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 1993, 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. Following a performance at the University of Southern Maine, the Portland Press Herald wrote in its review: “Both the individual playing and the total ensemble were virtually flawless in every work, no matter how difficult. Better still, the musical character of each was shaped with taste and imagination.”
In addition to performing, the members have all been active as educators in the state of Maine. The Nordica Trio has performed numerous concerts for students across the state and sponsored a student composer’s competition in 2004. Recordings of live performances have been broadcast by Maine Public Radio. 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 the venue where the members of the trio first met to rehearse and discuss the idea of forming a chamber music ensemble, whose mission includes introducing audiences to the many wonderful compositions for this somewhat unique combination of instruments (violin or viola, clarinet and piano). It was therefore fitting for the ensemble to adopt the name Nordica Trio and thus carry on the name of one of Farmington’s most famous natives.
Most recently, the Managing Director of Somm Recordings in the United Kingdom, after hearing a live recording of the Nordica Trio’s performance of Béla Bartók’s “Contrasts”, approached the trio to record a CD for its label. The CD will include works by Armenian composers Aram Khachaturian, Alexander Arutiunian and Alan Hovhaness, in addition to the Bartók “Contrasts”. Recording sessions are planned for August, 2023.
As a JanPlan for Colby College students, Graybert & Karen Beacham spent a 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.