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Mixed Company is written by Saint Paul Sunday staff, giving you a behind-the-scenes look at the show and the classical music they love. We welcome your online comments.

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November 30, 2005

'The Amazing Race' meets the Piano Trio

You wouldn't necessarily guess it, but the world of chamber music is at times a fiercely competitive business. It reminds me a little of the TV show, "The Amazing Race." On the show a number of teams each try to complete difficult challenges on a scavenger hunt around the world. The first one over the finish line wins a huge amount of money. Though we usually see them perform in tuxes and black gowns, string quartets and trios at the Amelias’ level could probably win the Amazing Race with their eyes closed.

The secret to "winning," it seems to me, is innovation and that's just where the Amelia Piano Trio is so successful.

String ensembles are eager to check off their lists mastering all of the Haydn trios, for example, to prove that they have arrived on the classical music scene. The Amelia Piano Trio goes about things a little differently. True, they play the classic favorites exquisitely well, but rather than compare their performance of a piece with that of another ensemble, the Amelia Piano Trio is commissioning new music from fantastic composers like John Harbison. If they were on the TV show, the Amelia is the team that would have thought to build a sled to slide down the Alpine mountain while the other teams hiked. The Amelia Trio has another advantage: they know that the prize is not a big pot of money, but respect and attracting more people interested in listening to classical music.

How do you think performers invigorate the field of music?

Posted by Suzanne Schaffer at November 30, 2005 9:44 AM