The members of the Nordica Trio are: Graybert Beacham (violin and viola), Karen Beacham (clarinet), and Martin Perry (piano). This ensemble brings together three outstanding musicians who have performed internationally. Since its debut in 1994, the trio has been enthusiastically received by audiences in Maine and beyond. Grants received by the trio include those from the Maine Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency). In addition to performing, the members are all active as educators in the state of Maine. The Nordica Trio has performed numerous concerts for students across the state and sponsored a student composers competition in 2004. Recordings of live performances have been broadcast by Maine Public Radio for the program Maine Stage and members of the trio recorded “Divertimento” (for violin, cello and piano) by Maine composer Peter Ré for Albany Records.
The trio takes its name from the American operatic soprano, Lillian Nordica. Born Lillian Norton in Farmington, Maine, Madame Nordica made her operatic debut in Brescia in 1879. Her fame quickly spread, and she made appearances in all the principal capitals in Europe and America. She was known in Europe as the Yankee Diva. The recital hall at the University of Maine at Farmington is named Nordica Auditorium in her honor. This was where the members of the trio first met to rehearse and discuss the idea of forming a chamber music ensemble. It was therefore fitting for the newly formed ensemble to adopt the name Nordica Trio and thus carry on the name of one of Farmington's most famous natives.
The Nordica Trio maintains a busy calendar of performance and teaching engagements.
In January 2008, Graybert & Karen Beacham spent the month in Kalimpong, West Bengal, India teaching at the Gandhi Ashram School. They also played concerts in Delhi; at the Delhi School of Music, and the American Centre (at the American Embassy). Please visit our India Blog for more information about the trip (including photos).
Hinako Fujihara Hovhaness (the widow of composer Alan Hovhaness) was inspired to write some prose after hearing the Nordica Trio's recorded performance of Alan's "Lake Samish" for violin, clarinet, and piano. She called the performance "beautifully clear and fresh", and sent the following with permission to share it.
"Lake Samish" in the Fog
by Hinako Fujihara Hovhaness
(inspired by a concert recording by the Nordica Trio)
Ocean of evening fog, swallowing up everything, plunging them into nothingness. All I can see is black limbs of winter cottonwood trees. I am hearing Alan's "Lake Samish" Trio...
Sound of clarinet accompanied by piano, sailing between the branches, in the lost evening fog.
I hear the cry of violin with romantic oriental curve, then the vibrant jhala, the piano cuts through the air, soon joined by violin and clarinet, altogether to celebrate coming of night.