Beaux Arts Trio

Biography

Active: 1955 -
Long recognized as the leading piano trio in a competitive field, the Beaux Arts Trio is known for precise, straightforward performances and recordings of everything in the standard Central European trio literature. In concert, the group makes frequent forays into contemporary and non-mainstream music, but this is hardly evident in its conservative discography.

The trio made its debut July 13, 1955, having been assembled by French
Read more violinist Daniel Guilet; his inclination was to name the ensemble after himself, but he settled on a French name that would outlast the group's initial personnel. Guilet, born in France in 1899, had concertized as a soloist and chamber musician (notably with the Calvet Quartet) before moving to the U.S. in 1941. He joined the NBC Symphony in 1944 and became its concertmaster in 1951. Guilet had performed and recorded chamber music with cellist Bernard Greenhouse and pianist Menahem Pressler in studio recordings. The three first came together in a recording for MGM of Carnival of the Animals, were mutually impressed with the grouping, and soon formed the trio.

Greenhouse, born in New Jersey in 1916, was principal cellist in the CBS Symphony and a member of the Dorian Quartet. Pressler, born in 1923 in Magdeburg, Germany, had fled with his family to Palestine when Hitler came to power. He had been an international soloist from his early twenties. The group embarked on a 45-city American tour in late 1955, playing mostly low-profile community concerts. For the first several seasons, the middle of each concert would be a potpourri of well-known, flashy, or sentimental pieces for violin and piano or cello and piano.

The trio's interpretations were initially fairly free, but upon Guilet's retirement in 1969, new violinist Isidore Cohen urged the group to take musical markings more literally. Cohen, born in Brooklyn in 1922, had been a founding member of the Schneider String Quartet and had played second violin with the Juilliard Quartet. The Cohen-Greenhouse-Pressler combination became known for scrupulous performances that balanced expansiveness with zest.

The personnel began to change more frequently starting in 1987, when the retiring Greenhouse was replaced by cellist Peter Wiley. In 1992, Cohen left and was replaced by Ida Kavafian, an American born in Istanbul in 1952. Kavafian had helped form the hip chamber group Tashi in 1973. Like cellist Greenhouse, Kavafian was unafraid of contemporary music and the trio's performances of new works increased during her tenure, a period when the group took on a hard-driving elegance.

Pressler, reportedly a difficult personality, found himself with two new partners in 1998: violinist Young Uck Kim, born in South Korea in 1947, known principally as a soloist except for tours and recordings with pianist Emanuel Ax and cellist Yo-Yo Ma; and cellist Antonio Meneses, born in Brazil in 1957, a soloist who had won the 1982 Tchaikovsky International Competition. This incarnation of the trio was initially criticized for Pressler's uneven technique and the strings' occasional intonation trouble.

The Beaux Arts Trio enjoyed a long-term recording contract with Philips from the late 1950s. Its first project was a Beethoven cycle, and the ensemble went on to record all of the trios -- and, with guest artists, piano quartets, and quintets -- of the major Classical and Romantic composers. The group's most remarkable project was recording the complete trios of Haydn in the 1970s. The group began digitally re-recording much of its repertory in the 1980s, but new CDs dwindled in the 1990s and the post-Cohen era is poorly documented on disc.

