The Avalon Trio named third in nation at NYC conference

By Kim Chaudoin on 4/5/2012

  
  

Trio ranked in top three chamber ensembles in nation with University of Illinois and Central Washington University

Lipscomb University’s Avalon Trio was named one of the top three chamber ensembles in the nation at a conference in New York City on March 24.

The Avalon Trio placed third in the Music Teachers National Association’s chamber competition at the 2012 national conference. The Anansazi String Quartet from the University of Illinois and Trio Mundana from Central Washington University finished first and second in the competition.

The Avalon Trio’s performance of Mendelssohn’s Trio No. 2 in C minor and Paul Schoenfield’s “Café Music” earned them third place in the national competition. They qualified for the national competition after winning state and regional MTNA affiliate conferences leading up to this event.

“They played fabulously – as well as they can possibly play. It’s a huge honor. They placed higher than universities with well-established music schools such as Rice University and ensembles comprised mostly of graduate students,” said Jerome Reed, Patricia and Rodes Hart professor of piano at Lipscomb.

The ensemble is comprised of Julian Calvin, piano; Joel Campbell, violin; and Kenneth Coca, cello. They group has played together for three years.

“It is an incredible honor to receive recognition in a national competition. This is the highest honor I have received thus far in my career as a violinist. It was special to compete as a group in New York City where the level of competition was nothing short of professional level ensembles,” said Campbell, a junior violin performance major from Cincinnati, Ohio.

“On the morning of the competition, our trio peaked and we played the best we have ever played together. It was just fun. I continue to play music for moments like the moment experienced on Saturday morning. It is something that words cannot express.”

The group has been coached by Reed along with Sari Reist, adjunct professor of cello, and guest coach Sara Sant’Ambrogio of the Erocia Trio as well as other well-known guest instructors from the Nashville area.

“Dr. Reed and Mrs. Reist have been especially influential. Without them none of this could have possible. The other two musicians in this trio are spectacular and I am so blessed to be able to play with them. However, the credit of our victory belongs to none other than Christ. He made it possible and all our thanks are due Him,” said Kenneth Coca, a senior biochemistry major from Orange, Calif.

Rodes Hart, benefactor for the Patricia and Rodes Hart Endowed Chair for Piano, partnered with Lipscomb to sponsor the trio's travel and hosted them for several New York arts events, including a Broadway production of “Death of a Salesman” and a performance by pianist Yefim Bronfman at Carnegie Hall. He also arranged for a Steinway piano to be delivered to his hotel room so they could rehearse prior to the competition.

“The whole experience was fantastic,” said Julian Calvin, a senior piano performance major from Normandy, Tenn. “I immediately fell in love with New York. I really appreciated how involved Mr. Hart was on the trip and how he supported us by being there at the audition and the awards ceremony. He really invested a lot in us, and it’s wonderful knowing that people outside our university are interested in and supportive of the work we do as musicians.”

“We were treated like kings the entire time we were in New York. It was an experience I will not soon forget. Mr. Hart is an incredibly generous man. I cannot thank him enough,” said Campbell.

Members of the ensemble credit their families for encouraging their pursuit of music.

“My parents are the ones who blessed me with access to my gift of music. I especially want to thank my father for his continued persistence in being my support and urging me to pursue playing the cello,” said Coca.

Campbell agrees.

“My family has always been a significant influence in my musical career and I owe them everything from ‘making’ me practice when I was younger to taking me to all my lessons and rehearsals as a kid. This ultimately let to my love of music that I have today,” said Campbell.

Calvin said he hopes to one day have an influence on budding musicians.

“Dr. Reed has inspired me in so many ways both in chamber music coachings and in my solo work. He has coached us all three years we’ve been together and he has never let us settle for ‘good enough.’ He has also been an incredible mentor, life coach and friend. I hope to be him when I start teaching,” said Calvin.

The Avalon Trio will present a spring concert April 13 at 8 p.m. in Ward Hall in the Lipscomb campus. The concert is free and open to the public. The Avalon Trio has also been chosen to be the student trio in residence at the Orvieto Musicale Festival in Orvieto, Italy this summer.