Marsyas Trio

flute, piano, cello

Marsyas Trio takes its name from Greek mythology – inspired by the bold, spirited passion of Marsyas, the celebrated pipe-playing satyr who dared challenge Apollo in a musical contest. In victory, Marsyas lost his life to the envious wrath of the god, saving his last breaths for the instrument he immortalized.  

The London-based Marsyas Trio, formed in 2009 by graduates of the Royal Academy of Music, is dedicated to music for flute, cello & piano from the Classical era onwards. Aiming to inspire a generation of new works for this genre, they are uncovering lesser-known repertoire and are proactive in commissioning new music. The Marsyas Trio takes its name from Greek mythology – inspired by the bold, spirited passion of Marsyas, the celebrated pipe-playing satyr who dared to challenge Apollo in a musical contest. This mythology represents the trio’s ambition to challenge tradition in chamber music, and to become the international benchmark for the flute-cello-piano trio.

 The Marsyas Trio’s latest CD, In the Theatre of Air (NMC Recordings 2018), debuted at No. 7 on the classical charts. The disc was reviewed in Gramophone, BBC Music Magazine (4-stars), Tempo, and featured in the Sunday Times’ The Week’s Essential New Releases, with broadcasts including RTÉ Lyric FM. The ensemble has worked with many of Britain’s leading composers, both established and emerging, including Michael Finnissy, Judith Weir, Elena Firsova and Laura Bowler. The Marsyas Trio has received generous and repeated support from the RVW Trust, PRS Foundation, Hinrichsen Foundation, Ambache Charitable Trust, Fidelio Charitable Trust, Britten-Pears Foundation and Arts Council England. In 2019 they were awarded a touring grant from HMUK’s Do IT Differently Fund.

 The ensemble was joined in October 2018 by award-winning pianist Olga Stezhko, having previously worked for two years with guest pianist Zubin Kanga, internationally renowned as a leading exponent of contemporary music. The Marsyas Trio’s recent concerts include a North American tour, St David’s Cathedral Festival in Wales and the 1901 Arts Club in London. The trio has performed live on BBC Radio 3’s In Tune, Classic FM Bulgaria, and Bulgarian National Television. Their concert in Switzerland at the Société de Musique Contemporaine Lausanne, was broadcast on the Swiss Radio station RTS Espace 2. The trio’s CD, A Triple Portrait (Meridian Records 2015) received airtime on European radio and reviews internationally, including Cambridge Music Journal Tempo, The Strad, and Australia’s Limelight magazine. Other concerts highlights include tours in Europe and China, in the West Country for Concerts in the West, numerous UK festivals, including the Vale of Glamorgan and Three Choirs Festivals, as well as Spitalfields Music in the City, St John’s Smith Square and the Holywell Music Room (Oxford Chamber Music Society). The trio has performed in rural Wales as part of the Arts Council of Wales’ Night Out scheme, which aims to bring top level chamber music to regional audiences. The ensemble was recently invited to perform at the 2020 Mid-Atlantic Flute Convention, Washington USA.

Premiere recordings of the captivating, profound music of Elena Firsova...performed with devoted insight and sensitivity by the Marsyas Trio.
— Julian Haylock, The Strad

Marsyas Trio is generously supported by:

Helen Vidovich completed undergraduate music studies in Melbourne, subsequently moving to Sydney to study with Alison Mitchell and Geoffrey Collins. In 2006 she completed a Master of Music Performance at the Sydney Conservatorium, receiving an Australian Bicentennial Scholarship to assist further postgraduate studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London from 2006-07. Helen has been a pupil of Michael Cox and Patricia Morris on piccolo, and more recently has undertaken study with members of the London Symphony and Royal Philharmonic Orchestras. She has also taken part in the LSO Training Scheme, performed under the baton of Sir Colin Davis and completed summer courses and masterclasses in Italy, France, England and Sweden. In Australia she has appeared on several occasions as a concerto soloist with the Sydney Chamber Orchestra. As an orchestral player, Helen has successfully auditioned as a freelance musician with the Welsh National Opera Orchestra and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. She is currently undertaking additional studies with Sharon Williams (London Symphony Orchestra).

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Olga Stezhko is an award-winning concert pianist, recording artist and leading interpreter of early and mid-20th century piano repertoire. Acclaimed by Classical Source as ‘a supremely delicate master of her instrument’ who possesses ‘an extraordinary presence’, Olga has performed worldwide from the Barbican Hall in London to Salle Cortot in Paris to the Carnegie Hall in New York City. Recent and future highlights include performances in Bridgewater Hall, St Martin-in-the-Fields, Wigmore Hall, the National Gallery, the Palermo Classica Festival and Leeds International Concert Season.

Olga is the winner of many international competitions and awards including the Grand Prix at the ‘Halina Czerny-Stefanska In Memoriam’ International Piano Competition in Poland and the First Prize at the Nikolai Rubinstein International Piano Competition in France. Born in Minsk, she was educated in Belarus, Italy and the UK where she completed her Bachelor's and Master’s degrees with distinction at the Royal Academy of Music. Olga’s debut album ‘Eta Carinae’ (2014, Luminum Records) combined her passion for astronomy with music by Scriabin and Busoni and was hailed by the Gramophone Magazine as ‘an outstanding debut’ and ‘not a record for the faint-hearted but rather for those who enjoy dark and menacing regions of the mind’. Her second all-Debussy album ‘Et la lune descend’ (2018, Palermo Classica) marked the centenary of the composer’s death and received unanimous critical acclaim. International Piano Magazine described Stezhko in its CD review as a pianist who ‘communicates that excitement of discovery throughout’ and gives Debussy’s works ‘a subtle, fluent performance catching their delicious, at times severe, restraint beautifully’.

Canadian-born Val Welbanks leads a busy chamber music career in London as the cellist of both the Marsyas Trio and the Ligeti Quartet, who are currently resident ensemble at the universities of Cambridge, Sheffield, and Goldsmiths London. She is regularly invited as guest cellist of various chamber groups in the UK and in Canada, and has recorded various discs with the Longbow and G-Plus ensembles for Métier, Naxos, and Real World Records. Her most recent appearance as a soloist has been with the Torbay Symphony Orchestra (Dvořák and Lutoslawski Cello Concertos).

Val completed her PhD in 2016, having submitted a thesis codifying modern techniques for the cello (University of London) under the supervision of composer Roger Redgate, and previously the late cellist Alexander Ivashkin. During this time, she undertook studies with Natalia Pavlutskaya. In 2008, she obtained a Masters in Music Performance at the Royal Academy of Music in London, graduating with distinction from Philip Sheppard’s class. Her passion for cross-disciplinary arts sees her often performing in plays, operas, dance productions, and sound installations.

...these fine artists weaving some tremendous sounds around each other. They give this work a terrific performance finding out all of its depth and emotion.
— Bruce Reader, The Classical Reviewer
The Marsyas Trio’s performance is refined; Vidovich’s flute playing languid and sinuous, Ren’s piano delicate and sensitive and Welbanks’ cello lends a darkness and gravitas to the sound without compromising the intimacy of the works.
— Angus McPherson, Limelight Magazine
It is Baudelaire rather than Mandelstam whom Firsova evokes with her most direct tribute to the admirable Marsyas Trio, A Triple Portrait ...At a time when modernism is slowly fading away as a model of choice for younger composers, Firsova’s music makes a plausible case for such deeper, darker echoes.
— Arnold Whittall, Tempo