Benvenue Fortepiano TrioBiography

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Benvenue Fortepiano Trio
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Benvenue Fortepiano Trio 1 photo Benvenue Fortepiano Trio 3 photo Monica Huggett, Baroque Violin
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Benvenue Fortepiano TrioMONICA HUGGETT, Violinist, was born in London, in 1953, the fifth of seven children. In order to differentiate herself from her piano-playing siblings, she took up the violin at age six. Her talent became apparent quickly and, by the age of twelve, it had been decided by her parents and teachers that she would become a violinist, which saved her from the agony of having to decide what to do with her life.At age sixteen, she entered the Royal Academy of Music as a student of Manoug Parikian. Although she did well and won several prizes, she was not entirely comfortable with her instrument until she was given a baroque violin to try. She was immediately won over by the mellow quality of the gut strings and became a fervent champion of the baroque violin.From age seventeen, Monica has earned her living solely as a violinist and artistic director – beginning in London as a freelance violinist – and currently as the newly-appointed first artistic director of the Juilliard School’s Historical Performance Program. In the intervening four decades, she co-founded the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra with Ton Koopman; founded her own London-based ensemble Sonnerie; worked with Christopher Hogwood at the Academy of Ancient Music; with Trevor Pinnock and the English Concert; and toured the United States in concert with James Galway. She has served as guest director of the Seville Baroque Orchestra; the Kristiansand Symphony Norway; Arion Baroque Orchestra, Montreal; Tafelmusik, Toronto; the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra; Philharmonia Baroque, San Francisco; the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra; and Concerto Copenhagen. She also performs frequently as a solo violinist all over the world.Monica has given master classes in Banff, Dartington, Vicenza, Dublin, and Medellin, and has been professor of baroque violin at the Hochschule für Künste, Bremen and the Koninklijke Conservatorium in The Hague. Monica’s expertise in the musical and social history of the Baroque Era is unparalleled among performing musicians. This huge body of knowledge and understanding, coupled with her unique interpretation of Baroque music, has made her an invaluable resource to students of the baroque violin.Monica’s discography numbers in the hundreds, many of which, sadly, are currently out of print. She is working on reviving some of her favorite recordings. She is still making new recordings and a CD of Mendelssohn Piano Trios will be released later in 2009, as well as a CD of 17th century Italian instrumental music with the Irish Baroque Orchestra.

Among her recent prizes are the 1997 Editor’s Choice award, Gramophone magazine, for J.S. Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin; the Vantaa Baroque Energy Prize (Finland), 2005; and Gramophone’s Best Instrumental Recording Award, for Heinrich Biber’s Violin Sonatas, 2002. The latest CD release from Sonnerie “Music for a Young Prince” early versions of the J S Bach Four Orchestral Suites, won a Diapason d’Or in June 2009.

Alongside her work at Juilliard Monica continues as artistic director of both the Irish Baroque Orchestra, and the Portland (Oregon) Baroque Orchestra.

ERIC ZIVIAN, Fortepianist, was born in Michigan and grew up in Toronto, Canada, where he attended the Royal Conservatory of Music. After receiving a diploma there, he left home at age 15 to attend the Curtis Institute of Music, where he received a Bachelor of Music degree. He went on to receive graduate degrees from the Juilliard School and the Yale School of Music. He studied piano with Marina Geringas, Gary Graffman and Peter Serkin. He attended the Tanglewood Music Center as a performer in 1988 and 1989, studying chamber music with Gilbert Kalish, Peter Serkin, Joel Krosnick, and others. He has won numerous prizes for young pianists, including the Charles Miller/Sergei Rachmaninoff Award upon graduation from the Curtis Institute of Music and the Grace B. Jackson Award for Outstanding Achievement and Notable Contributions to the Program as a Whole at the Tanglewood Music Festival.

Mr. Zivian has appeared as a soloist in Toronto, New York, Philadelphia, and the San Francisco Bay area. He has performed Mozart and Beethoven concertos with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Beethoven Triple Concerto with the Santa Rosa Symphony and the Festival Orchestra at “Music in the Mountains” in Grass Valley. Recently, he has begun performing on original instruments, and he owns two period fortepianos. He is a member of the Zivian-Tomkins Duo, a fortepiano-cello duo that has performed in San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle, San Rafael, Berkeley, Davis, Boston and Washington, D.C. He is also a member of the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble and has performed with the Empyrean Ensemble, Earplay, and Alternate Currents. He is a frequent guest artist on the San Francisco Conservatory’s faculty chamber music series.

TANYA TOMPKINS, Baroque Cellist,  studied at the University of Southern California with Gabor Rejto and went on to receive her bachelor of fine arts degree from the California Institute of the Arts as a student of Ron Leonard. She moved to Holland to study with the cellist Anner Bijlsma and in 1987 earned a soloist’s diploma at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. Inspired by Mr. Bijlsma, Tomkins became interested in the performance of music on original instruments. As a member of the Trio d’Amsterdam (with clarinetist Eric Hoeprich and fortepianist Stanley Hoogland), she made a New York debut at the Frick Collection, which was recorded for National Public Radio and also appeared in Lincoln Center’s “Great Performers” series in 1996. The trio recorded a CD for Koch. She has performed and recorded with orchestras such as The Classical Band (Sony), La Petite Bande (Harmonia Mundi), La Stagione Frankfurt (Harmonia Mundi), the Netherland Bach Society, Ensemble Bouzignac (Vanguard) and L’Orchestre des Champs-Elysees under the direction of Philip Hereweghe (Harmonia Mundi).

During the fourteen years Tanya Tomkins was living in Holland, she was primarily active as a chamber musician, performing throughout Europe and the United States to critical acclaim. For five years she played with the award-winning Euridice Quartet. The quartet recorded a CD of the string quartets by Ravel and Debussy (Vanguard). She has also recorded a CD of French Impressionist music with the Renoir Ensemble, a harp quintet specializing in 20th century music. She has performed with the Amsterdam-based SoLaRe String Trio throughout Europe, the U.S., and Israel.

Tomkins has been invited to play in many chamber music festivals throughout Europe and the U.S., including the Amsterdam Chamber Music Society, Rondje Romantiek and the Moab Chamber Music Festival in Utah. She has appeared as a chamber musician at the 92nd Street Y in New York and has played numerous times in the Concertgebouw Kleine Zaal as a recitalist and in chamber music concerts.

She is currently a member of the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra with whom she has appeared as a soloist, and she performs regularly with the American Bach Soloists. In 2001, she was the winner of the international Bodky Competition for Early Music Soloists. Currently, she is performing in recitals across the United States as the cellist in the Tomkins-Zivian Duo, a San Francisco chamber music ensemble specializing in music performed on period instruments.