Musical programme “exactly what we are about” says classical trio appearing at Harrogate International Sunday Series

A classical trio have said the musical programme they have chosen to play in Harrogate next month (Sunday, March 1) describes them perfectly.

Violinist Callum Smart, Horn player Ben Goldscheider and pianist Richard Uttley – who perform as the Ashwell Trio – will be treating their Yorkshire audience to works by Haydn, Brahms, Mozart and, fittingly for St David’s Day, one from Welsh composer Huw Watkins.

“We think the programme we’re playing in Harrogate is really strong and says exactly what we’re about!

“It has Brahms of course, contemporary music in the form of Huw Watkins, a piece we love, and arrangements – Haydn and Mozart piano trios with their cello parts adapted by Ben,” they said.

The trio came together formally three years ago. Callum and Richard had been playing together since 2014, and Ben met Richard in Cardiff in 2016, the night before he won the BBC Young Musician 2016 Category Final.

Richard was in Cardiff that night playing in an ensemble with Ben’s mother, and, so by mutual connection, Ben and Richard began working together in 2017. The trio, they admit, was a rather natural consequence.

“We had our first concert in September 2017 in Ben’s hometown, Ashwell, hence our name. Our second concert was in Mold, but we thought “Mold Trio” might put people off.”

The three, who have several composers in mind that they would like to work with in the near future, draw their classical music inspirations from a variety of different sources.

For Richard it’s people who play with “curiosity, freedom and insight” – Jeremy Denk, Yuja Wang, and Martha Argerich, to name but a few; Callum’s are singers, and people that sing through the use of their instrument, such as Jussi Bjorling and Arthur Grimiaux.

Whilst for Ben he’s currently being inspired by a few notable conductors, Carlos Kleiber, Claudio Abbado and Valery Gergiev.

And when it comes to aspirations, they are as varied as their inspirations!

Ben, who is going to graduate from the Barenboim-Said Academy in Berlin this summer, said he had some plans in the pipeline, but essentially wanted to continue travelling and playing concerts all over the world.

Richard said: “I have a son who’s nearly two and extremely demanding of attention!

“He loves music and is an unbelievable joy to be with, so aspirations at the moment for me are all about finding balance and ways to let all the different things I do each day have a positive influence on each other.”

Whist Callum added his individual aspiration was to “continue to grow a solo performing career, and to record a new album.”

But there is one subject Ben, Callum and Richard are united on – the work being done to make classical music more diverse in terms of performers and its audiences.

“It’s very important to play music in different types of venues and to explore different formats of presenting concerts, such as relaxed concerts or concerts where people don’t sit in rows of chairs.

“This is all helps to work towards removing stiff barriers that come with the concert hall as a ‘heterotopia’. The most obvious way of making classical music accessible is to focus on the ‘access’ part.

“If music is being cut in schools and not being offered to young children, they have as much chance as relating to it as they do to Latin! It’s very important for the emotional and cognitive development of young people that they are educated in music making.

“It improves team-building skills, problem-solving skills, social interaction, deep thinking, the ability to express something, the ability to perform, to lead, to listen and countless other skills that are so often overlooked.”

Ashwell Trio are appearing at Harrogate International Sunday Series on Sunday, March 1.

They will be performing Haydn’s Trio in C Major, Huw Watkins’ Trio for Horn, Mozart’s Piano Trio in G Major and Bramhs’ Horn Trio in E-flat Major.

For further information about the Harrogate International Sunday Series 2020, and to book tickets, please visit the Harrogate International Festivals website on https://harrogateinternationalfestivals.com

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