In fall 2017 Merz Trio launches its first season with a "walking tour" through German diasporic art, tracking Sebald the writer and Schwitters the artist as they construct identities from fragments of bygone eras. Music of Haydn, Schumann, and Staud frame spoken excerpts from Sebald's Rings of Saturn and visual projections of Schwitters' work in collage. Merz Trio's launch program emulates the process of creation through selection, drawing from disparate disciplines, centuries, and styles in producing a single, unified thread.
Merz pianist Lee Dionne has performed as a recitalist, chamber musician, and soloist with orchestra around the world. He is a core member of New York-based chamber ensemble Cantata Profana and a 2016-2018 piano fellow with Ensemble Connect. Lee has been the recipient of numerous prizes and awards, including a Presser Foundation Music Award, a DAAD Fellowship for Study Abroad in Germany, and Third Prize in the James Mottram International Piano Competition. Lee holds a BA in literature from Yale University and is a current doctoral candidate at Yale School of Music, as well as a soloist diploma candidate from the music conservatory in Hannover, Germany. www.leedionne.com
We are inspired in our work and identity by the fantastical, disordered creativity of the German artist Kurt Schwitters. Responding to both the ideas of the modernist Dada movement and the daily hardship of life in Germany amid crippling sanctions post-World War I, Schwitters pioneered a new style of 'collage’ - Merz - that brought ordinary, discarded objects into dialogue with one another and the world around them. No medium was off-limits for Schwitters: he created art, founded a Merz journal, patented new font styles, illustrated advertisements, wrote ambitious new poetry, even held regular ‘salon’ evenings that brought music and words together in his living room! His challenging, witty imagination serves as a lodestar for our first season.
In spring 2018, Merz Trio reimagines Shakespeare's familiar narrative of greed and magic as a woven tapestry of text and sound. Haunting works of Brahms, Haydn, Verdi, Shostakovich and Charlotte Bray appear alongside scenes and passages from Shakespeare's play, fractured and re-scored for a combination of actors and speaking musicians. Weird music enters as harbinger of a fateful, unsettled world; later we encounter music as reminiscence, describing an existence paralyzed between a will to self-determination and the inescapability of memory.
Merz violinist Brigid Coleridge has performed as a soloist and chamber musician in major international concert venues such as the Royal Albert Hall, Wigmore Hall, the Purcell Room and Buckingham Palace. A current doctoral student at the CUNY Graduate Center in Midtown, NY, Brigid holds graduate degrees from the Royal College of Music in London and a bachelor's from Melbourne University in her native Australia (concentrating in violin performance, French language, and English literature). Brigid is a frequent recitalist, most recently having completed a recital tour of Holland with Merz pianist Lee Dionne. She has appeared as a concerto soloist performing works of Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Mendelssohn, and Shostakovich. www.brigidcoleridge.com
We are fascinated and caught unawares by the writing of W.G. Sebald, a German academic who taught in England for most of his life, only turning to novels in the last five years before his untimely death. His strange, unique books - a measured voice leading the reader through dream-like landscapes, accompanied by the ‘reality’ of illustrative photos - speak often of memory, of its importance and its unreliability. Our season launch features excerpts from Sebald’s novel The Rings of Saturn in dialogue with Schwitter's more tangible collages: two German artists escaping war and its aftermath, coming to terms with memory and new identity.
Merz Trio presents a tasting menu of music and food in collaboration with an artist chef. Each course invites guests to experience how composers and culinary artists evoke a specific time, place, or memory, either in a piece of music or in a culinary dish. Musical pieces alternate with dining and conversation, as musical and culinary styles both converge and provide counterpoint for one another.
Merz cellist Julia Yang is a current member in Carnegie Hall’s Ensemble Connect. From 2014-2016, Julia resided in Miami Beach as a member of New World Symphony, where she performed as a concerto soloist, principal cellist, chamber musician and solo recitalist and was praised for her ‘sense of joyful virtuosity’ in performances of Haydn's Cello Concerto (South Florida Classical Review). A prizewinner of numerous competitions, she has made chamber festival appearances around the world most recently at Poland's Krzyzowa-Music, Banff, and Yellow Barn, and has been praised for her “deep tone” and “precision" in performances of piano trios (South Florida Classical Review). Julia holds degrees in performance from New England Conservatory and Northwestern University (with a minor in Arts Administration). www.juliayangcello.com