The Beethoven Project Trio's Debut CD Hits #24 on Billboard Charts in First Week of Global Release!

Jun 07, 2010, 13:31 ET from The Beethoven Project Trio

World Premiere of First-Ever Recording of Rediscovered  Beethoven Works Now Available In Retail Outlets

CHICAGO, June 7 /PRNewswire/ -- In its very first week, Chicago-based Beethoven Project Trio's historic debut CD, The Beethoven Project Trio, rose to #24 on the Billboard Charts, competing internationally against the greatest luminaries in the classical music firmament.  The global release of their debut CD marks the first-ever recording of a significant rediscovered work by Beethoven and captures The Trio's world premiere performance of a Beethoven piano trio — and the American premiere of two others — at a much-heralded and widely noted concert last year in Chicago at the prestigious Murphy Auditorium.  Just days before the global release of the CD on May 25 by Cedille Records, The Beethoven Project Trio gave their historic debut and successful New York and East Coast premieres of these three Beethoven works at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall, in front of political, social and royal dignitaries, classical musicians and actors including such notables as Maestro Kurt Masur, former music director of the New York Philharmonic, IMG Artists President Charles Hamlen, the Consul General of Poland Madam Junczyk-Ziomecka and actors Jane Powell and Viggo Mortensen.

Now, the world can hear The Trio, comprised of pianist George Lepauw (luh-POH'), violinist Sang Mee Lee, and cellist Wendy Warner, reprise those rarities on their debut recording, available at retail outlets worldwide. The Historic CD, The Beethoven Project Trio, includes the world-premiere recording of the Piano Trio in E-Flat Major, Hess 47; the premiere of a version of the Piano Trio in D Major, Kinsky/Halm Anhang 3, edited and arranged by Robert McConnell, who reconstructed 33 bars of music missing from the manuscript autograph; and the Piano Trio in E-flat Major, Op. 63 (Cedille Records 90000 118).

Produced by 17 time Grammy Award-winner Max Wilcox (known for his work on pianist Artur Rubinstein's RCA Victor recordings) the CD was recorded at the American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York, with recording engineers Joe Patrych and David Merrill, and engineer Jonathan Schultz leading the post-production. On the recording, Lepauw performs on a Fazioli concert grand, model F278; Lee on the 1713 "Cooper-Hakkert" Stradivarius with a Francois Nicolas Voirin bow (c. 1860); and Warner on a 1772 Giuseppe Gagliano cello with the Francois Xavier Tourte "De Lamare" bow (c. 1815).

The Origins

As detailed in the 32-page CD booklet, the project of reviving and performing the premieres of the three virtually unknown Beethoven piano trios began in 2007.  Lepauw, a Chicago and Paris-based pianist from a French musical family, was performing in his native Paris. (His father Didier had been First Violin and his grandfather Roger had been Principal Viola of the Orchestre de Paris.)  During his stay, Lepauw heard about the recent French premiere of Beethoven's Opus 63 Piano Trio and inquired if it had ever been performed in the U.S.  According to scholars at the Association Beethoven France, the American Beethoven Society, and the Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies at San Jose State University, it had never been heard on these shores, at least not in a public performance.

Lepauw began collaborating with the American Beethoven Society for the U.S. premiere of the Opus 63 trio.  Meanwhile, Beethoven Society member James F. Green, author of The New Hess Catalog of Beethoven's Works, suggested adding to the proposed program the D Major trio, which would also be a U.S. premiere, and the Hess 47, which would be a world premiere.

Created in 2008 expressly for the Chicago concert, The Beethoven Project Trio has taken on a life of its own.  Its repertoire now encompasses the complete Beethoven piano trios, with plans to add selected trios of Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, and Brahms "to provide historical context around Beethoven's creative approach to trio writing," Lepauw writes.  In September, The Beethoven Project Trio plans to announce its first international concert tour, to take place next year.  The ensemble will also announce in the fall the awarding of its first commissions for new works that are "in some way inspired by or indebted to Beethoven."

SOURCE The Beethoven Project Trio