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Behind the scenes with…Mithras Trio

The Mithras Trio are fast growing a reputation as one of the next generation’s most exciting piano trios. Currently a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist, the Trio includes Chetham’s School of Music alumni, pianist Dominic Degavino. We spoke to Dominic about making his Stoller Hall debut with the Trio and what goes on behind the scenes of their live performances.

What can audiences expect from your performance at The Stoller Hall

Firstly, hopefully a very enjoyable time of course! It’s a lovely programme of contrasts. The Mozart Trio is predominantly a very cheerful one, although with a few darker touches along the way. The Fauré, a late work which is, in our opinion, a little underplayed, full of subtly shifting harmonies and glorious melodies. Then the Helen Grime pieces in the middle. We have played them a few times now, yet always discover more in them every time we come back to them – a mark of really great music, in my opinion. They’re full of colour, and full of character. As for us, we try and have our playing be full of colour and character too!

What goes on behind the scenes when you’re getting ready for a performance?

Of course, most of the work is going on quite a long time before the performance happens, in rehearsal and in our own practice. Getting to know a piece well can take years… On the day, we need to get used to playing in the space, and then Ionel and Leo tend to want a lot of food for energy. Whereas I’m the opposite! The challenge is finding the right balance between being energetic and yet relaxed, confident and yet still focused, etc…

How did you build your career(s) as classical musicians?

The three of us met at the Guildhall School in London, in 2017. We were lucky to have excellent support from them from the get go, and then gradually started applying for auditions, competitions and the like, while playing more and more concerts.

I don’t know if there’s a secret to success in this day and age, beyond trying to be a strong group in as many different ways as possible. Whether that’s playing a broad range of repertoire well, to being easy to work with and organised. There’s some luck involved too, if you ask me. Strong friendships within the group always help, which we happily do have. And some organisations have been a huge help in particular – the Countess of Munster Trust springs to mind, as does the BBC now…

What does it mean to be (or to have been) a BBC New Generation Artist?

It’s meant a huge deal to us, especially at a time when everything in the Arts has been so uncertain. We only joined the scheme last year, but have already done a big project in Belfast, resulting in four lunchtime concert broadcasts in a week, and we had a further two broadcasts of studio recordings over Christmas. It’s given us a lot of visibility – I think it’s something that concert promoters in particular really take notice of. Plus, the chance to collaborate with other New Generation Artists past and present is a real treat too!

Why is classical and chamber music important today?

It can take us on an emotional journey unlike almost anything else, and one that transcends all sorts of barriers. It brings people joy, comfort, refuge – whether in a big concert hall or in a workshop with children with special needs. At least, that’s what’s important for me.

Favourite musician and why?

Too many to list, and it changes all the time! In recent times I’ve been listening more and more to Alfred Brendel for instance… The most incredible musicianship.

You can book tickets here for Mithras Trio on Friday 28 January

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