The Lysander Piano Trio, a winner of the Concert Artists Guild Competition, has been praised by the Strad for its “incredible ensemble, passionate playing, articulate and imaginative ideas and a wide palette of colors.” These qualities have made the Trio a standout at other competitions, with top honors at the 2010 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, the 2011 Coleman Chamber Ensemble Competition (Grand Prize), and the 2011 J. C. Arriaga Chamber Music Competition (First Prize). The Trio’s 2014 debut recording, After a Dream (CAG Records), featuring music by Ravel, Haydn, Schubert, Joaquin Turina, and Moshe Zorman, was acclaimed for its “polished and spirited interpretations” (The New York Times).
The Lysander Piano Trio is proactive in commissioning new works and creating programs that mix the music of today with well-loved masterworks. Their latest commission is Gilad Cohen’s Around the Cauldron, co-commissioned by CAG and set for a world premiere as part of the 2016-17 CAG New York Series at Weill Recital Hall. Other recent Lysander Trio commissions include: Ghostwritten Variations by Venezuelan-American composer Reinaldo Moya, who received a 2015 McKnight Fellowship; Jakub Ciupinski’s The Black Mirror (also co-commissioned by CAG and premiered at Weill Recital Hall); and Four Movements Inspired by “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” penned by four pre-teen composers of ComposerCraft from NYC’s Kaufman Music Center and premiered at Merkin Concert Hall in January 2014.
The Lysander Piano Trio was formed at The Juilliard School in 2009 and selected that year to represent Juilliard in a special concert in Mexico City on the occasion of President Joseph Polisi’s visit to Mexico. The Trio has performed in master classes for Alfred Brendel and for Ida and Ani Kavafian at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and it has studied with Ronald Copes of the Juilliard String Quartet, Joseph Kalichstein of the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, and Seymour Lipkin. The Lysander Trio takes its name from the character in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Charles Neidich has gained worldwide recognition as one of the most mesmerizing virtuosos on his instrument. With a tone of hypnotic beauty and a dazzling technique, Mr. Neidich has received unanimous accolades from critics and fellow musicians both in the United States and abroad; but it is his musical intelligence in scores as diverse as Mozart and Elliott Carter that have earned for Mr. Neidich a unique place among clarinetists. In the words of The New Yorker, “He’s an artist of uncommon merit — a master of his instrument and, beyond that, an interpreter who keeps listeners hanging on each phrase.” Mr. Neidich commands a repertoire of over 200 solo works, including pieces commissioned or inspired by him, as well as his own transcriptions of vocal and instrumental works. A noted exponent of 20th-century music, he has premiered works by Milton Babbit, Elliott Carter, Edison Denisov, William Schumann, Ralph Shapey, Joan Tower, and other leading contemporary composers. With a growing discography to his credit, Mr. Neidich can be heard on the Chandos, Sony Classical, Sony Vivarte, Deutsche Grammophon, Musicmasters, Pantheon, and Bridge labels. His recorded repertoire ranges from familiar works by Mozart, Beethoven, Weber, and Brahms, to lesser-known compositions by Danzi, Reicha, Rossini, and Hummel, as well as music by Elliott Carter, Gyorgy Kurtag, and other contemporary masters.
A native New Yorker of Russian and Greek descent, Charles Neidich had his first clarinet lessons with his father and his first piano lessons with his mother. Mr. Neidich’s early musical idols were Fritz Kreisler, pianist Artur Schnabel and other violinists and pianists, rather than clarinetists. However, the clarinet won out over time, and he pursued studies with the famed pedagogue Leon Russianoff. Although Mr. Neidich became quite active in music at an early age, he opted against attending a music conservatory in favor of academic studies at Yale University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, in Anthropology. In 1975 he became the first American to receive a Fulbright grant for study in the former Soviet Union, and he attended the Moscow Conservatory for three years where his teachers were Boris Dikov and Kirill Vinogradov.
In 1985 Mr. Neidich became the first clarinetist to win the Walter W. Naumburg Competition, which brought him to prominence as a soloist. He then taught at the Eastman School of Music and during that tenure joined the New York Woodwind Quintet, an ensemble with which he still performs. His European honors include a top prize at the 1982 Munich International Competition sponsored by the German television network ARD and the Geneva and Paris International Competitions. Mr. Neidich has achieved recognition as a teacher in addition to his activities as a performer, and currently is a member of the artist faculties of The Juilliard School, the Manhattan School of Music, the Mannes College of Music and Queens College. During the 1994-95 academic year, he was a Visiting Professor at the Sibelius Academy in Finland where he taught, performed and conducted. Mr. Neidich is a long-time member of the renowned chamber ensemble Orpheus.