The Gould Trio are Lucy Gould (violin), Richard Lester (cello) and Benjamin Frith (piano). This is their third appearance in an Ilkley programme.
The Gould Piano Trio launched upon the chamber music scene with their first prize in the First Melbourne Chamber Music Competition in 1991 and have remained at the forefront ever since. They have been directly compared to the famous Beaux Arts Trio for their ‘musical fire’ and ‘dedication to the genre’ in the Washington Post and lauded in The Strad as ‘Pure Gould’.
Their many appearances at London’s Wigmore Hall have included the complete piano trios of Dvorak, Mendelssohn and Schubert – plus in the 2017-18 season, a Beethoven cycle, to celebrate 25 years since their first appearance at this iconic venue.
Commissioning and performing new works is an important part of the trio’s philosophy of staying creative and freshly inspired: recent commissions have included works from Huw Watkins and Sir James Macmillan. They have also championed neglected gems from the late romantic British repertoire with recordings of works by Bax, Ireland, Milford, Stanford, York Bowen and Cyril Scott.
The partnership between Robert Plane and the Gould Trio stretches back 25 years and is renewed yearly by their joint direction of the Corbridge Chamber Music Festival. The fact that Robert is married to Lucy Gould, violinist of the trio, clearly intensifies this, but the whole ensemble has a feeling of family and of a wealth of shared experience. Richard Lester, cellist of the trio, also happens to be Lucy Gould’s brother-in-law, completing the family bond.
Lucy Gould (violin) studied at the Royal Academy of Music and Indiana University, Bloomington, with Gyorgy Pauk and Josef Gingold. Courses at Prussia Cove, Yale Summer School and the Banff Centre for the Arts, working with Andras Schiff, Menahem Pressler and the Amadeus String Quartet were a great inspiration to her.
As well as her work with the trio, Lucy performs regularly with Leon McCawley (piano) and David Pyatt (horn). She holds the position of principal 2nd violin of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and is a teacher at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff, where she lives with Robert and their three children. Lucy plays a Joseph Guarnerius filius Andreae violin from 1703.
Richard Lester (cello) was a member of the award-winning Florestan Trio, a founder-member of the ensemble Domus, has been a member of Hausmusik and the London Haydn Quartet and succeeded Alice Neary as the cellist of the Gould Trio. He was for many years principal with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and has been principal cello with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe since 1989.
Together with violinist Anthony Marwood, Richard Lester is co-director of the highly successful Peasmarsh Chamber Music Festival in East Sussex. His recordings of the complete works of Mendelssohn for cello and piano, and a disc of Boccherini sonatas on period instruments, are both available on Hyperion. Richard teaches at the Royal College of Music and the Guildhall School in London.
Benjamin Frith (piano) is an acclaimed solo pianist who has performed in Ilkley on two occasions. He was educated at the University of Leeds: subsequently, studying under Fanny Waterman, he was encouraged to embark on a musical career, and went on to win a number of competitions including the Gold Medal at the 1989 Artur Rubinstein Piano Master’s Competition in Israel.
He has gone on to play with many of the world’s best orchestras and has recorded for Naxos a best-selling John Field concerto cycle with the Royal Northern Sinfonia. Chamber music has always been a major interest and, as well as his work with the trio he has formed the Frith Piano Quartet and is often a guest pianist with illustrious quartets such as the Chiligirian, Dante, Elias and Endellion.
Benjamin Frith is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and teaches at the Royal Northern College of Music.
Robert Plane (clarinet) has had a hugely varied career as an orchestral musician, concerto soloist and chamber musician which has included performances of the Mozart concerto across the world and an appearance at the BBC Proms in 2011. Rob has tirelessly pursued a particular passion for British clarinet music in concert and on disc, his Gramophone Award winning account of Finzi’s Concerto and his disc of Bax Sonatas being just two of a large collection of recordings of works by the great English Romantics. The highlight of his recordings with the Gould Piano Trio is their recording of Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time, which they were to have played at our cancelled concert.
Rob is principal clarinet of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and has held the same position with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Royal Northern Sinfonia. He was recently appointed Head of Woodwind Performance at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.