Due to the strike by CSO musicians, the concerts cited below have been canceled. Patrons may exchange their tickets for another upcoming Symphony Center performance, donate their tickets to the CSO or receive a refund. Please contact Patron Services by phone at (312) 294-3000 or by email.
Violinist Lisa Batiashvili, cellist Gautier Capuçon and pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet are all top-rank international soloists, and they all happen to be friends. But the three European-based musicians also enjoy at least two other ties.
First, all three were scheduled to appear in April at Symphony Center. (Due to the CSO musicians’ strike, the first two of the following three engagements have been canceled.) Batiashvili will join guest conductor Jakub Hrůša and Chicago Symphony Orchestra for concerts on April 4-6. Thibaudet will perform April 14 with violinist Midori as part of the Symphony Center Presents Chamber Music Series. And Capuçon rejoins the orchestra April 25-27 in Elgar’s beloved Cello Concerto with guest conductor Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider.
Second, the three teamed up last year to perform together as a piano trio through the intercession of Capuçon, who has performed with Thibaudet for nearly 20 years and previously collaborated with Batiashvili. “When you have the possibility to play incredible music with great friends onstage, this is just pure luxury,” he said. “There is nothing better than that.”
The project was discussed for a few years and finally became a reality in November. “It’s always complicated to mix three busy schedules and so many projects,” Capuçon said. The threesome presented an 11-day, 10-city tour across Europe that began Nov. 4 at the Konzert Theater in Coesfeld, Germany and included stops in such leading venues as the Musikverein in Vienna, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and Philharmonie in Paris. “It was really a fantastic experience,” Batiashvili said.
For Capuçon, the big appeal of the piano trio is the “absolutely gorgeous” music that has been written for the combination by composers such as Brahms and Schubert. The threesome toured with Shostakovich’s Piano Trio No. 1 in C Minor, Mendelssohn’s Piano No. 2 in C Minor and Ravel’s Piano Trio in A Minor. “The repertoire is absolutely incredible,” he said.
It’s almost impossible, Batiashvili said, for musicians who are typically soloists to come together with little rehearsal and create the kind of nuanced blend that a string quartet or string trio requires. “In a piano trio, it’s different,” she said, “because you have piano, violin and cello, which accompany each other but can still stay very personal and have their own voice.”
The threesome will perform at least one more concert this summer in Europe and then embark on a North American tour in late 2020. Will the group come to Chicago? “I don’t know exactly,” Batiashvili said, “but we will try.”