New Classical Tracks®

Claremont Trio celebrates 20 years of music making

The Claremont Trio consist of twin sisters Emily and Julie Bruskin with pianist Andrea Lam.Courtesy of artist

New Classical Tracks - The Claremont Trio (Extended)


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April 13, 2022

The Claremont Trio — Queen of Hearts (Tria)

New Classical Tracks - The Claremont Trio

“The Claremont Trio started in 1999. Currently, our incredible pianist is Andrea Lam. She's from Sydney and is such a beautiful pianist and wonderfully fun collaborator,’ violinist Emily Bruskin said. “We've had a great time. The first pieces we learned together are works commissioned for our new CD, Queen of Hearts.”

Bruskin and her twin sister, cellist Julia Bruskin, formed the Claremont Trio while they were living on Claremont Avenue in New York City. They were students in a joint program between Columbia and Juilliard. Their new recording marks the group’s 20th anniversary, albeit a little late due to COVID. It features works that the Claremont Trio commissioned over the past two decades.

“It's fun for us. It takes us back to pieces from 2008, and then something from 2012 or 2016. It brings us back to memories from different points in our career when these pieces were written, when we were working on them or when we played them often. It was a fun way for us to revisit experiences over our 20 years together.”

How does the piece Queen of Hearts represent the Claremont Trio?

Queen of Hearts is what Kati Agócs wrote for us, and it's an amazing piece; it's all in one movement. It's a spiritual journey from a very heartfelt, intuitive spiritual composer. She's a singer herself, and the piece is a long emotional journey. I think it's something that we enjoy playing. We're an all-women group, and she likes the symbolism of the Queen of Hearts. Its powerful resilient femininity made for a fun title for the disc.”

How is the concept of resilience represented in the music?

“She uses a chaconne in the music, which is basically a repeating bassline that goes throughout the music. When she was writing the piece, there were challenges in her personal life. She found the idea of returning to something familiar or dependable helpful. It's a beautiful way to write a composition, because even when you're wandering very deep in the woods, in the middle of the piece, you feel like you know where you are and where you want to get back to.”

Where does the title of Nico Muhly’s piece, Common Ground, come from?

He was using the ground bass, which is like the chaconne. He also uses the piano and strings as opposites of each other in the piece. Common Ground is referring to two elements finding common ground. It is the piano on the strings, finding ways to work together.”

Could you talk about the three little pieces by Helen Grime?

“We were commissioning pieces to commemorate the grand opening of a concert hall in Boston at the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum. She wanted art from the museum to inspire her works, and she picked out three Whistler miniatures. They’re little watercolor paintings that are incredibly beautiful, impressionistic, with subtle color palettes. Grime's music is kind of like that. It's evocative and as soon as it starts, you feel like you're in another world.

“It's so exciting to commission a new piece and to play music that nobody's ever heard before. It’s fun to collaborate with composers figuring out what inspired them and what's cool, exciting or gorgeous about their new piece of music.”

To hear the rest of my conversation, click on the extended interview above, or download the extended podcast on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.


The Claremont Trio — Queen of Hearts (Amazon)

The Claremont Trio (official site)