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Thoreau Piano Trio

Powerful performances and imaginative programs are hallmarks of the Thoreau Piano Trio.

“The Thoreau Piano Trio plays beautifully together, with one breath, exceptional passion and always interesting and engaging. See them live when you can – highly recommended!” Tim Lukas, President, Blink Music Studios

Three internationally acclaimed artists, violinist Susan Jensen, cellist Darry Dolezal and pianist Paul Jacobs, formed the Thoreau Piano Trio in 2011 during a philosophical back-stage conversation at a music festival in Vermont.

In the spirit of Henry David Thoreau, the quintessential New England philosopher who wrote in Walden, “I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life,” the Thoreau Piano Trio cuts through hundreds of years of tradition to find and express the essence of each masterwork, interpreting each on its own terms.

An ensemble of depth, brilliance and conviction, the Thoreau Piano Trio has acquired a robust reputation for its rich, insightful interpretations of the standard repertoire and for revealing unexpected correlations between works from different styles and periods. The Thoreau Piano Trio’s mission is to engage and connect with audiences, composers and with each other, and to explore links between music, art and literature.

Recent collaborations include a performance of Martin Boykan’s Rites of Passage paired with the artwork which inspired the piece, Rites of Passage by Susan Schwalb, and the commission and premiere of the evocative Departing Landscapes by intrepid American composer William Pfaff.

The Boston-based Thoreau Piano Trio, whose members have appeared in concert halls on four continents and received numerous awards and accolades, including a Grammy nomination, performs across the United States and in notable and historic venues throughout New England. The Thoreau Piano Trio was a featured ensemble at the Warebrook Contemporary Music Festival and the White Lake Chamber Music Festival, and is now the resident ensemble of the newly-preserved and acoustically superb Chelmsford Center for the Arts in Massachusetts, presenting each year an exciting series of beautiful and inspiring concerts.

The cornerstone of the Thoreau Piano Trio’s upcoming season is a series of concerts celebrating the bicentennial of Henry David Thoreau’s birth, through exploration of programmatic connections to titles or passages of his works. Other highlights include the East Coast premiere of award-winning microtonal composer Bill Alves’ Trio for Violin, Retuned Cello and Piano, the world premiere of a work by up-and-coming composer Matt Cullen, and “Untamed Trios,” a monumental Beethoven Piano Trio cycle.

Susan Jensen, violin

Violinist Susan Jensen is a collaborative artist of the first rank. Her wide-ranging career includes extensive experience in traditional classical music – solo, chamber and orchestral – and also crosses boundaries to embrace experimental and microtonal music, historically-informed styles from early baroque to modern, and forays into pop, rock, film and television.

“This music is mesmerizing and quite beautiful. Susan Jensen’s superb violin playing, with its rich and languorous musical lines, overlays the soft, delicate and glimmering sounds of the bronze gamelan instruments” Annette Sanger, The Whole Note, February 2016.

Teaming up with several of today’s leading composers, Susan has commissioned, premiered and recorded substantial and intriguing solo works, including the Grammy-nominated Concerto for Violin with Gamelan by Bill Alves, a virtuosic piece which marries extended violin techniques and non-western tuning systems in a traditional classical form. Susan also commissioned and premiered the compelling and uncommon Wound for singing violinist by Conrad Kehn. Her collaborations with composers have also led to the creation of works like the Ninth String Quartet by renowned American composer Samuel Adler, premiered and recorded while she was Violin Professor at the University of Missouri and a member of the Esterhazy String Quartet.

A passionate chamber musician, Susan has been a member of several preeminent ensembles including the award-winning Southwest Chamber Music Society, the ground-breaking new music ensemble Xtet, and the internationally acclaimed DaVinci and Esterhazy String Quartets. She has traveled the globe far and wide performing internationally throughout Southern China, in Brazil for the XXV Festival Internacional de Musica do Para, in Italy at Castel San Giogrio, and nationally at the White Lake Chamber Music Festival, Warebrook Festival, Microfest, New Music Symposium and Eastern Sierra Music Festival.

Susan has performed and recorded with many fine artists, such as Italian keyboard specialist Enrico Baiano, winner of the Deutsche Schallplattenpreis, Diapason d’Or, Choc de la Musique and Platte des Monats, with whom she has recorded Bach Triple Concerto and Telemann Concerto TWV 42. She has worked with opera legends Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti, popular music icons Aerosmith, Ringo Starr, Dave Brubeck, Jeff Lynn, Brian Wilson, Bill Medley, Randy Newman, Reba McEntire, Harry Connick, Jr. and Garth Brooks as well as film and television composing greats Jerry Goldsmith, James Horner, Thomas Newman, Mark Snow, Mike Post, Hans Zimmer, Danny Elfmann, W. G. “Snuffy” Walden and Jeff Beal.

Susan studied violin with Dorothy DeLay and chamber music with the LaSalle and Tokyo String Quartets at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree. Under the mentorship of Eudice Shapiro she received her Master’s Degree from the University of Southern California, where she was an Alpert Merit Scholar and received the George Kast Merit Achievement Award.

