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The Thoreau Piano Trio

To honor the 2017 bicentennial of Henry David Thoreau's birth

The Thoreau Piano Trio

presents a series of concerts exploring connections between the piano trio repertoire and Thoreau's writings.

"His eye was open to beauty, and his ear to music.

He found these, not in rare conditions, but wheresoever he went."

Ralph Waldo Emerson, describing his friend Henry David Thoreau

Autumnal Tints

Thoreau's essay by this name portrays and praises the brilliant fall colors of New England. Music by Rameau, Mozart, Higdon and Ravel celebrate themes of color, joy, harvest, and appreciation of the beauty around us.


This early lecture by Thoreau laid out the philosophies that are found in Walden and later writings. Composers that drew inspiration from nature (and enjoyed long walks) are highlighted – Beethoven, Brahms, Copland and Haydn.

Night and Moonlight

In this essay portraying his nocturnal wanderings Thoreau proclaims, “I speak out of the night,” inviting readers to find enchantment, transformation and hidden beauty through different ways of seeing. Our night-time journey includes a set of Nocturnes by Bloch, a dark work by Smetana, a trio by Mozart and an Adagio of Mozart transformed by Pärt.

Faith in a Seed

“I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.” The Dispersion of Seeds, a late work only recently published, helps cement Thoreau’s reputation not just as a philosopher but as a pioneer botanist. Youthful compositions by Bernstein and Shostakovich are placed in a multi-generational context with pieces by Buxtehude and Mendelssohn.

Special Event:

"Untamed Trios"

The Thoreau Piano Trio presents a Beethoven Cycle

featuring the six essential piano trios in two concerts or one glorious afternoon.

Current Repertoire

Ludwig van Beethoven:

       Piano Trio in E-flat Major, Op. 1, No. 1

       Piano Trio in G Major, Op. 1, No. 2

       Piano Trio in C Minor, Op. 1, No. 3

       Piano Trio in D Major, "Ghost," Op. 70, No. 1

       Piano Trio in E-flat Major, Op. 70, No. 2

       Piano Trio in B-flat Major, "Archduke," Op. 97

       "Kakadu" Variations, Op. 121a

Leonard Bernstein: Piano Trio (1937)

Ernest Bloch: Three Nocturnes

Johannes Brahms: Piano Trio in C Minor, Op. 101

Dietrich Buxtehude: Trio Sonata, Op. 2, No. 2

Aaron Copland: Prelude for Piano Trio

Joseph Haydn:

       Piano Trio in E-flat Minor, Hob XV/31

       Piano Trio in G Major, "Gypsy," Hob XV/25

Jennifer Higdon: Piano Trio (Pale Yellow & Fiery Red)

Felix Mendelssohn: Piano Trio No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 66

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart:

       Piano Trio No. 4 in E Major, K. 542

       Piano Trio No. 5 in C Major, K. 548

Arvo Pärt: Mozart-Adagio

Bill Pfaff: Departing Landscapes, Commissioned Piece

Jean-Philippe Rameau: Pièces de Clavecin en Concert

Maurice Ravel: Piano Trio in A Minor (1914)

Dmitri Shostakovich: Piano Trio No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 8

Bedřich Smetana: Piano Trio in G Minor, Op. 15

Repertoire and programs subject to change

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