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
Browse 26-23 of 23 Available Recordings
  • 26.
    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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  • 27.
    Ravel, Chausson: Piano Trios / Beaux Arts Trio
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 411141 Release Date: 11/27/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ernest Chausson,  Maurice Ravel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beaux Arts Trio
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  • 28.
    Turina, Granados: Trios / Beaux Arts Trio
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 446684 Release Date: 11/27/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Joaquin Turina,  Enrique Granados
    Performer:  Ida Kavafian,  Peter Wiley,  Menahem Pressler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beaux Arts Trio
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  • 29.
    Schumann: The 3 Piano Trios / Beaux Arts Trio
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 432165 Release Date: 10/22/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Robert Schumann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beaux Arts Trio
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  • 30.
    Shostakovich: Piano Trio 2, Piano Quintet / Beaux Arts Trio
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 432079 Release Date: 04/24/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Performer:  Isidore Cohen,  Peter Wiley,  Menahem Pressler,  Eugene Drucker  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beaux Arts Trio
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  • 31.
    Schubert: Piano Trios, Trout Quintet / Beaux Arts Trio, Melos Ensemble
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4429375 Release Date: 04/21/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Schubert
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beaux Arts Trio,  Melos Ensemble London
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  • 32.
    Beaux Arts At 50
    Label: Pbs Home Video   Catalog: 601 Release Date: 12/05/2006  
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beaux Arts Trio
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  • 33.
    Schubert: The Piano Trios / Beaux Arts Trio
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 000660802 Release Date: 08/08/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Schubert
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beaux Arts Trio
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  • 34.
    Shostakovich: Piano Music, Chamber Works
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000641302 Release Date: 06/13/2006   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Lilya Zilberstein,  Olli Mustonen,  Lynn Harrell
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beaux Arts Trio,  Fitzwilliam String Quartet
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  • 35.
    Ravel: Chamber Music /  Van Beinum, Berghout, Beaux Arts Trio
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4768458 Release Date: 02/20/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Phia Berghout
    Conductor:  Eduard Van Beinum
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beaux Arts Trio,  Carmirelli String Quartet,  Chamber Music Society Of Amsterdam
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  • 36.
    Complete Mozart Edition 6 - Quintets, Quartets, Trios, Etc
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 000575802 Release Date: 02/14/2006   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Domenico Scarlatti
    Performer:  Bruno Giuranna,  Bruno Hoffmann,  Aurčle Nicolet,  Jean De Croos  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ens.,  Beaux Arts Trio,  Grumiaux Trio
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  • 37.
    Brahms: Piano Quartets Op 25, 26, 60 / Beaux Arts Trio, Trampler
    Label: Pentatone   Catalog: 5186151 Release Date: 01/17/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Walter Trampler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beaux Arts Trio
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  • 38.
    Shostakovich: Piano Trios, Etc / Rodgers, Beaux Arts Trio
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 62514 Release Date: 01/10/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Performer:  Daniel Hope,  Menahem Pressler,  Antonio Meneses,  Joan Rodgers
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beaux Arts Trio
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  • 39.
    Beethoven Adagios
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000445002 Release Date: 05/10/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Henryk Szeryng,  Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt,  Wilhelm Backhaus  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt,  Wilhelm Backhaus,  Sir Georg Solti,  Eliahu Inbal
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Wind Soloists,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 40.
    Dvorák: Piano Quartets / Walter Trampler, Beaux Arts Trio
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 4706622 Release Date: 11/15/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák
    Performer:  Walter Trampler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beaux Arts Trio
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  • 41.
    A 50 Year Celebration In Music / Beaux Arts Trio
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 4762545 Release Date: 09/14/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Menahem Pressler,  Bernard Greenhouse,  Isidore Cohen,  Daniel Guilet  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beaux Arts Trio
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  • 42.
    Mendelssohn, Dvorak: Piano Trios / Beaux Arts Trio
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 61492 Release Date: 09/14/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Daniel Hope,  Antonio Meneses,  Menahem Pressler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beaux Arts Trio
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  • 43.
    Original Masters - Beaux Arts Trio
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000150602 Release Date: 11/25/2003   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Charles Ives,  Bedrich Smetana  ... 
    Performer:  Daniel Guilet,  Menahem Pressler,  Bernard Greenhouse,  Isidore Cohen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beaux Arts Trio
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  • 44.
    The #1 Beethoven Album
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000111302 Release Date: 10/14/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Pilar Lorengar,  Yvonne Minton,  Stuart Burrows,  Martti Talvela  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti,  Rafael Kubelik,  Claudio Abbado,  Kurt Masur  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Chorus,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Beaux Arts Trio  ... 
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  • 45.
    Schubert: Trout Quintet; Mozart: Clarinet Quintet / Pressler, Pieterson
    Label: Pentatone   Catalog: 5186121 Release Date: 09/23/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  George Pieterson,  János Scholz,  Koji Toyoda,  Max Lesueur  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beaux Arts Trio
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  • 46.
    The Man Who Wasn't There - Original Soundtrack
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 016019 Release Date: 10/30/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Carter Burwell,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Jonathan Feldman,  Edith Mathis,  Gundula Janowitz
    Conductor:  Carter Burwell,  Karl Böhm
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beaux Arts Trio,  Orchestra,  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
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  • 47.
    Beethoven: Piano Trios / Beaux Arts Trio
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 468411 Release Date: 10/09/2001   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Menahem Pressler,  Isidore Cohen,  Bernard Greenhouse
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beaux Arts Trio
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  • 48.
    Ravel: Chamber Music; Debussy: Chamber Music
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4683062 Release Date: 04/30/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Jean Françaix,  Maurice Gendron,  István Hajdu,  Arthur Grumiaux
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beaux Arts Trio
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  • 49.
    Beethoven: Piano Trios Nos. 4, 5 & 7
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 464683 Release Date: 04/23/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beaux Arts Trio
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  • 50.
    Dvorák: Symphony No 9, Slavonic Dances, Etc / Karajan, Et Al
    Label: Dg Panorama   Catalog: 469133 Release Date: 09/26/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák
    Performer:  Bernard Greenhouse,  Menahem Pressler,  Isidore Cohen
    Conductor:  Rafael Kubelik,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Beaux Arts Trio  ... 
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