With nine performances to attend and write about in just three days, sitting down for an interview can be a logistical challenge. Having already heard Zodiac Trio a few years back via CD and having a live performance to look forward to at the 2013 edition of the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival (cross-reference below), it seemed only appropriate that we all meet up in person for a one-on-three chat. That didn’t quite come about, so we took the next available opportunity to speak together on the telephone and take our time going through the process of summer festival engagements.
JWR: So how did you find your way from home base (New York and France) to Chamberfest 2013?
ZT: Three years ago our Canadian agent, Alison Mctavish arranged for us to play in the foyer concert space of the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. Roman Borys (artistic director of OICMF) was in town, but only managed to arrive for the last applause. We had a quick chat and promised to stay in touch. Last year, thanks to our current managers (Columbia Artists Management Inc.) we appeared at the Chamber Music America National Conference Showcase in New York City which Roman also attended but, again, didn’t get to hear us play. This past March we began emailing about possible repertoire. As is typical for Chamberfest, we would be doing our own concert but also integrate [a program] with other musicians. The correspondence slowed down but then we received our official invitation at the end of April.
JWR: How were the final choices made for the repertoire?
ZT: Roman asked us to be part of the Generation Next series along with Couloir (Ariel Barnes, cello; Heidi Krutzen, harp) and a violist for a performance of Bohuslav Martinů’s Chamber Music No. 1. He also had our repertoire sheet, so we negotiated the works for our own concert from that but, as artistic director, he had the final say, asking us to begin the program with Piazzolla’s Verano Porteño.
JWR: Summers can be such a busy time on the festival circuit; where were you prior to your Ottawa visit.
ZT: This was the first year for the Zodiac Music Academy & Festival in Valdeblore, France. Along with a full schedule of teaching, we had ten concerts over the two-week period. The day before our rehearsal for the Martinů, Riko arrived from Norway where she’d been working at the opera house.
JWR: What were your impressions of Ottawa and the venues?
ZT: Ottawa is a beautiful city but everything closed too early, a bit like Albany that way. We were warned about the [dry] acoustics at the National Gallery but were pleasantly surprised that his “black box” was certainly doable. Dominion-Chalmers United Church was excellent and we all enjoyed the intimate sound and setting of Saint Brigid’s [Centre for the Arts].
JWR: With such a successful foray into Ottawa, festivals of all stripes ought to add Zodiac Trio to their line ups at their earliest convenience. JWR