PreViews - Sharon Robinson Interview

Uploaded by CPAPSU on 28.08.2012

>> Laura: The Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio's partnership has lasted longer than
most marriages.
How has the trio managed to stay together and achieve success for thirty six years?
Well according to cellist Sharon Robinson the answer is threefold, respect
for one another, a strong work ethic
and of course, a healthy sense of humor.
PreViews writer Jennifer Pencek speaks with Robinson about her longtime musical
The cellist recalls how a last minute cancellation led to the trio's creation.
Robinson also discusses the Andre Previn work, co-commissioned by the Center for
the Performing Arts, and the rest of the trio's Penn State program.
>> Jennifer: The trio has been together I believe it's thirty-five years?
>> Robinson: Yep, that will be our thirty-sixth season,
you know, in September.
I think we're so so lucky, it's partly because
we don't do the trio 100 percent of the time and we each go off and do our own
solo work, concertos, recitals, Jaime conducts. So it's not, you know, all day,
every day trio.
It helps to have a sense of
humor and uh...
you know, not take things so personally. In any kind of chamber music you have to
be very, very
critical as you work and you know this doesn't sound good and why are you doing a
shift there and
uh... your rhythm's not good here and it's like being with a severe
critic all the time.
>> Jennifer: Now how did you all first come
together as a trio?
>> Robinson: There was actually a cancellation by the wonderful pianist
Rudolph Firkusny
and it was a last minute thing. We were playing Dvorak quartet and Dvorak
uh... both piano works--piano quintet and piano quintet at the Y in New York.
He found out just a little bit before that he had been double-booked by his
management and couldn't play our concert. We last minute asked Joseph Kalichstein
Jaime and I --
and it just was wonderful. Just we all clicked and uh that was actually in
seventy-five, the year before we got together.
That summer, after all that,
we asked him if he might you know, want to try doing trios in an on-
going group and
he called us the next day and said let's give it a try. Then we were
just lucky that it clicked and worked in uh... very, very fortunate I think.
And the repertoire is so great.
It's so rich and so varied and uh... for instance the program we're playing for you guys,
we're starting that with a little
bit of an opus posthumous and it's just one movement short and
sweet... kind of like a great amuse-bouche before a great dinner.
Then we're doing two works that were written for us, one in the eighties
and one just last year. The Previn
and then the Brahms Opus Eight, which is
one of the greatest trios ever written. It's an incredible trio that he wrote when he was a
young man
and then came back as an older person and revised it, so it's got
elements of Brahms as a young buck and then Brahms the old sage, so
it's just a great, great piece and it's a great program. We're doing
a master class there I understand at Penn State.
>> Jennifer: How important are the master classes? Do you find that that's a good way to reach a new audience?
>> Robinson: Younger people absolutely, and at a great school like Penn State, and
there is a wonderful music school
and great players that can really appreciate the great subtleties of chamber
It's not just like you know, the basics. You can get in real
depth with some wonderful performers there.
Sometimes master classes can be, I don't know,
kinda scary for this reason and I know it was it scary for me as
a young student.
But I think, if people can just look at it as a chance to play with colleagues
and grow and get some
differing ideas, you know.
I always enjoy it, and I think
if a student can get over the fear
of failure [laughter] which
inevitably happens, you know when you're playing as a young student.
It's trial-and-error a lot of this stuff
and the more experience you get in playing in front of people
and uh
putting your heart right on your sleeve
the easier it becomes so, hopefully
it will be a good experience for everybody.
>> Jennifer: Just going back to the
specific program, I know that the Previn piece is the one
that was co-commissioned by the Center for the Performing Arts.
>> Robinson: Yeah, we were so grateful for that.
>> Jennifer: Are there certain things you seem
to enjoy best about these pieces or that kind of draws you to these pieces?
Because I know how you mentioned that you guys get to do a pretty exciting repertoire.
>> Robinson: When you commission a piece, you have no idea what you are going to get.
You really don't, I mean, Previn is an older artist and you know, you can take a look at some of
his most recent works
and see what his language is like now. Basically you really
don't know what they have in their head. uh... But this piece turned
out to be just sparkling and beautiful, beautiful communicative
playing. Uh... He had heard our trio
earlier before he wrote the piece and
he also worked with both Jaime and Joseph in concertos and
uh... earlier.
and um... knew our playing and knew that we're quite communicative
and melody drawn person uh... players
and I think he made a piece and made a work that really communicates with audiences,
which is really what we care about so much.
That an audience can understand it even the first time through.
And this piece has a lot of tunes you'll go out whistling
and uh... there's a lot of nice cello writing
and something for everybody in there.
I think it's quite a stunningly beautiful work. We've only played it
once now,
before it now. Um... I think you might be the second performance or the third.
Um... There was big group of twelve co-commissioners
so we do get to play it all those places, but we just did the New York
premiere in May.
It's a relatively new work for us and
it still has a lot of sparkle for us and a lot of intrigue actually so...
we're still
getting to know it and making it our own, it's not just
Previn's work now it's also our own, something we have to really own
and present as a convincing
uh... musical entity. So it's
interesting, the life that a new piece will go through.
Tickets are on sale for the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio concert
October 3, 2012, at Penn State's Schwab Auditorium.
Order on-line at
or by phone at