Philip Setzer, Wu Han and David Finckel

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3 x 6 = Brilliant Beethoven

It's rare for an ensemble to perform the six Beethoven piano trios—and rarer still to perform them all in one day. This landmark engagement with Philip Setzer, Wu Han and David Finckel begins where Beethoven begins—with his very first published work—and follows Beethoven's musical journey to his final trio composed at the height of his creative power, giving the audience a complete picture of the composer's evolution.

Beethoven composed most of the first three works in his hometown of Bonn, Germany, but when he was offered free travel to Vienna and expenses while living there, Beethoven jumped at the chance. There, he began to study with the music megastar of his time, Joseph Haydn, and continued to work on the trios, first performing them privately to Vienna's musical elite, including Haydn. In spite of the praise he received, he waited several years before having them published and, on Haydn's advice, continued to work on the third trio. Beethoven was astute enough to realize that a period of word of mouth would drive up interest. He also recognized an emerging market of amateur piano trios that would be eager to include such illustrious pieces to their repertoire.

It was 17 years before Beethoven came back to the piano trio genre in 1808–1811, and our audience will hear his emotional and compositional development in this set of works. Although his hearing was deteriorating rapidly, that did not detract from the magnificent pieces he still created. But society was changing. The rich and powerful who had been composers' benefactors were in decline, and a comfortable, conservative, middle class audience was rising. Rather than invitation-only amateur performances in palace salons, in this new era concerts were presented with professional musicians in public halls for anyone who could afford a ticket. Beethoven was an "early adopter," composing the late trios specifically for professional players, and he would have been delighted to hear these works as they will be played by our trio.

Violinist Philip Setzer, a founding member of the renowned Emerson String Quartet, joins husband-and-wife duo cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han to make up one of the world's finest piano trios. In addition to his work with the Emerson, Setzer also has a career as a renowned solo musician. Finckel spent more than 30 years with the famed Emerson String Quartet, of which he was a founding member, and Han has an outstanding career as an orchestral soloist and chamber player. Finckel and Han are the artistic directors of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and of Music@Menlo in Silicon Valley.

The Great Beethoven Trios
Concert 1: 4 p.m.
Trio in E-flat Major, Op. 1, No. 1
Trio in G Major, Op. 1, No. 2
(15-minute interval)
Trio in C minor, Op. 1, No. 3

A generous intermission allows patrons to pause and
savor the memory of the first three works over dinner.

Concert 2: 8 p.m.
Trio in D Major, Opus 70, No. 1 "Ghost"
Trio in E-flat Major, Opus 70, No. 2
(15-minute interval)
Trio in B-flat Major, Opus 97 "Archduke"


Date: April 8, 2017
Tickets: $29 and up
For tickets and information, visit
or call (714) 556–2787.
Group services: (714) 755–0236

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The Center applauds:
Colburn Foundation

Media Partner:
Classical KUSC Radio



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