British violinist Daniel Hope, a founding member of the London International Quintet, replaced Kim in early 2002. At 27, Hope was the youngest violinist to join the trio, and arrived as a champion of twentieth century and contemporary music. He vowed to persuade his new partners to "incorporate some element of contemporary music into every future program." Read less
Spring Music / Beaux Arts Trio
Release Date: 11/04/2008   Label: Philips  
Catalog: 438866   Number of Discs: 1
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Schumann: Complete Piano Trios, Etc / Beaux Arts Trio
Release Date: 11/11/1997   Label: Philips Duo  
Catalog: 456323   Number of Discs: 2
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Browse 1-25 of 73 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Beaux Arts Trio: 3 Classic Albums
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002044502 Release Date: 05/06/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ernest Chausson,  Maurice Ravel,  Antonín Dvorák,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Menahem Pressler,  Isidore Cohen,  Bernard Greenhouse
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beaux Arts Trio
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  • 2.
    Discover... Beethoven
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001912702 Release Date: 10/08/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Arthur Grumiaux,  Henryk Szeryng,  Ingrid Haebler  ... 
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink,  Alceo Galliera,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Sir Colin Davis  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beaux Arts Trio
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  • 3.
    Bernard Haitink - The Philips Years [20-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001903502 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Henryk Szeryng,  Herman Krebbers,  Menahem Pressler,  Isidore Cohen  ... 
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Beaux Arts Trio  ... 
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  • 4.
    Philips Original Jackets Collection  [55-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001767702 Release Date: 12/04/2012   Number of Discs: 55
    Composer:  Max Bruch,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Performer:  Salvatore Accardo,  Elisabeth Unger,  Claudio Arrau,  Thomas Zehetmair  ... 
    Conductor:  Kurt Masur,  Bernard Haitink,  Frans Brüggen,  Simon Rattle  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Beaux Arts Trio  ... 
    On sale! $169.98
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  • 5.
    Ravel Complete Edition [14-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001728702 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  François-Joël Thiollier,  Jean-Yves Thibaudet,  Pierre-Laurent Aimard,  Ivo Pogorelich  ... 
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle,  Charles Dutoit,  Ernest Ansermet,  John Eliot Gardiner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Melos Ensemble London,  Nash Ensemble,  Melos String Quartet Stuttgart  ... 
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  • 6.
    Dvorak: Trio In E Minor
    Label: Doron Music   Catalog: 4021 Release Date: 04/28/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Felix Mendelssohn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beaux Arts Trio
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  • 7.
    Beaux Arts Trio: Concert 1960 - Maurice Ravel, Johannes Brahms
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 93715 Release Date: 04/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Maurice Ravel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beaux Arts Trio
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  • 8.
    Schubert: Piano Trios / Beaux Arts Trio
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5010 Release Date: 02/22/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beaux Arts Trio
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  • 9.
    Schumann - The Masterworks [35 CDs]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001422902 Release Date: 05/25/2010   Number of Discs: 35
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Niccolň Paganini
    Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Henryk Szeryng,  Lynn Harrell,  Anne-Sophie Mutter  ... 
    Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner,  Rafael Kubelik,  Sir Georg Solti,  Uri Segal  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 10.
    Schumann Gold
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001423002 Release Date: 05/25/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Robert Schumann
    Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz,  Radu Lupu,  Martha Argerich,  Mischa Maisky  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti,  Rafael Kubelik,  André Previn,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 11.
    Schumann: Piano Quartet, Piano Quintet / Rhodes, Bettelheim, Beaux Arts Trio
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 420791 Release Date: 05/13/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann
    Performer:  Isidore Cohen,  Bernard Greenhouse,  Menahem Pressler,  Samuel Rhodes  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beaux Arts Trio
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  • 12.
    Tchaikovsky: Piano Trio, Op 50 / Beaux Arts Trio
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 422400 Release Date: 05/13/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Menahem Pressler,  Peter Wiley,  Isidore Cohen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beaux Arts Trio
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  • 13.
    Saint-Saens: Piano Trio no 1; Faure: Piano Quartet / Beaux Arts Trio
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 434071 Release Date: 02/25/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Gabriel Fauré
    Performer:  Lawrence Dutton
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beaux Arts Trio
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  • 14.
    Chopin Complete Edition [17-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001382602 Release Date: 01/26/2010   Number of Discs: 17
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin
    Performer:  Elzbieta Szmytka,  Martin Martineau,  Martha Argerich,  Mstislav Rostropovich  ... 
    Conductor:  Eliahu Inbal,  Krystian Zimerman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beaux Arts Trio,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Polish Festival Orchestra
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  • 15.
    Mendelssohn, Smetana: Piano Trios / Beaux Arts Trio
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 432125 Release Date: 12/29/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Bedrich Smetana
    Performer:  Isidore Cohen,  Peter Wiley,  Menahem Pressler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beaux Arts Trio
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  • 16.
    Korngold, Zemlinsky: Piano Trios / Beaux Arts Trio
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 434072 Release Date: 12/16/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Erich Wolfgang Korngold,  Alexander von Zemlinsky
    Performer:  Menahem Pressler,  Peter Wiley,  Ida Kavafian
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beaux Arts Trio
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  • 17.
    Dvorak: Dumky Trio; Mendelssohn: Piano Trio No 1 / Beaux Arts
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 416297 Release Date: 05/22/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Felix Mendelssohn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beaux Arts Trio
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  • 18.
    Haydn: Piano Trios / Beaux Arts Trio
    Label: Pentatone   Catalog: 5186179 Release Date: 04/28/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn
    Performer:  Bernard Greenhouse,  Isidore Cohen,  Menahem Pressler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beaux Arts Trio
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  • 19.
    The Mendelssohn Experience
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 517453 Release Date: 01/27/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris,  Barbara Bonney,  Geoffrey Parsons,  Maxim Vengerov  ... 
    Conductor:  Kurt Masur,  Raymond Leppard,  Armin Jordan,  Edward Higginbottom
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra,  Éder String Quartet  ... 
    CD: $14.99
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  • 20.
    Brahms: Piano Trios / Beaux Arts Trio
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 478033 Release Date: 11/18/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beaux Arts Trio
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  • 21.
    Spring Music / Beaux Arts Trio
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 438866 Release Date: 11/04/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Rochberg,  Ned Rorem,  David Nathaniel Baker
    Performer:  Peter Wiley,  Menahem Pressler,  Ida Kavafian
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beaux Arts Trio
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  • 22.
    Haydn: Piano Trios H Xv Nos 28, 29, 30, 31 / Beaux Arts Trio
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 420790 Release Date: 09/16/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beaux Arts Trio
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  • 23.
    Fauré: Piano Trio, Piano Quartet / Beaux Arts Trio
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 422350 Release Date: 04/07/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gabriel Fauré
    Performer:  Peter Wiley,  Menahem Pressler,  Isidore Cohen,  Kim Kashkashian
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beaux Arts Trio
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  • 24.
    Artist Portrait - Daniel Hope
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 433148 Release Date: 02/26/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Foulds,  Ravi Shankar,  Benjamin Britten,  Dmitri Shostakovich  ... 
    Performer:  Daniel Hope
    Conductor:  Sakari Oramo,  Paul Watkins,  Maxim Shostakovich,  Roger Norrington
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Orchestra,  Beaux Arts Trio  ... 
    CD: $7.99
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  • 25.
    Mozart: The Piano Quartets / Beaux Arts Trio, Bruno Giuranna
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 410391 Release Date: 11/27/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Isidore Cohen,  Bernard Greenhouse,  Bruno Giuranna,  Menahem Pressler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beaux Arts Trio
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