Hermitage Piano Trio to perform at Hancher Auditorium

The Hermitage Piano Trio is performing at the University of Iowa on Nov. 12. Before the performance, they are holding a workshop with three university chamber orchestras to provide feedback on their music.



Jami Martin-Trainor, Arts Reporter

A love of music and a passion for education — violinist Misha Keylin, cellist Sergey Antonov, and pianist Ilya Kazentsev all demonstrate those principles as members of the Hermitage Piano Trio. Critically acclaimed for their work, the Trio is performing at the University of Iowa on Friday at Hancher Auditorium.

The Hermitage Piano Trio’s name has significant meaning. Taking on the title of both a famous museum in St. Petersburg and the birthplace of Thomas Jefferson, their name represents where the Trio came from.

“It’s kind of an East meets West. It talks about our heritage and says that we’re all here,” Keylin said. “All three of us are originally Russian-born, but we live in the states and we’re all American citizens.”

Cultural identity plays a prominent role in the Trio’s work. The music and collaborations both in and outside performances represent their heritage, Keylin said.

“Growing up in Russia and performing in the Soviet Union, classical music was something you had exposure to, much more than here in the United States, which is something we’re very passionate about,” Keylin said. “We make sure to do outreach programs and things like that around our performance.”

Three UI chamber orchestras will be performing for the musicians before their concert on Friday. The Trio makes an active effort to support the development of the arts when they perform, Keylin said — an important part of their music is giving back to the community and inspiring the next generation.

There are several benefits to working with music professionals. Experience is an important aspect that is not easy to get. The Hermitage Piano Trio’s masterclass is an attempt to expand the knowledge and capabilities of students.

“These sorts of masterclasses give student musicians an opportunity to learn directly from musicians who make their living as artists,” Rob Cline, director of marketing and communications at Hancher, said. “That can be inspiring, and it can also give a glimpse into the actual day-to-day life of professional musicians.”

While professional partnership is not uncommon at the UI or in the music world, the opportunity to work with well-known artists is treasured. This collaboration provides students a unique chance for growth.

“There’s this infusion in quite an intense way,” Elizabeth Oakes, chamber musician and UI professor, said. “Students get to work with the group and then have the opportunity to hear them perform.”

The specific differences between a piano trio and string quartet acts as one of the motivators for the Hermitage Piano Trio. Keylin said the vast repertoire for trios is underutilized and the trio aspires to amend that issue.

“There’ve been many string quartets of great quality out in the world, but the piano trio is not taken as seriously by the players themselves,” Keylin said. “We believe that if we can put in the work, we can show the audience members that the piano trio is a pretty cool version of chamber music too.”

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