"Whatever the young Trio Jean Paul tackles, its interpretations are infused with an intelligent joy of playing and exuberant curiosity; dramatically gripping, yet always with delicate clarity; soloistically brilliant, but with a feeling for the poetic dialogue." That which the Berlin Tagesspiegel wrote about a concert by Trio Jean Paul in Berlin's Philharmonie could also serve as the artistic credo of an ensemble that, since its founding in 1991, has developed into one of today's most distinguished chamber music formations.
By naming their ensemble after the author Jean Paul, the three musicians not only refer to their special affinity for the works of Robert Schumann, but also to the fundamental artistic idea of making the music's speech-like, rhetorical elements the point of departure of their interpretations. This approach not only leads to a fundamental re-evaluation of the works of the Classical period that are based on the principles of the Baroque tonal language, but can also be followed via the Romantic idea of "poetic music" to the music of today. An important area of the Trio's work is therefore its occupation with the contemporary repertoire. Numerous premieres of works by renowned composers such as Brett Dean, Martin Christoph Redel, Michael Denhoff, Gordon Kerry, and Albrecht Gürsching testify to this engagement.
Besides an intensive collaboration with Hatto Beyerle (Alban Berg Quartet), other eminent musicians, including Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Sir Roger Norrington, were important influences in the ensemble's artistic development.
After First Prizes at the international competitions in Osaka (1993) and Melbourne (1995), and at the German Music Competition (the First Prize at the latter being awarded to a piano trio for the first time in ten years), an extensive concert career has developed for the Trio Jean Paul which has led the ensemble on a regular basis to major musical centers such as London, Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam, and Brussels, as well as on tours to Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and South America. The Trio is also a welcome guest at international festivals (Schleswig-Holstein, Kissinger Summer, Luzern Festival, Ludwigsburger Festspiele, Braunschweig Classix, Schubertiade Feldkirch, Edinburgh, Schwetzinger Festspiele, Rheingau Festival, Kuhmo, etc.), and gives master classes at home and abroad.
Trio Jean Paul's growing discography includes piano trios by Schumann and Rihm on the Ars Musici label; a Hoffmann trio, also on Ars Musici; Beethoven, Haydn and Shostakovich trios on Primavera Records; and a CD of their live ABC Classic FM performance of Beethoven, Smalley, and Schumann when they won the 1995 Melbourne competition. The Trio's latest CD's of Beethoven piano trios and the bestlisted (Der Deutschen Schallplatten Kritik) Schoenberg's Verklaerte Nacht and Brahms Op. 8 can be found on the Ars Musici label.
"Trio Jean Paul combined an extraordinary degree of mutual understanding and suavity with an exceptionally developed responsiveness to dramatic and colouristic potential...the audience was rocked by stormily emotional but always cultured playing." The Strad
Lucerne Festival Review
The Trio Jean Paul introduced themselves at the modern Lukaskirche with Haydn's F minor trio Hob. XV/26, composed in the mid 1790s, around the same time that Beethoven was emancipating the violin and cello in his revolutionary Op.1 trios, the first with completely independent parts for the three instruments. The extraordinary richness of the music of Haydn's piano trios remained unappreciated until the latter part of the last century; because the strings mainly double the piano - they were virtually unplayed professionally during my youth. The Jean Pauls staked their claim to attention immediately, with the heightened expressiveness which is their trademark style, a wide dynamic range, and no respectful reticence from the accompanying string players. The resonant hall was a little probematic for the Haydn - the fluent pianist might better have chosen for that venue a slightly less legato articulation - but Wolfgang Rihm's Fremde Scene II and Schumann's Op. 80 trio in F major were perfectly judged, occasionally (and quite properly) 'over the top', with the whole audience in the palm of their hands, hanging on every phrase and musical gesture.
… This was an outstanding recital; do try to catch them on tour and explore their CDs. The Trio Jean Paul's 1999 Schumann/Rihm recording (Ars Musici AM 1241-2) is unique and a clear priority; an essential purchase for anyone interest in either composer or both - as here juxtaposed, each illuminating the other. Seen & Heard
Edinburgh Festival review QUEEN'S HALL
Reading scores, yet seemingly playing by music radar, as if their six hands were part of one organic whole, the German Trio Jean Paul brought an inspiring sense of ensemble coherence to three piano trios.
In the final analysis, that is where Trio Jean Paul's strength lies: if you closed your eyes you were unaware of individual musicians, involved simply in the music itself. And so in 2005, as at its first performance in 1827, it was - to use Schubert's own proud words - "performed with much applause". JAN FAIRLEY