LYSANDER PIANO TRIO
Itamar Zorman, Violin
Michael Katz, Cello
Liza Stepanova, Piano
The Lysander Piano Trio has been praised by The Strad for its “incredible ensemble, passionate playing, articulate and imaginative ideas and wide palette of colors” and by The Washington Post for “an uncommon degree of heart-on-the-sleeve emotional frankness” and “vivid engagement carried by
soaring, ripely Romantic playing.” The group has developed a reputation for exciting programming, finding creative ways to connect well-known masterworks with pieces by lesser-known and underrepresented composers, discovering common threads across cultures and times. The Trio’s debut recording After A Dream (CAG Records) was acclaimed by The New York Times for its “polished and spirited interpretations.” Its most recent album, Mirrors, featuring world-premiere recordings of six works the ensemble has commissioned or premiered, was released in early 2021 by First Hand Records.
In the 2022-23 season, the Trio performs at series around North America including New York’s Central Chamber Series, Connecticut’s South Windsor Cultural Arts, Florida’s Key West Impromptu Classical Concerts and Sanibel Music Festival, Wyoming’s WYO Theater, Lee University’s Presidential Concert Series, and the Chamber Music Society of Edmonton. This spring, the Lysander also launches its new tango-infused collaboration with Argentine bandoneon player and composer JP Jofre, with performances from Washington’s Dumbarton Concerts to Phoenix’s Hayden’s Ferry Chamber Music Series. Highlights of the past few seasons include a return engagement at Atlanta’s premier chamber music series at Spivey Hall, a multi-concert residency with Chamber Music Tulsa, a weeklong series of performances and educational activities at New Orleans’s Crescent City Chamber Music Festival, and appearances with Massachussetts’ Valley Classical Concerts, Chamber Music Raleigh, Concerts International Memphis, Florida Keys Concert Association, and New York's Oneonta Concert Association and Shelter Island Friends of Music. In addition, the ensemble performed in concerts and residencies across the United States as a featured touring group of Allied Concert Services. The Lysander Trio also performed abroad in recent seasons, notably at Calgary Pro Musica in Canada, Pro Musica San Miguel de Allende in Mexico, and a tour of Israel.
The Lysander Piano Trio has spent over a decade performing around the US with appearances at notable venues such as the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater, Los Angeles’ Da Camera Society, San Francisco’s Music at Kohl Mansion, West Palm Beach's Kravis Center and Norton Museum of Art, Juneau Jazz and Classics, and notable college venues including Middlebury College, Clemson University, Purdue University’s Convocations Series, and University of Illinois’ Krannert Center. Summer and festival appearances include the Bard Music Festival, Cooperstown Summer Music Festival, Copenhagen Summer Festival, The Chautauqua Institution, Princeton University Summer Chamber Concerts, and a critically acclaimed recital at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Among special projects, the Trio recently collaborated with clarinetist Charles Neidich in a unique program presented by the Chamber Music Society of Philadelphia and Lincoln Friends of Chamber Music. Orchestral engagements include Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with the DuPage Symphony Orchestra, University of Wyoming Symphony Orchestra and Greenwich Village Orchestra in New York City.
The Lysander Piano Trio frequently performs in New York City, where the ensemble first launched in the 2010-11 season. The New York Times lauded the ensemble’s Weill Recital Hall debut at Carnegie Hall as “…rich sound and nuanced musicianship…resulting in a finely hued collaboration among the three musicians.” Other notable New York dates are Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall and David Rubinstein Atrium, Schneider Concerts Chamber Music Series at the New School, National Sawdust, Merkin Concert Hall, and the Mostly Mozart Festival’s 50th Anniversary season at David Geffen Hall.
The Trio has a long-standing commitment to working with living composers and building a new repertoire for the piano trio. The ensemble’s commissions include Gilad Cohen’s Around the Cauldron (2017), co-commissioned by Concert Artists Guild and premiered at Weill Recital Hall; Ghostwritten Variations, by Venezuelan-American composer Reinaldo Moya; Jakub Ciupinski’s The Black Mirror; and Four Movements Inspired by “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” penned by four pre-teen composers of ComposerCraft from NYC’s Kaufman Music Center and premiered at Merkin Concert Hall. Lysander members also premiered Jennifer Higdon’s Love Sweet for soprano and piano trio, which received its world-premiere recording together with acclaimed soprano Sarah Shafer on the group’s 2021 release, Mirrors.
The Lysander Piano Trio, whose name is inspired by the character in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, was formed at The Juilliard School. The Trio studied with Ronald Copes of the Juilliard String Quartet, the late Joseph Kalichstein and Seymour Lipkin, and had a memorable masterclass with Alfred Brendel. Early in their career, Lysander became a standout at competitions, with top honors at the 2010 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, the 2011 Coleman Chamber Ensemble Competition (Grand Prize), the 2011 J. C. Arriaga Chamber Music Competition (First Prize), and the 2012 Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition.