Chien-Kim-Watkins Trio: Beethoven’s Complete Piano Trios

Mar. 9–16, 2024
Days Vary, 7:30 p.m.
Cost: $10 - $67.50
1422 SW 11th Ave
Portland, OR 97201

The following description was submitted by the event organizer.

Combine three of today’s most luminary chamber musicians with ALL NINE of Beethoven’s masterful Piano Trios, and there will surely be fireworks. CMNW’s Artistic Directors, pianist Gloria Chien and violinist Soovin Kim have joined forces with cellist Paul Watkins of the Emerson Quartet to create a new powerhouse: the Chien-Kim-Watkins Trio. Together, these three thrilling musicians will go on a weeklong musical journey exploring the genius and virtuosity of some of Beethoven’s greatest chamber works.

“Dawn of a New Age”
This first concert in our Mini Festival highlights what a dramatic departure Beethoven’s interpretation of the piano trio was from any of his predecessors. His first, full-fledged piano trio (Op. 1, No. 1) was composed in 1795, when the Viennese master Franz Joseph Haydn was still alive. While strongly influenced by Haydn’s own trios, you can begin to hear some of the younger composer’s unique aesthetic. Contrast this with two of Beethoven’s later trios (Op. 70) from 1808-09 that are Beethoven’s fully mature and distinctive voice, including his hauntingly beautiful “Ghost” Trio.

BEETHOVEN Piano Trio in E-flat Major, Op. 1, No. 1
BEETHOVEN Piano Trio in D Major, Op. 70, No. 1, “Ghost”
BEETHOVEN Piano Trio in E-flat Major, Op. 70, No. 2

“Breaking Boundaries”
Perhaps more than any other composer in history, Beethoven charted a completely revolutionary course for what music could be. His boldly inventive and experimental dynamics, tonality, rhythms, and forms were unlike anything audiences had ever heard. This concert begins with his highly innovative Op. 44 variations from 1792, which some consider his first “piano trio” — even though it doesn’t quite follow the multi-movement form pioneered by his mentor, Haydn. Just a few years later, his Op. 1, Nos. 2 and 3 so startled and astonished audiences that Haydn himself recommended that Beethoven not publish them or risk ruining his career. Prepare to be equally amazed by the wildly original, emerging musical master of the 18th century.

BEETHOVEN Variations on an Original Theme in E-flat Major for Piano Trio, Op. 44
BEETHOVEN Piano Trio in C Minor, Op. 1, No. 3
BEETHOVEN Piano Trio in G Major, Op. 1, No. 2

“Triumph & Transcendence”
The dawn of a new century saw the emergence of a new era of music driven by the sheer genius of Ludwig van Beethoven. Its glory is captured in this final concert of the festival. Constantly revising both his Op. 11 Trio (1792) and Kakadu Variations (1795), Beethoven incorporated many new ideas as they came to him, so these pieces certainly evolved over time. These two works didn’t reach their final form until two decades after he first conceived them. They capture Beethoven’s delightful invention, wit, and charm. For our Mini Festival finale, you will experience all the power, grandeur, and majesty of Beethoven’s spectacular “Archduke” Trio — lauded and cherished by all as one of the greatest chamber works ever created.

BEETHOVEN Piano Trio in B-flat Major, Op. 11
BEETHOVEN Kakadu Variations in G Major, Op. 121a
BEETHOVEN Piano Trio in B-flat Major, Op. 97, “Archduke”


Upcoming Dates & Times

Saturday, Mar. 9
7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Mar. 14
7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Mar. 16
7:30 p.m.