Busch Trio

Busch Trio are Omri Epstein (piano), Mathieu van Bellen (violin) and Ori Epstein (cello)

Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in music?

We were all individually inspired through our upbringing, our teachers, and musical encounters, but as a trio, once we met each other, we knew we would play together. We became friends in the first instance, but it was almost inevitable that we would end up playing together as a trio professionally. Amongst others, one of the passions that we share strongly is the style of playing of the early 20th century. The fact that we all have this encourages us to look at the artists from that era, such as Adolf Busch, Jascha Heifetz, Alfred Cortot, Pablo Casals and Emanuel Feuermann, and try to learn from them through their recordings. We do not intend to imitate however, as possibly their strongest asset was that they would look at the music through their own discovery and study of the music.

Who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?

The fact that Ori, our cellist, studied both with Bernard Greenhouse and Antonio Meneses is of course very special; they were the two cellists of the Beaux Arts Trio, the greatest trio to have existed. We have also benefited from lessons with several great musicians such as Eberhard Feltz, Sir András Schiff through Chamber Studio in London, and our time at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel in Brussels was very influential. We also had collaborations with musicians like Bruno Giuranna and Miguel da Silva, with whom we recorded two of our CDs.

What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?

Like so many young groups, the start of your career is very challenging. One has to put in a lot of work, a lot of time, and really commit oneself to the trio. This also means maybe not accepting some other projects at the same time, and a starting chamber group does not give stability, both financially as well as career wise. However, we were inspired by our wish to work together and make the most of this opportunity, and this definitely helped us through this first difficult stage!

Which performances/recordings are you most proud of?

I’m not sure we will ever be fully satisfied by a recording or a performance, but I think that we all agree that we are very proud about the Dvorak project that we have undertaken together with Alpha Classics, and we are very happy with our latest CD, the Quintets and Bagatelles by Dvorak, together with Miguel da Silva and Maria Milstein.

Which particular works do you think you perform best?

That depends! Some people reckon it’s our Dvorak, because we recorded it a lot. But recently we had some wonderful experiences with Beethoven op. 70, no. 2, and Schubert’s Op. 100 remains one of our favourites to play.

How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?

We look at pieces we would very much like to perform, and try to make concert programmes with these pieces. The programmes need to be well balanced, and you also don’t want to be repeating the same repertoire all the time! Luckily we have not found ourselves in that position as of yet, and we still have plenty of choices to discover.

Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?

We’re not sure we can name you one specific one, as there are quite a few where we enjoy playing. However, the places where we enjoy playing the most seem to have the following common qualities: great acoustics, great piano, great audience, inspiring décor, historical importance (optional, as there are some great modern halls) and comfortable backstage!

Who are your favourite musicians?

Beaux Arts Trio, Adolf Busch, Busch Quartet, Pablo Casals, Jascha Heifetz, Alfred Cortot Emanuel Feuermann.

What is your most memorable concert experience?

There are so many memorable ones, some even for the wrong reasons!! However, those we remember fondly are usually the ones with a sense of musical achievement, like Schubert in Amsterdam a few years ago, and recently Beethoven near Stuttgart.

As musicians, what is your definition of success?

Success is rather different to fulfilment: certain aspects of success could bring fulfilment, and feeling completely fulfilled may depend on being successful. But success is, as in any other profession, when one enjoys a long and consistent career at the high-end of their respective fields.

What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?

While it is extremely difficult out there for musicians, both because a musician’s life is not straightforward and because of increased competition, we cannot imagine another profession that has the potential to move, thrill, challenge, stimulate and fulfil more than the act of playing music and the endless pleasure of exploring the scores of the great composers. So it is the belief in the power of music that we would most wish to highlight to aspiring musicians as the most precious and necessary realisation in the quest to becoming a musician. Otherwise, it may not be worth it.

Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?

As a trio, happy, committed and as fresh as ever to play this great repertoire. An established career of balanced schedule consisting of concerts in wonderful venues, educational work and happy personal lives.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

As a trio, a single musical phrase that seems to emanate from one consciousness.

What is your most treasured possession?

Our friendship and shared commitment.

What is your present state of mind?

Ambitious, focused and committed to the music and eager to maintain a high-level of performances. At times, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves and each other that we lose sight of the important goals due to the pressure. However, we always try to find opportunities for calmness and relaxation while together.

Busch Trio explore the music of Clara Schumann in concerts at Wiltshire Music Centre on 22 February and St John’s Smith Square on 24 February.

Named after the legendary violinist Adolf Busch, this young piano trio has emerged as one of the leading piano trios among the new generation, receiving enthusiastic responses from audiences and critics across Europe. Omri Epstein “the group’s marvellously sensitive pianist”, Mathieu van Bellen, whose “silvery gleam darted eloquently”, and Ori Epstein, with whom “you felt in the grip of a warm hug”, have all won prizes in solo international competitions. Brought together by a shared deep passion for chamber music and inspired by Mathieu’s possession of the “ex-Adolf Busch” G.B. Guadagnini violin (Turin, 1783), they have been recognized for their achievements and their playing with “incredible verve”.

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