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Trio Sōra

© Lyodoh Kaneko

Trio Sōra

Thinking big!

 

‘A bird that sings as it takes flight’ – or to put it more succinctly: Sōra! Native American by origin, but also meaning ‘sky’ in Japanese, this name that travels the world and sings in every language, this poetic name that also makes us think of ‘sisters’ (sorority, from Latin soror), is a perfect fit for a trio of young women founded in 2015. It was in 2022 that the current line-up was born, when Fanny Fheodoroff, a Viennese violinist who graduated from The Juilliard School, joined pianist Pauline Chenais and cellist Angèle Legasa, who have been friends with shared affinities ever since the Paris Conservatoire (CNSM). They resolutely turned their eyes and their musical dreams in the same direction: their trio, and nothing else. This was far from being the easy option, but for them a trio, like a string quartet, is worth spending a lifetime on! So they plunged into the adventure, devoting themselves to it, giving themselves the means of success right from the start, driven by an extraordinary strength and energy.

They worked prodigiously, every week, every day, for as long as possible – you don’t do things by halves when you want to make a name for yourself! In the meantime, the trio travelled the length and breadth of Europe, taking part in a string of academies and competitions and winning fourteen prizes and awards in just five years. But that was just the beginning! They needed to think big and look far ahead.

One of the decisive encounters along the way was with Mathieu Herzog, who became their mentor and guardian angel. The audacity and talent of these three artists appealed to the violist-turned-conductor, who took them under his exclusive wing. He knew they were capable of moving mountains, of ignoring obstacles, of staying the course . . . And they did! He encouraged them to go all the way, opening up perspectives, guiding them in musical and human terms, and helping them complete the construction of their trio, from A to Z. The search for a common sound and a feeling for harmonies, the honing of timbre and articulation – Mathieu Herzog insists on this – are essential, but it’s also necessary to take an interest in the other aspects of the profession, such as stage presentation and concert dress.

Thinking big . . . a motto that the musicians never cease to put into practice. Their motto from very beginning. A first album? If they decided to open the door to the recording world, they would choose the biggest one: Beethoven. And because they have an appetite for risk and don’t do things by halves, they opted for his complete trios. The set was released in 2020, and was crowned with the highest distinctions – a masterstroke! Continuing to think big . . . Two years later, with a tidy grant in their pockets, they commissioned the Canadian composer Kelly-Marie Murphy to write, not a ‘modest’ trio, but a triple concerto, which they premiered with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France conducted by Mikko Franck. Moving forward, still thinking big . . . a new recording project came into existence: the Brahms trios. All of them!

At the Fondation Singer-Polignac, where they are artists in residence, they meet up to work for hours on end. Keeping their distance from conventional interpretations, always ready to turn their backs on preconceptions, they use this shared time to search for the meaning of a phrasing, a timbre, an articulation, attentive to the architecture of the work nurtured by the blend of energy and tenderness that they possess between them. Their musical propositions mirror the sparkling performances they give on the concert platform: luminous, lively, invigorated. That’s the hallmark of their trio: to refresh the colours of the great works of the repertory, is it not to give them a new lease of life?

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