Darry Dolezal, cello

Cellist Darry Dolezal has performed thousands of concerts in venues ranging from Carnegie Hall to the Copacabana Palace. In a wide-ranging career Dolezal has played works for solo cello (many written for him), concertos, a superabundance of chamber music, orchestral works, operas, and a smattering of things hard to categorize. His live performances have been heard on radio and television stations throughout North America, South America and Europe, and his recordings are issued on the Albany, Capstone, Centaur and CRI/New World labels.

Some of the adventures experienced by Dolezal and his cello include: sharing the stage with a Samba band in Brazil; being Gabor Rejto’s stand partner in a cello choir conducted by Mstislav Rostropovich (premiering a piece by Lucas Foss); collaborating with composers, choreographers, dancers and other musicians in a performance at Jacob’s Pillow; staging an outburst during Donald Martino’s From the Other Side at the Warebrook Festival (as coached by Martino); playing in the Artaria Quartet, chosen as one of the “ten best young string quartets in the world,” surrounded by the lights and cameras of the CBC during the Banff International String Quartet Competition.

In 2006 Dolezal was designated a “musician of note” by the U.S. Department of State through a Partners of the Americas cultural exchange program, traveling to Brazil to play concerts and present master classes and in exchange receiving an immersion into the musical, social and culinary life of the region. (Ask him about playing Villa-Lobos in Rio. Or how to make a killer caipirinha.)

A sought-after cellist in Boston during the eighties and nineties, Dolezal appeared with groups such as Abbott Chamber Players, Alea III, the EOS Ensemble, Underground Composers and the Opera Company of Boston. In 1992 Dolezal won a prestigious National Endowment for the Arts Rural Residency, living and performing for nine months in Tifton, Georgia, followed by an Artist-in-Residence position at Viterbo College in La Crosse, Wisconsin. For two decades he was on the faculty of the University of Missouri-Columbia as cellist of the Esterhazy Quartet, one of America’s longest-standing Resident Ensembles.

An ardent advocate for contemporary music, Darry Dolezal collaborates with many composers and has premiered over two hundred works, including pieces by Samuel Adler, Michael Ching, David Kraehenbuehl, Thomas Oboe Lee, Marjorie Merryman, David Rakowski, and Dalit Warshaw, to name just a few. He created a new music festival at Viterbo College, and was co-founder and Artistic Director of the Warebrook Contemporary Music Festival in Vermont.

Darry Dolezal’s principal cello teachers were Raymond Stuhl (a student of Hugo Becker!), Edward Laut and Yehuda Hanani. His chamber music coaches include such legendary musicians as Leon Fleisher, Raphael Hillyer, Eugene Lehner, Menachem Pressler, Alexander Schneider, Leonard Shure, Karen Tuttle and Donald Weilerstein. He received degrees from the Peabody Conservatory and the University of Kansas.

Paul Jacobs, piano

Pianist Paul Jacobs has performed across the U.S. as a soloist and chamber musician in a variety of venues including Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center; Queens Library, NY; The Art Complex Museum, Duxbury, MA; The Lilypad, Cambridge, MA; Hill Hall, UNC; University Capitol Centre Recital Hall, UI; and The Block, Muskegon, MI. His repertoire covers a wide range of music with an affinity for 20th century and new works. Solo performances have featured Ives’s Concord Sonata, selections of Ligeti Etudes, and Philip Glass’s Metamorphosis.

As a champion of new music, Mr. Jacobs has collaborated with currently active American composers Allen Anderson, Martin Boykin, Steve Rouse, and Yehudi Wyner. He premiered works of Allen Anderson in 2011 in Vermont and 2013 at UNC. He was also a frequent performer on the Cambridge-based Composer Focus Concert Series (2014-2016). The concert series received a grant from the city of Cambridge and was previewed in a Boston Globe article on the music of Philip Glass. In 2017 Mr. Jacobs was the soloist for a recording of Mary Bichner’s piano concerto, Early Spring, commissioned by Mount Auburn Cemetery. He has also recorded with Juventas New Music Ensemble on the Navano label.

Mr. Jacobs has an interest in the study of the mind and how it relates to music. From his experiences as a performer, he became interested in how the mind deals with randomness, how it memorizes, and how different states of mind can be used effectively for learning or performing.

He enjoys reading books on these subjects, and has participated in neurofeedback training and the Feldenkrais method.

Mr. Jacobs is active in the Boston-area community doing concerts at schools, churches, and retirement homes. He and his wife, Yilin You, were featured performers as a piano-duo on a benefit concert for ovarian cancer at Longy School of Music. He currently teaches private lessons at Concord Conservatory of Music and from his home studio. Mr. Jacobs holds an A.D. from Longy School of Music, M.M. from Michigan State University, and B.M. from Hope College. His former teachers include Randall Hodgkinson, Deborah Moriarty, Joan Conway, and Arlene Warners.

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