilling thing about these experiences is the energetic communities that have emerged from them. Merz Trio loves to be in community with others. They love talking and getting carried away – in the rehearsal room, on stage, after the concert.
“We understand what we do as a conversation between ourselves, the composer, our audience, and the changing world we step into each day. Our name, Merz, speaks to this: It’s the term coined by German artist and polymath Kurt Schwitters, who once floor-to-ceiling decorated his parents’ house in Hanover with found objects and insisted that art only occurred in shared spaces. So Merz refers to connection, to sharing, to possibility. And yes, we’re very glad Schwitters didn’t live with us.
Our rehearsal room is a noisy fusion of our interests: Music of all varieties, literature, theatre, cooking, dance, running, unnecessarily snobbish ideas about beverages. We love this messiness. We play in living rooms and large halls; galleries and schools; black box theaters and crypts. There are very few places we don’t feel at home.“
“It’s tempting to single out individual members for the way each distinguishes particular passages, but it’s ultimately the trio’s playing as a unit that makes the greater impact.” — Textura.org
“And we love investigating other people’s messiness. Alongside our ‘traditional’ recitals, we create original inter-disciplinary projects, sometimes just with ourselves and our extra-musical interests, more often with inspiring and generous artists. So far, we’ve brought our music into conversation with dancers, directors, chefs, sommeliers, puppeteers, and graphic designers, and each time we collaborate, we understand the music that we play differently.
We’ve been encouraged in our explorations by the New England Conservatory in Boston and its visionary faculty. We’re grateful too, for other homes around the world: Yellow Barn, Snape Maltings, Avaloch Farm Institute, the Lake Champlain, Olympic, and Chesapeake Music Festivals, and the Fischoff Competition. Not to mention hundreds of welcoming venues and hosts around the US, Australia and the UK. We’re with Schwitters on this one: Art happens where people are. We hope you’ll come along for the ride.“
MAHLER & BERG
Four Songs of Alma Mahler and Alban Berg
Hymn O ignee spiritus
My Fleeting Angel (2005)
Round Midnight (1944)
Episodi e canto perpetuo (1985)
“Erlkönig”, Op. 1, D. 328
Gypsy Songs, Op. 55 (1880)
Adagio in E-flat major, Op. 148 ‘Notturno’ (D. 897)
In their upcoming performance at Temple Beth-El on March 12th, the Merz Trio will embark on a journey exploring all things night: night as a time of both darkness and light and as a time of the imagination that harbors our deepest fears and most radiant dreams. From Hildegard von Bingen to Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Thelonius Monk to Florence Price, our night journey brings together creative voicing across the centuries, pairing the mystery of the unknown with the unexpected intimacy of the emotions we might encounter therein.