The Eroica Trio are a classical piano trio composed of
Erika Nickrenz (piano), Adela Peña
(violin), and Sara Sant'Ambrogio (cello).
All three are graduates of the Juilliard School in Manhattan, and have
been playing together since they were children (Nickrenz and Peña since
they were nine, Nickrenz and Sant'Ambrogio since they were twelve). Nickrenz
and Sant'Ambrogio come from musical families who played a role in their
Peña trained under John Sant'Ambrogio (Sara's father), and
Nickrenz and Sant'Ambrogio under Isabelle Sant'Ambrogio (Sara's grandmother).
They formed the Trio itself in 1986 while at Julliard, taking their name from
Beethoven's Third Symphony (the Eroica). They continued their
training as a trio with Scott Nickrenz (Erika's father), and Joanna Nickrenz (Erika's
mother) currently serves as their record producer.
I bought their first recording after hearing them perform George Gershwin's
Preludes for piano arranged for trio on NPR's
Performance Today, and it was an excellent performance. They play the
Gershwin pieces on the CD, as well as a beautiful interpretation of
Maurice Ravel's (already quite beautiful) Piano Trio in A minor.
They end the CD with two more pieces by Benjamin Godard and
Paul Schoenfield (the latter of which is more a jazz composition than
classical, and to be honest, I think it is a little overblown).
The Eroica Trio's two most recent releases, Baroque and
Pasión have showcased non-traditional or infrequently performed
pieces. Baroque showcases music composed in the baroque era,
including pieces by lesser known composers of the time. However, the trio
plays it in a much more romantic style.
Their latest, Pasión, showcases modern
composers of South America (Astor Piazzolla, Raimundo Penaforte, and
Heitor Villa-Lobos) and Spain (Joaquin Turina), including Penaforte's
An Eroica Trio composed specifically for the Trio. On this CD, they
explore a fusion of modernist classical music, Spanish and
Latin folk music (particularly the tango), and hints
of jazz. Of all of their
recordings, this music is probably the best-suited to their performance style,
and is both beautifully crafted and exciting.
They have a strong tendency toward the dramatic in their performance and
I think this serves to make the music more vibrant -- I listen to
music as much for the performance as for the composition itself.
Their musicianship is superb, and their joy of playing together comes
across in their music.
The Eroica Trio tours extensively, gives master classes for
musicians-in-training, and is involved in music education
for children in the United States.
Sources: various, including www.eroicatrio.com, and the liner notes from
Pasión (Angel/EMI Classics 7243 5 57033 2 3)